Thoughts on Science and Nature (From the Archive)
Tuesday, March 17, 2015 at 12:40PM
[chuck] in Art, C.S. Lewis, Dharma, Science

This from C.S. Lewis in English Literature in the Sixteenth Century, Oxford, 1954, pp.3-4:

What was fruitful in the thought of the new scientists was the bold use of mathematics in the construction of hypotheses, tested not by observation simply but by controlled observation of phenomena that could be precisely measured. On the practical side, it was this that delivered Nature into our hands (emphasis mine). By reducing Nature to her mathematical elements it substituted a mechanical for a genial or animistic conception of the universe. The world was emptied, first of her indwelling spirits, then of her occult sympathies and antipathies, finally of her colors, smells, and tastes. 

Man with his new powers became rich like Midas but all that he touched had gone dead and cold. This process, slowly working, ensured during the next century the loss of the old mythical imagination: the conceit, and later the personified abstraction, takes its place.

This passage rewards re-reading slowly. In spite of what I do for a living (see What I Do), there is much, very much, that I agree with here.

[NOTE: These thoughts go well with several of my recent post, e.g. A Song of the Rolling Earth, Planetary, Zen and the Art of Planetary Crisis]. 

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