Friday, July 23, 2010

Intriguing ...

... The Struggle for the (Possible) Soul of David Eagleman. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Though Eagleman’s scientific and literary lives seem radically different on the surface, they are part of the same creative endeavor: to deepen our understanding of a complex world we can never fully grasp. Since scientists mostly talk about what they know, Eagleman’s emphasis on our ignorance may seem out of character. Eagleman offers an analogy: The work of science is like building a pier out into the ocean. We excitedly add on to the pier little by little, but then we look around and say, “Wait a minute, I’m at the end of the pier, but there’s a lot more out there.” The ocean of what we don’t know always dwarfs what we do know, he says. “During our lifetimes, we will get further on that pier. We’ll understand more at the end of our lives than we do now, but it ain’t going to cover the ocean.”

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