Monday, March 15, 2010
The Ghost of Copernicus
Across the bar at Founding Farmers.
Oh the rain, it does not stop. We've had three or four days of steady, soft, warm rain. I am not complaining. Those of us who suffer from springtime allergies welcome rain. It gathers the pollen and brings it down to the ground, a Very Good Thing.
The rain, along with the mild head cold I'm just recovering from, has provided an excuse to just sit around. I've been watching Carl Sagan videos (of which there are a zillion on the internet) almost obsessively. I am completely fascinated - not so much by the science he describes as by his point of view.
Only thirty years ago, we Americans were still dramatically Europe-centric, human-as-supreme-species-centric. To a fault, we believed our culture to be the center of the world. It kind of blows me away, realizing how much of an effect revisionist history has had not only on the humanities, but on the sciences as well.
Our Ptolemaic view of what western culture is/was, i.e. the center of the world, has completely changed during the last few decades. How did it happen? When did it happen? How was it that we were finally able to admit that there have been many great, complex and interesting cultures in the history of the world, that many species have great intelligence? When did we open our minds? Did the spirit of Copernicus whisper in our collective ears?
What happened to change the paradigm? I have no clue. Do you?
On the Metro train, a great common denominator of humanity.