Veronica has been having nightmares. She tells me that she was in a storm, and the water was coming down so hard and she was calling for Mommy. “Mommy, come! Mommy!” and I didn’t come.
“But I’m here now, Veronica. See? You don’t have to be scared anymore.”
Her perfect four-year old brow furrows in the way I have watched since she was a newborn. She is worried.
Dreams are like that. They are so real. She can’t be talked out of what she remembers. True to the stubborn heart she holds, she keeps her eyes on me. No way is mommy going to disappear again, even if she has to stay up all night.
Stories have a way of persisting. Looking up at the sky I see the stars, whose story-names were given by the ancient Greeks. These stars roamed the sky and were named after gods. Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and even though we now call them planets their stories go on. If Venus is rising, let’s hope Veronica gets to sleep earlier because it is a night for love.
It took a long time to come up with why the planets roamed the sky. The new religion of Christianity rejected the story that they were divine beings. But what was really going on?
Copernicus thought of it, but Galileo fought for it. The earth is the one that moves, just as all the planets move around a stationary sun. A new story of how it all fits; but the old story did not subside so easily. The Catholic Church, keeper of sacred stories, rejected the new story Galileo told.
Now we all tell the story of Galileo’s struggle. He is a champion of science–tear down ancient ignorance and speak proven truth even at personal cost!
Thomas Kuhn, in the middle of the 20th century, wrote The Structure of Scientific Revolution. Powerful powerful book, and I haven’t finished it yet. It keeps exploding my brain, making me jump up and have to go talk to somebody in a raised voice about it, or take a walk to think about it. Also, dude writes like a scientist. ugh.
Here is one thing I can share:
The stories of science (he calls them paradigms) are fabulously useful until they are prisons for thought. The way stories work is that they give shape and define our world, and that is wonderful and beautiful until we notice the shape is wrong.
This is the story; it’s perfect and comforting, except for that one bit. But we’ll agree that that bit doesn’t count. Until the bits that don’t fit stack up and up. It is not inevitable that the stack of contrary evidence falls over and shatters the story. We LIKE the feeling of safety the story give us, so we will shore it up.
The stories are our saviors and our prison wardens. Oh, we are lost. Where is truth to be found?
The piano in my house is almost a hundred years old, and the dampers aren’t working too well. When the mailman comes my sweet doggie gives a ferocious
that sets all the strings vibrating because the sound waves strike them with force. The discordant sound hums in the air, and subsides. All except the strings that correspond to the note my dog hit with her bark. That tone lingers on, resounding to the message dog was conveying.
When I hear a truth, my soul does the same. That resonance is my light to truth.
Shhh…pay attention. It rings clear if I listen.
DAMMIT, it’s not scientific. It’s not easily repeatable with hypotheses and experiments. Not always. It is frustrating and impossible and not exactly provable.
It’s there. I am not lost. The stories lay before me, ready to be recieved and believed. I won’t be stranded if I keep going forward toward that light.