delirium happy

Just keep on trying till you run out of cake

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A metaphor conceived in the shower
delirium happy
rho
When you are born, you are ignorant. A blank slate, eager to take in all the knowledge that the world can throw at you. Then as you grow, you lear things. A smile. A step. A word. Grow further, and your learning becomes more sophisticated. Reading, writing and arithmetic. Social interactions. Making friends. Telling jokes. Culture. Politics. By the time you're about 16 or so, you're convinced that you know everything. You've picked up all the essential wisdom that the world has to offer you and all that's left is a few random snippets of information, and you're set, for the rest of your life.

And then you start to reach adulthood, and you realise that you didn't know half as much as you thought you did. In fact, you realise that you know staggeringly little and all your vast wisdom is merely a shallow foundation on which you will continue building for your entire life.

Science is like that. It was born out of the renaisance, and took its first steps in Kepler's laws, and it's first words were differential calculus. And as it gre up, it learned more and more until, by the end of the 19th century it had reached its 16th birthday and recognised that it knew everything there was to know. It knew electromagnetism and thermodynaimcs; it knew heredity and evolution; it knew chemical periodicity. The rest was just mopping up the few little bits of leftovers.

Of course, it then discovered that it didn't know a great deal after all, when it started to uncover things like relativity, quantisation, DNA, chaos, and so forth. Science is just now starting to enter its aduthood. Imagine how much wiser it may yet become. And imagine the tragedy if science, like so many people, ever forgets just how truly ignorant it is.

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This is a really lovely piece! A four-paragraph history of science, wow. And I love the metaphor and the way it's written. Thanks for this. *memorifies*

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