It seems to me that there are two different ways of looking at the world: there’s the dispassionate, forensic, generalist view and the specific, individual, self-centred view. Studying science tends to dispose you towards the former perspective.
I met the subject of Science at the age of eleven when I went to the Grammar school and first had lessons in Chemistry, Biology and Physics. That’s a very long time ago but my interest has not waned since, so much so that I got a Science degree and became a Science teacher myself.
Have you heard of ‘astral projection’? It’s a condition often reported by those who have had a near death experience. They say they seemed to be looking down at themselves from above and observing the events objectively. Knowing the rudiments of Science is very much like that. It teaches you that you are an ant, metaphorically speaking. It lets you realise that you are just one individual, in a population of billions, who is briefly surviving on a small planet, which orbits a modest star belonging to a vast galaxy in a universe that is unimaginably huge. This is a very modest, rather fateful, perspective.
If you don’t know the scientific information you are left thinking that you are the centre of everything, after all, you are inside your head looking out at the Natural Realm as a subjective observer aren’t you… That was the common worldview before Science got going and is still the perspective of the traditionalist, of the non-scientifically aware.
We all start life with the ‘individual looking out’ perspective because being born with a brain that’s not fully developed means we have to learn how to use our eyes before we can do anything else so that’s the position we wake up to find ourselves in: inside our heads as children. We all know what kids are like. They are dependent upon adults, they need to be led, they are not held to be responsible and they want things!
If you are never challenged by the scientific facts, this childlike view becomes your permanent perspective. Throughout life you constantly desire to be provided with things by some superior, authoritative being. You wish for guidance from a famous and powerful father figure and you expect to be given value and meaning to your life in return for submitting to, or otherwise pleasing, this unseen agent even after your real dad is dead.
Does that remind you of anything?
Image by Sebastian