The Road from Wigan Pier

Orwell wote in his book “The Road to Wigan Pier” about hardship and poverty, poor housing and hard jobs, your place in society and your expectations and visions of the future, how the working class , or at least the poor people who lived in the slum dwellings in  conditions of extreme hardhips weemed to be glad to have what little that had, as after that there was nothing. You might not have much, but you could , (as Pratchett noted), have standards. The second part of the book reads like a pamphlet .

He states that these conditions can’t continue (I agree, and they didn’t in the main post war)

He says that socialism is a solution infact THE solution to the problems. But he says that there are so many fruitcakes and weirdo’s, people who talk about the intricates ond mechanics rather tha the humanism that most people get fogged by the debate.

Common decency and fair shares was the basic objective. But he lightly forgets the role of time. Perhaps by providing the decent housing and  working conditions and health and eduation, the socialist government forgot that people take pride from their ability to provide and work. If you give people to much, they take it for granted and don’t maintain it, or even fight for it. Too many council houses became burn’t out estates. The doorstep so clean you could eat your dinner off it of my grandmothers Attercliff estate has been replaced by the platic bottles and burnt out sofas, the pizza box living rooms and bins rolling round in the kitchen. A personal view.

I’m not judging these people. Orwell points out that Northern people thought themselves the best, with the exception of the coal workers. He also notes the solidarity and communities, the middle class nblackleg aproach to stikes as this meant promotion, and the general sketch is probably flawed as it bounces on the path of stereotype. So even in the tightknight communities, outsiders were seen as different. Humans always look to put each other in a category. Class, and wealth, job and position.Country and creed, religion and race. “Them and us” rather than “we together”.

 

Orwell records the poverty he sees, and its a view of the shock of economic collapse and unemployment. The end of a society. Only ten years later, his view of a Socialist society came true, and perhaps the slums were almost completely cleared, Council housing was put in place by Conservative yes, Neville Chambelain  and Labour governments. Blocks of flats became the new slums, perhaps, and people forgot their pride when given things , at least in the long run. Good things came of this, the NHS and the welfare state, free education, nationalisation and so forth. But the years wore them down , as governments didn’t invest and finally sold them off in the 1980’s and henceforth.

Orwell notes the real power of coal, which has all but dissapeared in the years since. In 1920 over a million workers worked in the coal industry, in 1930 it was over 900 thousand. In the 40’s 750 thousand men. So we see a decline even before. As late as the 1960’s, 600 thousand workers worked , today, its 4 thousand workers. Before the strike of 1985 there wre 237 thousand workers, after in the 1990’s 49 thousand workers. Coal , and indeed many industrial jobs have declined or dissapeared. Shipping, steel, tin, many heavy and even light industries have gone to low cost countries. Only the industries that offer clear added value in terms of technology or quality remain. Of course, this isn’t entirely bad a smillions have come out of poverty in the developing world, and our economy has evolved to adapt to this.

It shows that socialism is a great idea , but when economics evolves, markets evolve and industry evolves it needs to adapt instead of which it becomes militant. The  road from Wigan Pier is this. The faiure of socialism to adapt, the birth and growth of neoliberalism, the privatisation of common assets, the movement of common wealth into private hands, the withering on the vine of education, health and other sercvices, arts, libraries, as we move towards the idea of price rather than that of cost.

We could say that all is  is inevitable. Globalisation moves jobs and money around. We could mourn the loss of comunities in the North of the UK as coal and steel and ship building dissapeared, or celebrate the fact that billions move out of povery in Asia. Companies look to save cash were they can. Eventually, everyone will earn the same wage. The flat world of Thomas Freidman. But this idea ignores the develpoment of idea, technology and the evolution of industries, just as socialism does.

Supply chain dynamics insits that no countries with highly integrated logistic chains can or even will consider war.The idea that our interconnected world somehow prevents war is shown to be fake with ll the wars around us. Oil, Opium poppies , influence, religion, dogma, all outweigh logistics.

Brexit seems to have thrown a brick through the holy stained window of all these ideas.

Perhaps now we’ll see the bug infested world of  wage slaves come to pass.Or perhaps something else. The road from Wigan Pier certainly will be an interesting on.

History show us, before socialism, we have to endure fascism.

 

Thoughts on “Noise” by Jaques Attelli

Jaques Attelli writes about music turning into a no cost commodity. Indeed he wrote the book in the 1970’s, long before the advent of MP3 of MP4 or downloading or filesharing. he predicted, correctly that music would be free, that we would be swamped with music to such an extent that the demand would be lost. He argued that this would apply to many sectorsq of the economy, that music was a way of seeing the economic and cultural future, that things turned up in music before they turned up in the mainstream. Music changes culture and socio economic norms.

To an extent we could argue that he is correct. Music has become a low cost commodity for bands yet to break through. Bands from the 1970’s such as Gong or Captain Beefheart or even Gentle Giant, or maybe even Yes would never had had the success they enjoyed  if they  launched today. Indeed, struggling artists are common place, and even popular artists struggle to buy a flat, whereas similar sales figures in the 60’s and 70’s would have ensured financial comfort.

We see similar evidence of a crisis of prolifereation in many industry. take publishing, where 3000 books were published in September 2015in the UK alone. Thats an astonishing number, and how do we know what to read in such a sea? I imagine its much like music, so many songs and so little time to discover new talent.

One could argue that talent always rises to the top, and that writers or musicians will alwoays flower if they are good enough, but I also think that marketing and publicity and advertising play a role.

Attelli argues that we could see the same happen to objects in a BBC interview  here, where he argues with the growth of 3D printers the factory could go the same way, and exposes more in this fascinating interview on the bbc website and indeed in the associated radio programme Here he argues we could even end up swapping items with each other and not paying for them in an ultimate future scenario. Time is the only thing that is rare, even unique.

However, as time is the only thing that is rare, craftsmen who create quality bespoke objects using expensive raw materials should still be in demand, as should live concerts or even live readings.

In his book, “The hitchhikers guide to the galaxy” Douglas Adams describes “the shoe event horizon”

from http://hitchhikers.wikia.com/wiki/Shoe_Event_Horizon

“The Shoe Event Horizon is an economic theory that draws a correlation between the level of economic (and emotional) depression of a society and the number of shoe shops the society has.

The theory is summarized as such: as a society sinks into depression, the people of the society need to cheer themselves up by buying themselves gifts. This is usually done through the purchase of shoes (or music or books!). As more money is spent on shoes, more shoe shops are built, and the quality of the shoes begins to diminish as the demand for different types of shoes increases. This makes people buy more shoes.

The above turns into a vicious cycle, causing other industries to decline.

Eventually the titular Shoe Event Horizon is reached, where the only type of store economically viable to build is a shoe shop. At this point, society ceases to function, and the economy collapses, sending a world into ruin. In the case of Brontitor and Frogstar World B, the population forsook shoes and evolved into birds.”

Perhaps we are seeing a “music event horizon” or “book event horizon”, where so many books or records are published/available on the market that people look for different types of books, searching esoteric titles and bespoke books/music, or even one off events such as concerts. So much is published that choice becomes increasingly difficult and the consumer retreats into what they know without looking for new ideas, or they listen to what is popular or what is played on the radio, or what is bought in the best seller lists.(or The top 20).

On the BBC website it is argued “When musicians in the 18th Century – like the composer Handel – started selling tickets for concerts, rather than seeking royal patronage, they were breaking new economic ground, Attali wrote. They were signalling the end of feudalism and the beginning of a new order of capitalism.”

So perhaps we can say that when music in the late 20th and early 21st century became free with streaming, new economic and cultural ground was broken. Indeed the MP3 herelded the end of the music box(cd player or record player) idea.

People will pay Deezer or Spotify to listen to music via subscriptions, but don’t want to own objects. People will look for free music via sharing instead of buying cd’s or mp3.

Perhaps we will see this , and indeed are already seeing this for the written word.

Instead of buying books, people will subscribe to blogs, or even perhaps “Reader’s Digest” type ideas. people will read blogs, where content is free. Ideas that are freely available means a great movement and swash in culture.

Ideas can be copied or even plagerised and passed off as anothers. This is where we will go. Music becomes free, except streaming services, books will become free except digital or subscriber content, objects will be free, easily made and easily copied thanks to 3D printers, and medical advances could be made as it will be “easy” to make organs eventually.

Bronowski said “Our culture is not a culture of contemplation, but of action.It’s by doing that we advance. If our tastes are ruled by one man, we make no invention and remmain static. The hand is the cutting edge of the brain”

Perhaps Demming had it wrong. perhaps its not “plan , do check act”, but rather, “Do, check,act, plan.” Perhaps real learning comes from observing our errors.

Ultimately, perhaps Attelli predicts a move away from industry towards the individual economy, where individuals can produce what they want or even produce what others want , providing a service. Writers will become story tellers, with performances of reading in audiences, hoping that people will buy the book after, or bloggers with a paywall. Society risks becoming less social and having less solidarity , when people see only individual gains they forget the bigger world.

Perhaps a lot of these things have already happened, as people become emotionally disengaged and see too much bad news and too many disasters on TV and in the media that they brush it off as crumbs, only reacting when it affects them directly, and even then, forgetting quickly. “It only happens to others”.

Dictators risk rising up, with a scapegoat mentality, seeing the problems and issues within our society as being casued by factors without. Societies change, and its a very quick process. Homosexual marriage would have been unthinkable for my parent’s generation and completely taboo for my grandparent’s generation. Today it’s mainstream. Perhaps the social structures built up in the post war world will be dismantlet as society changes. The end of  free healthcare, or education and of old age pensions

I refuse, I accuse, I accept.

I refuse the violence and aggression of those terrorists who kill. Today, with infinite sadness, people post nonsense on the net about “false flags” and such like.I say to them that they are missing the point. People have been killed, in cold blood, in broad daylight, if you’ll excuse the cliches. Perhaps there is a big plot behind all this, some conspiracy or other,I don’t know. But today should be about meeting, hoping, changing.We can but wonder what motivated theses killers, or who is behind this attack.We can accuse everyone of not letting foreigners integrate properly, or even accuse foreigners of not wanting to integrate, but the reality probably lies in the middle somewhere.We are all guilty.Then we can accuse poverty of having an influence, waving fingers at austerity measures which have caused society to suffer, frowning at the extreme of wealth and wondering at the richest companies who dodge taxes and what effect that has on society.But we still use those multi nationals, Google, Facebook, Apple and such. Comfort is worth more than principles today.Or even fall into the trap of thinking all Muslims hate, and that they spent their time in mosques planning jihad.Which of course they don’t.Then we can ask Muslims to speak up and say they accept the Republic, but as they already live in France, we can probably think that the majority do.6 million live,work and are part of the community.Then we can worry about the flight of Jews from France, but we know its happening and don’t like that either.The growth of political extremism too, with more and more people openly following extreme parties, the National Front and other extremes.We should question this.

Thousands went out to meet each other yesterday.We need to continue, meeting, eating together, celebrating our freedom, our communities, our lives, sharing our differences and accepting others as they accept us.We need to forgive, fighting with hate with love. We need to refuse this bloody version of the future.

Being open minded means accepting those flaws that make us all human, those things that make us so interesting. The terrorists don’t want you to question everything, but to accept that they are right, when in our lives we have all been wrong about something at a certain point.To fail is human. Fail again.Fail better.

Before we forget those words “Love your enemy as yourself” , we would do well to remember that punishment is not the same as revenge.

So I take up Christ’s challenge, I forgive those terrorist of their crimes. But I still hope for justice.

To all the families, the friends, the French, The Charlies, I say to you “hope, love and charity”.My sorrow is deep, but my hope is high.Humanity isn’t about death on the street, but of love in our hearts.

We need to move away from our collective blindness to suffering and away from the push button philosophy that “the end justifies the means” and TOUCH PEOPLE!

from my friend Eric

“At the moment a large part of France and even the world is broken-hearted,stunned and shocked by the thing we have seen, have lived through.I’d like to ask the real questions “Why do some people arrive at this destination?” . For my part, I’d love that we don’t forget simply to accuse misery. Misery is the feeding ground, the breeding ground which pushes crazyies to think that their beliefs are evident and true.In our fast moving world, a world where exploited parents don’t have time to look after or bring up their own kids.To teach them wrong and right, the basic values, regardless of religion,creed or nation. How can we forget  these monsters who killed the cartoonists were once children who laughed, played and had fun? How can you kill cartoonists when you love laughter? The creators of model of a counter society to the one in which we live today. Cartoonists who were simple,honest, and themselves to the end? Today, it is for me as if the 12 Apostles have been killed.

Lets get back to the nightmare!, and talk again about poverty, the breeding ground of hate and illogical thoughts, which breeds dangerous crazies.
Today’s society needs to question how to escape the smoke and mirrors.Eliminating poverty could be a major lever, teaching “common sense” at school and “learning to think for yourself” all seem easier when stomachs are full.Instead we teach kids how to be millionaires or footballers or whatever else.Its not millionaires that make schools,  but happy kids who go on to be happy adults.When you are happy, you dont go round killing people or robbing them or raping them or exploiting them. Maybe you don’t become famous making vaccines or teaching English, but you do become happy! Instead we feed people with 15 minutes of fame, through reality TV , doing horrid things to each other. We teach children to crush each other rather than to work together. This leads to yesterday’s blood bath.

I accuse all those who stuff their bank balances with money and leave the rest to die. All those companies who avoid taxes, all those who flee France for financial reasons. Poverty is the tinderbox of yesterday’s murders.

Lets pay hommage to the cartoonists with a caricature!, a drawing which exaggerates, and exposes!

Take the French comic Gad Elmaleh !

On French TV he’s sold his soul to banks, doing adverts for the same banks which sunk our economies, the same banks involved in scandals! His personal life and his involvement in Monaco may well be the result of love or chance, or greed.

Of course Gad is a good guy, and a caricature exaggerates. He’s not the only famous one to avoid taxes, let’s be honest, no one likes taxes.

He makes people laugh, and if ten people make ten people make ten people laugh we get a comic chain reaction. That has to be better than killing sprees for crazies.

So what I wrote isn’t perfect,may be its just stupid!”

But we all need to reflect today on what society we want and how to get that.

L’Autre

Catching the spirit from youth

 

Ten years ago, I worked as a teacher in a comprehensive school in the UK. Sometimes, pupils would give in work, poems,or other ideas which touched me. I kept this poem, carefully ,  for ten years. Adam Smith was a tall blonde boy, very intelligent and determined, with the character to refuse. I hope he doesn’t mind , all these years later, that I publish his poem on my blog.

TIME by Adam Smith

The strongest of men

Not one and not ten

Can hinder the hands of a clock

 

With each passing day

The hours they weigh

As a chair round the neck with a rock

 

 

No manner of coin

No ally you join

As to way lay the dawn from its breaking

 

And when all’s said and done

There is nowhere to run

The morning of that final awakening

 

Yet immortal we feel

And made up of,steel

We pretend  not to see the faking

 

So colour your hair

Lift your face as they stare

At the signs of the oncoming night

 

And deny your mortality

And the one true reality

Is there , just out of sight

 

And cling to the ever fading light

As you fight the unwinnable fight

I have a dream

Two score years and ten ago a man died for his dreams . He stood before us, and laid out his dream ; that man was Martin Luther King .He talked of hope , but also shadow, of freedom, but also slavery, of justice but also injustice.

Fifty year later, the negro is still not free; indeed, even the working man is still enslaved. Nations still fight wars and wealth still isn’t shared, and people still starve. What progress have we made then, towards this noble dream where black and white rich and poor, man and woman can stand together under one sky, free of nationhood, free of all except perhaps that responsibility to our peers, the responsibility of justice, the responsibility of ethics and sharing resources so that the poor and broken don’t need to resort to humbling charity or forget the skills and self ability to produce their own wealth, and share this in turn.

Indeed, greed is such that the richest 400 now own more than the poorest 1 billion on this planet. Generations are taught the wrong lesson, that of reliance rather than that of the search for excellence and the development of skills.

 

Major corporations deem tax as an option, shirking their responsibility to society and starving our neighborhoods of the wealth needed for good schools, hospitals and trusting police. Public service and duty is seen by these companies as an ‘extra’ rather than as the essential life blood it is.

 

This very greed could indeed be seen as an anti-freedom, anti-civilization. Politics has forgotten the promise of solving problems for the dazzling gaze of personality.

 

One could argue that millions have moved out of poverty in developing countries, that globalization has helped created wealth, but at what cultural and environmental cost?

Developed countries have had to change labour markets to compete with low cost socially irresponsible greed, all for the benefit of a handful of very rich corporations, to the cost of liberty.

 

So it is I come with a new dream. Luther King said we all shared a similar destiny; indeed, we all share a similar origin the big bang, we are all humans. This is my dream.

We have to turn our backs on nations and patriotism, and towards belonging to humanity. We have to move away from judgment to acceptance and hope.

It’s not so different to the dream of Luther King. To sit down at the table of brotherhood.

The existentialist view point or Pythagorean philosophy.

Existentialism essentially reflects the crisis of a superficial world view world view and a belief in progressive development of a society inherent in liberalism, which gave way under the pressure of the last turbulent century. Having emerged as a pessimistic world view, existentialism tried to answer the question “How should a human live after the liberal illusions have been shattered by historical disasters.”
Existentialism is a reaction to the rationalism of the enlightenment and classical German philosophy to Kantian ism and positivism which was widespread at the turn of the century.Existentialists maintain that rational thought has the existential feature of proceeding from the principle of antithesis of subject and object.As a result the rationalist considers all reality, including humans, only as an object of investigation and practical manipulation and resultantly have an ‘impersonal’ approach. Therefore existential thought is an antithesis to impersonal scientific thought.
So philosophy was set against science by the existentialists. Heidegger believed that the subject of philosophy is “being” whilst that of science is “existing”. “Existing” belongs to the empirical world, and should not be confused with “being”. What is “Being”? Being is comprehended by humans not through rational thinking, but directly through personal experience.The existent therefore incarnates the unbreakable unity of object and subject and this cannot be comprehended by either rational scientific thinking nor by speculative thinking.In everyday life, Humans are not always aware of themselves as existing, for this they must find border line situations, for example facing death.

When they have realised themselves as existing, humans gain freedom for the first time. Freedom in existential thought means that humans should not be a thing which is shaped under the influence of natural or social necessity, but they should mould themselves by their every act and deed. Thus free humans take responsibility for what they have done and do not try to justify themselves by ‘circumstances’. Sense of guilt for what is going on around them is the sense of a true human. (Berdyagev). So freedom essential reflects a protests against conformism and time serving typical of a philistine who believes that as a servant in the gigantic bureaucratic machine they are unable to change anything in the chain of events. This is why A.S. Neill’s ‘Summerhill‘ is so interesting as an educational establishment.

So indeed this is why existentialists believe humans must be held responsible for everything that occurs in history.This explanation of freedom is subjective as it discusses freedom on a purely ethical basis and not on a social plane.
Existentialism offers a method of immediate intuitive cognition of reality, based mainly on Husserl’s theory and partially on Bergson’s intuition ism. Existentialists such as Marcel, Camus and Heidegger in his later thought believed that by its very method of cognition, Philosophy is closer to art than to science.Existential thought exerted a profound influence on Western literature and arts, creating the differing social and political views held by various groups of existentialists.

The Pythagorean were followers of the Greek philosopher Pythagoras of Samos (Circa 580 to 500 BC) . this school had and still has a great influence, making valuable contributions to the development of astronomy, mathematics and music. However, by absolutising abstract quality and divorcing it from material objects, the Pythagorean developed the conclusion that quantitative relations constitute the essence of things.This gave rise to the Pythagorean mathematical symbolism and mysticism of numbers, which was full of superstitions and combined with Pythagorean’s faith in the soul’s transmigration.
It is tempting to dismiss most of Pythagorean thought as mere fantasy, but they offer a key to the understanding of a powerful current of intellect and emotions.Influencing Plato and Aristotle, this school was the first to develop mathematics as an abstract deductive science.Thinking everything was number,they perceived the relations and laws of musical harmony in number and number formed everything in nature.The elements of number were the elements of everything and the entire cosmos is harmony and number.However, in discovering right angle triangle laws, they proved that when the legs of a right angles triangle are of the same length there is no common unit of measure of which the legs and hypotenuse are integral multiples.Therefore, the hypotenuse is imcommensurable with the legs. A conflict of the creed of “the cosmos is harmony and number”The logical empiricist philosophy of the Pythagoreans is a stark contrast to that of the new image of science expounded by the Existentialists.What they both deal with are the two central problems of the theory of knowledge, namely meaning and truth.In Hume’s ‘treatise of human nature‘, Hume develops the problems of the empirical approach by developing threefold distinctions between language, ideas and expression. “All perceptions of the mind resolve themselves into two kinds, Impressions and Ideas”

Impressions are the immediate objects of awareness when we perceive or introspect. Ideas are objects we become aware of in our mental activities other than introspection and perception.When we reflect,remember,imagine and create, essentially we are distinguishing between simple and complex ideas.
The history of science is not so anarchistic as Feyerbend would have us believe. It is not constituted of bare facts. Science holds no bare facts, but facts which enter into knowledge and are therefore ideational. Paradigms become dis proven or proven, changed or altered, evolved into new ones.
What therefore, is order?
The question of order clearly goes beyond the confines of science.Order though, plays an incalculably significant role in the totality of human thought and action.When ideas change in a fundamental way, they tend to produce a radical change to society and this reaches into every area of life.Radically new ideas are generally incommensurable with what went before.
Society is left with a crisis that encompasses and all one once believed in is now judged irrelevant, improper or even immoral.
Order is neither solely object nor subject, but in both.It can be seen to lie between orders of a low degree and chaotic orders of an infinite degree of which randomness is a limit.Indeed there is no place for the concept of disorder, only randomness. A randomness of orders of an infinite degree that are free from significant correlations and suborders of low degree. Structure is an inherently dynamic notion and is comprehended through a hierarchy of ratio, which may be apprehended in a perceptive act of intuitive reason.
Sequential order gives way to generative order, in the world of fractals.The creation and creative perception of nature.Investigating implicate order , we find super implicate order,which organises lower ones whilst being affected by them. In this way implicate order is in fact a subtle generative order. Consciousness is a generative and implicate order and mind and matter are related because these orders for the grounds of all experience. Science, nature , society and consciousness for an overall generative order.Because of “being” there is order, because of order there is the cosmos, because of order there is chaos.

Against Dogma

From ‘Knowledge or Certainty” an episode of ‘the ascent of man’ by Dr. J. Bronowski

“The Principle of Uncertainty is a bad name. In science–or outside of it–we are not uncertain; our knowledge is merely confined, within a certain tolerance. We should call it the Principle of Tolerance. And I propose that name in two senses: First, in the engineering sense–science has progressed, step by step, the most successful enterprise in the ascent of man, because it has understood that the exchange of information between man and nature, and man and man, can only take place with a certain tolerance.

But second, I also use the word, passionately, about the real world. All knowledge–all information between human beings–can only be exchanged within a play of tolerance. And that is true whether the exchange is in science, or in literature, or in religion, or in politics, or in *any* form of thought that aspires to dogma. It’s a major tragedy of my lifetime and yours that scientists were refining, to the most exquisite precision, the Principle of Tolerance–and turning their backs on the fact that all around them, tolerance was crashing to the ground beyond repair.

The Principle of Uncertainty or, in my phrase, the Principle of Tolerance, fixed once for all the realization that all knowledge is limited. It is an irony of history that at the very time when this was being worked out there should rise, under Hitler in Germany and other tyrants elsewhere, a counter-conception: a principle of monstrous certainty. When the future looks back on the 1930s it will think of them as a crucial confrontation of culture as I have been expounding it, the ascent of man, against the throwback to the despots’ belief that they have absolute certainty.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8mIfatdNqBA

It is said that science will dehumanize people and turn them into numbers. That is false: tragically false. Look for yourself. This is the concentration camp and crematorium at Auschwitz. *This* is where people were turned into numbers. Into this pond were flushed the ashes of four million people. And that was not done by gas. It was done by arrogance. It was done by dogma. It was done by ignorance. When people believe that they have absolute knowledge, with no test in reality–this is how they behave. This is what men do when they aspire to the knowledge of gods.

Science is a very human form of knowledge. We are always at the brink of the known; we always feel forward for what is to be hoped. Every judgment in science stands on the edge or error, and is personal. Science is a tribute to what we *can* know although we are fallible. In the end, the words were said by Oliver Cromwell: “I beseech you, in the bowels of Christ: Think it possible you may be mistaken.”

We have to cure ourselves of the itch for absolute knowledge and power. We have to close the distance between the push-button order and the human act. We have to *touch people*.”

‘WE CANNOT HOPE to match the total complexity of nature any more precisely than a language matches the complexity of social life. The answer to the polite enquiry “How are you?” is not a medical bulletin. And the answer to the scientific enquiry “How are atoms of carbon made?” is not a full analysis of the mind of the Almighty. There is a tolerant give and take in the reply that we make to questions about our health; and there is the same give and take, an essential intolerance, in the sentences that we can frame to picture the improbable generation of the carbon atom. A single experiment can be described in a bulletin; but the grand processes of nature cannot be sketched without the ambiguity which dogs all language. Science would come to a standstill if every ambiguity were resolved, for there would be nothing left to discover. It is this which makes it more vivid and more enlightening to call science a language for the machinery of nature and not an engineering drawing.’

from Carl Sagan’s ‘Cosmos’

  • Every one of us is precious in the cosmic perspective. If a human disagrees with you, let him live. In a hundred billion galaxies, you will not find another.
  • History is full of people who out of fear, or ignorance, or lust for power have destroyed knowledge of immeasurable value which truly belongs to us all. We must not let it happen again

My view.
Bronowski was a genius. His series ‘The ascent of man’ is well worth a look, really ringing home some very interesting points. I’ve seen almost all this series, and every episode is like a carefully crafted gem. It’s taken me a year to watch, and I feel humbled.

Science is never ‘the final discovery’ as if we discover everything, there will be nothing left to discover. the debate over global warming shows the real dogma of people saying it’s real or it’s not; the fact is, both are right , the globe cools and warms, as iceages and warm periods show from ice cores.
It isn’t a question anymore of ‘what is correct’, just a question of ‘what is probable’