Here’s a short video by Louie Schwartzburg, narrated by Brother David Steindl-Rast. This is six minutes well-spent:
The theme is gratitude — which is to say paying attention, wondering and appreciating wonder. Ingratitude is an enemy of empathy, of curiosity, of knowledge.
Part of why I read those blogs and enjoy them so much is the same reminder as the one Schwartzburg proves in this video: A call to gratitude for all the astonishing, wonderful world I too often fail to notice, let alone to appreciate.
Science blogs tend to celebrate their heroes, and the heroes they celebrate are often people who are not usually celebrated in the religious blogs I also read and enjoy. People like Neil de Grasse Tyson or Carl Sagan. Those folks are my heroes too because they exemplify gratitude. “In everything give thanks,” St. Paul wrote, and most of us fail to do that. But scientists like Sagan and Tyson show us what that looks like.
Some of my religious friends would object that their gratitude doesn’t count because it’s not specifically directed toward the proper object. That doesn’t bother me much, and I suspect it bothers God even less. I suspect that God is happier with people who are overflowing with gratitude — bursting with an uncontainable sense of wonder, curiosity and boom-de-yada than with those who think its more important that their cramped, incurious ingratitude be properly directed toward God. What’s the point of giving God the glory if at the same time we spend our lives ignoring, avoiding or denying the scope and the splendor of that glory?
Here’s Jess Zimmerman discussing the newly discovered Vietnamese velvet worm:
Scientists actually already knew that there were worms running around in rainforests that are basically built like little waterbeds and spit sticky glue on their prey. All they’ve found is a type that has a different shape of hairs. BUT I DIDN’T KNOW …
I didn’t know either. Now I do. Boom-de-yada. Ad majorem Dei gloriam.
It has to do with simple awareness, as David Foster Wallace said. “Awareness of what is so real and essential, so hidden in plain sight around us all the time, that we have to keep reminding ourselves all the time.”
Bless us, O Lord, and these Thy gifts, which we are about to receive from Thy bounty, through Christ our Lord. Amen.