Thursday, November 18, 2010

Gazing into the Marvelous Human Brain

You know, the luminiferous ether had potent properties too: vibration frequencies, spatial orientation, saturation limit. It was really quite the impressive thing.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Shock and Awe

It might seem like ancient history to those who are jostling shoulders in the laboratory halls, but it was not that long ago—not even a third of Kierkegaard's eighteen hundred years—that science was the province of the near lunatic only, that rare soul born so lonely into his experienced world he could not help but be drawn to its beckoning call. And although even in those former times there were many well established, codified, standardized means for exploring one's experienced world—for instance, one could pray to God and wait for helpful reply—such techniques tended to require infinite patience, and alas, near lunatics are not known for their infinite patience. Thus it was that a few of these miscreant souls began taking matters into their own hands, and how was humanity to have known, there on its knees before God, that the world would not be averse to divulging its dazzlements and amazements directly, even by unapproved, nonstandard means.

How much of that iconoclastic spirit remains alive today? Well, ask the tens of millions of scientists who now live and work among us, but while you are asking, notice how undazzled and how unamazed they all appear to be. Peer review and standards. Funding and credentials. Mind-numbing technique. What science has become—in less than a third of Kierkegaard's eighteen hundred years—is little more than a warm and safe profession, the methodologized, codified road map that runs cowering from shock and awe. As far as modern science is concerned, we might as well return to praying to God.

Friday, November 12, 2010


The philosophers' stone or the human brain, which holds the greater magical power?

The alchemists might be forgiven, for they knew very little of the Earth's enormous history, or of the sliver of human history within it. But the cognitive scientists—with all their years of education and their fancy degrees—how are we supposed to forgive them?