My friend Tantek had some stuff to say about Mythology and Science.
The story of the Priest scientifically explaining that Santa could not possibly deliver all the toys in one evening is pretty ironic. Imagine! I’m sure the priest wanted to scientifically disprove Santa’s existence in order to move the emphasis back to the TRUE reason for Christmas, which is the arrival of the omnipotent GOD in the form of a human baby concieved by a woman who had never engaged in sex.
Scientifically, it is impossible for Santa to exist!
Science is a wonderful thing. I love Science, and I know people who love it even more. It is SO NICE to have proof, and be absolutely sure. If you are wondering about something, just throw some science at it, and out pops the answer.
Well…sometimes. When you are wondering what temperature water boils at, science is your tool. When you are trying to figure out how many CD’s you can fit in the bookshelves you just inherited from your grandma, get out a measuring tape and a little science in the form of math, you have it.
But when you want to know how the world came into existence, science can’t give you an absolute answer.
In order to use science, you have to be able to repeat the experiment. And we have not been able to create another world like the one we are in now.
Yet, here we are. The question remains. At that point, we have to lay down the tool of science and take up another: mythology.
Myths are humanity’s way to address those portions of our experience that lay mostly beyond our reach.
Because there are so many things that we encounter in life, which we know intuitively to be much larger than the fragment we have experienced. We know that we are only encountering a small percent of what the whole entails.
Love. We have all encountered some of it, but we know that there is so much more to this experience of love that we cannot have in our lifetime.
and especially Truth
These are things we know, but have difficulty grasping and expressing.
And if we cannot even express the problem, the facts of the matter, how on earth are we going to find a way to design and implement a repeatable experiment?
Science cannot exist in this realm.
Not as we now understand scientific method.
But we have found other ways of giving shape to the unknown. We tell stories.
Important stories. Stories that are so important, we can’t even say or fully know their importance even as we impart them.
Mythology gives structure and shape to higher things. It is invaluable. It gives us hope and courage to look for answers to any question we can concieve.
And if we did not have the courage to feed our curiousity, science would not have been developed.
It is a worthy thing to attempt large questions. It is wise to use the best tool. But it looks foolish to try to force the inappropriate tool when the correct tool lies within reach.
Science and Myth are not inherently in conflict. You just have to use them wisely.