A tidbitty excerpt

This is from Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert Heinlein. A bit of context before you jump in; Mike is a man from Mars, he’s a human who has been raised by Martians, and Jill is his friend.

“But, Jill, there are only three places to look. Science-and I was taught more about how the physical universe is put together while I was still in the nest than human scientists can yet handle. So much that I can’t even talk to them . . . even about as elementary a gimmick as levitation. I’m not disparaging human scientists . . . what they do and how they go about it is just as it should be; I grok that fully. But what they are after is not what I am looking for – you don’t grok a desert by counting its grains of sand. Then there’s philosophy – supposed to tackle everything. Does it? All any philosopher ever comes out with is exactly what be walked in with – except for those self-deluders who prove their assumptions by their conclusions, in a circle. Like Kant. Like many other tail-chasers. So the answer, if it’s anywhere, ought to be here.” He waved at the pile of religious books. “Only it’s not. Bits and pieces that grok true, but never a pattern. Or if there is a pattern, every time, without fail, they ask you to take the hard part on faith. Faith! What a dirty Anglo Saxon monosyllable! Jill, how does it happen that you didn’t mention that one when you were teaching me the words that mustn’t be used in polite company?”

She smiled. “Mike, you just made a joke.”

I’ll link this passage with Netfuture’s current diatribe against the methods of science, and I find this to be one of the most insightful books I’ve read recently.

Leave a Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s