“It is true of course, that I have a will of iron, but it can be switched off if the circumstances seem to demand it.”
― P.G. Wodehouse, Jeeves in the Morning
I am the soul of the universe. So are you. We give consciousness to the universe. We are the universe experiencing itself through different vantages.
What is truth? Is science truth?
Perhaps a more attainable question: is gravity truth?
To answer this we have to ask: what is gravity? Most people think of gravity as the reason that things fall. That is not what gravity is. The fact that unsupported objects fall is a mere observation; people have known that for thousands of years (push your laptop off the table, you’re merely making an observation). The theory of gravity states that objects with mass experience a force of attraction that is proportional to the product of their masses and inversely proportional to their distance. It turns out that this theory explains not only why your laptop hit the floor but also why the moon doesn’t crash into the Earth. Wait, why doesn’t the moon crash into the Earth?…
However, even this most comfortable of theories has changed over time. Initially described by Sir Isaac Newton, the theory was radically modified by another science heavy-weight: Albert Einstein. But if Einstein modified the theory, was Newton wrong? Indeed, many scientists are still trying to “fix” this bedrock theory; is Einstein wrong, too? What is truth?! To answer this, I’d like to consider a subject vastly more approachable: maps.
Is this map truth?
Most of us would agree that it most certainly is not. However, it was the most accurate that people could draw at the time and, more importantly, it was useful. If I wanted to find my way from Europe to The New World in 1690, it was as close to truth as I bothered to care!
What about this map?
Most of us would agree that this map is an accurate representation of the world, but… it’s kind of flat. We can learn a lot from this map, but it isn’t true. Even a globe, which even more accurately represents the true spherical nature of the planet doesn’t have that tree next to your apartment. Even that globe is a mere representation of the actual world.
While a globe is the best way to depict the entire planet, if I wanted to find my way across town, a globe would be absolutely useless. For this, I might use a city map, or even a metro map, which are often even more obviously “wrong” than the first map that I showed. However, all of these different scale maps are useful for different purposes.
Science is similar. We’ve got General Relativity to describe the long distance interactions of stars and planets and galaxies (like the globe, but it’s not quite right about everything). We’ve got Quantum Mechanics to describe the tiny interactions that go on in your cells and in all the atoms that make up the universe (like your metro map, but it hasn’t quite got everything either).
This is why science is always “wrong” but always captures the truth in a meaningful way. Was Newton right? No, he was close but Einstein showed him! Was Einstein right? No, but his maps have taken us places that we never thought possible in the last 100 years.
Look, we’ve all known that stuff falls for like, ever. But since 500 years ago, Newton’s map was the best way to find yourself to the closest moon, and hey we got there… eventually. It won’t be accurate enough to get us to the next star, but our current map makers are pretty damn smart…
P.S. An observation, like your laptop shattering on the floor: life changes over time; these are observations. The theory to describe the observation that life changes over time is evolution. Like the theory of gravity, the theory of evolution is evolving with new data every day. You can imagine that Darwin’s theory looked a lot like this:
Yeah, it was pretty rough. We’ve come quite a way since then, but we still don’t have the full globe view of evolution yet. However, calling it “wrong” is about as useful as telling someone in 1610 that the map above is wrong. It may not be right, but I’m still setting sail for the New World, baby!
Soft, Medium Format Portraits In Nature By: Bobby Lee
Camera: Hasselblad 501CM
Film: Kodak Portra 400
Bobby on his portrait series and what photography means to him:
"These images are part of an ongoing series of portraits in nature. I started out taking mostly landscape and nature pictures as I went out on hikes exploring and watching sunsets during college about 11 years ago. Over the last few years I also started taking more portraits in nature. The common theme in all my pictures is a certain contemplative mood and a relationship with the landscape.
My photography came out of a desire to record what I saw and felt on my walks in nature. It started during a time of a lot of introspection and soul searching, and photography was both a way to remember my thoughts and experiences, and a process that helped drive my exploration of the landscape and the world around me. Being in nature brings me a sense of perspective, grounded-ness, and calm that I could bring back into my daily life with these pictures.”
Find & Follow Bobby:
a small photo series i submitted to http://istillshootfilm.org/, which is an awesome website building a community around film photography. if you love film, you should follow it and help keep film alive!
here is a tribe in Africa where the birth date of a child is counted not from when they were born, nor from when they are conceived but from the day that the child was a thought in its mother’s mind. And when a woman decides that she will have a child, she goes off and sits under a tree, by herself, and she listens until she can hear the song of the child that wants to come. And after she’s heard the song of this child, she comes back to the man who will be the child’s father, and teaches it to him. And then, when they make love to physically conceive the child, some of that time they sing the song of the child, as a way to invite it.
And then, when the mother is pregnant, the mother teaches that child’s song to the midwives and the old women of the village, so that when the child is born, the old women and the people around her sing the child’s song to welcome it. And then, as the child grows up, the other villagers are taught the child’s song. If the child falls, or hurts its knee, someone picks it up and sings its song to it. Or perhaps the child does something wonderful, or goes through the rites of puberty, then as a way of honoring this person, the people of the village sing his or her song.
In the African tribe there is one other occasion upon which the villagers sing to the child. If at any time during his or her life, the person commits a crime or aberrant social act, the individual is called to the center of the village and the people in the community form a circle around them. Then they sing their song to them.
The tribe recognizes that the correction for antisocial behavior is not punishment; it is love and the remembrance of identity. When you recognize your own song, you have no desire or need to do anything that would hurt another.
And it goes this way through their life. In marriage, the songs are sung, together. And finally, when this child is lying in bed, ready to die, all the villagers know his or her song, and they sing—for the last time—the song to that person.
You may not have grown up in an African tribe that sings your song to you at crucial life transitions, but life is always reminding you when you are in tune with yourself and when you are not. When you feel good, what you are doing matches your song, and when you feel awful, it doesn’t. In the end, we shall all recognize our song and sing it well. You may feel a little warbly at the moment, but so have all the great singers. Just keep singing and you’ll find your way home.
"As a child I never heard one woman say to me, “I love my body.” Not my mother, my elder sister, my best friend. No one woman has ever said, “I am so proud of my body.” So I make sure to say it to Mia, because a positive physical outlook has to start at an early age."
Kate Winslet (via wrists)