what a 120k+ education gets you

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My Astronomy class has an assignment: Discussing some really popular poems, rhymes and passages that deal with the stars. Here’s a selection of mine:

For these songs, poems, nursery rhymes don’t comprehend the planets and moon and stars as bodies of gas or giant spheres of rocky terrain or enormous and incomprehensibly distant orbiting bodies; but as ideas, as symbols. The moon is but distant beauty, the stars simply a stand-in for mystery and wonder.

Twinkle, twinkle, little star,

How I wonder what you are!

When the innocent singer of that rhyme is told what a star is, when the textbooks are opened and the figures discussed, when gravity and planetary motion is comprehended, when she can compute the tide and calculate the orbit, then she will wonder no more. And whatever is gained – scientific knowledge; perhaps even profound respect for the symmetry and exactness of the physical laws – is hardly a substitute for that lost wonderment.

Up above the world so high,

Like a diamond in the sky!

The star twinkles – it inspires guesses, astonishment, a curiosity as to its essence. The answer, though, is beside the point: does the fact that the twinkle is no longer, that it’s the light of a non-existent star, really matter?

Written by menachemkaiser

15 September at 23:15

Posted in rants

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