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Tuesday, August 02, 2011

We're Such a Small Part of Such a Big World!

"Ever since [Copernicus], writers eager to drive the lesson home have urged us [...] to abandon all sentimental egoism, and to see ourselves objectively in the true perspective of time and space. What precisely does this mean? In a full 'main feature' film, recapitulating faithfully the complete history of the universe, the rise of human beings from the first beginnings of man to the achievements of the twentieth century would flash by in a single second. Alternatively, if we decided to examine the universe objectively in the sense of paying equal attention to portions of equal mass, this would result in a lifelong preoccupation with interstellar dust, relieved only at brief intervals by a survey of incandescent masses of hydrogen - not in a thousand million lifetimes would the turn come to give man even a second's notice. It goes without saying that no one -- scientists included -- looks at the universe in this way, whatever lip-service is given to 'objectivity.'" -- Michael Polanyi, Personal Knowledge

3 comments:

  1. In a spiritual context, the Psalmist had the same understanding:

    "When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is mankind that you are mindful of them, human beings that you care for them?" Psalm 8

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  2. Sure, phel, but that makes the same point: it is not some new understanding of science that reveals this to us.

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  3. Agreed. I was just trying to indicate that the biblical record also holds that man should not recieve a "second notice."

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