On July 15, I had sprinted euphorically to the Melbourne Convention centre in order for attending the scientific lecture of one of the world’s influential minds on the planet Neil deGrasse Tyson.I have been inspired by this man since long time ago. I have been watching him on TED talks and series of documentaries on a national geographic channel. He has been currently regarded an heir apparent to Carl Sagan. In 2001, Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson the distinguished NASA Medallist scientist was appointed by the former President George W. Bush to serve on a 12-member commission that studied the Future of the American Aerospace Industry”
It was my sheer opportunity to meet him in person. I was totally baffled by what appeared to be a sea of people who were blanketing the whole hall as densely as bees to their hive and many of whom were holding his latest book “Astrophysics for People in a Hurry” to get him signed.
When I sensed the unsurmountable reputational- tide on the part of Tyson I then began to realize that his name has been synonymous to the elite global community. It is truly exemplary that the top scientists and authors of the world pouring into Australia for their book tour and intellectual workshops.
Though, I studied Arts and the Business Management. I truly am a lover of science. Generally speaking, I tend to watch science documentaries every day. “The Big- Bang Theory” and “String Theory”. I am intensely becoming a philosophical polemicist by dint of my scientific mojo to which I am catapulted in order for unfolding the layers of mysteries that have veneered my understanding about what does it mean to know things that we claimed to have comprehended. I have been driven epistemologically therefore to unravel the things that they are contradictorily confusing and mind-buffering.
For example to believe in creationism is one of the intellectual-challenges for me. Before having to say “Yes or No” to this question “Do you believe in God?” I would rather try to assemble the linguistic and philosophical senses about what makes us to serve the definition of what does it mean to say by “Believe” in the first place. Oxford English Dictionary the ultimate authority of English Language says “believe” is to feel certain that something is true. To my utter understanding this is just the linguistic technique to deciphering the meaning of a word. My assertion is hovering beyond the linguistic-mirror therefore many of us do not understand at how we see the literal meaning of the words and get convinced without truly able to afford the understanding of what it takes to know the meaning of a word that is beyond linguistic realm or beyond our sensory comprehension. The word “Believe” to my understanding is something greater than great. This is to say, it is not just a degree to which we are certain about something. I think human are required or conditioned to believe the thing that they don’t know. The extension of the shadow of mental tapestry bridges the physical reality with exotic reality that people find more comfort in.
I firmly can say that believing in God makes us scientifically lazy. Had there not been scepticism about the existence of God the world that we have been living would have been still in the Stone Age. We would have given up the moon landing mission by thinking moon is our God therefore it is not morally good to step on the moon. There is a profound thought -crime or say, an intellectual-discrimination. A century ago, our society would blindly believe in the human sacrifice when it came to make a bridge or building and slowly these days the animals have been slaughtered and butchered in the name of God. Sati Partha or System was also true and logical to the mindsets of our ancestors because of the changing moral-zeitgeist (The spirit of Times). These all heinous acts were propelled by the factory of faiths. I would not take pride in what religion asks of me. I do not take religion as a guide to lead my life when science is already available for me. Religion is not a moral-software to operating the program of life. The birds do not pray the God. However, they constantly feed their nestlings and take care of them. In my view even you perfectly believe in God there is no need to be deluded by the unfounded logics for how the world operates.
In the conference, we had an exchange of our ideas with Tyson’s ones from the scientific, philosophical and theological grounds. The interesting fact about the discussion of that sort is that the humans are getting immune to ideas and opinions of their counterparts. This is something we have regarded as the celebration of reasons and our thoughts. There is nothing wrong in being ignorant than being pretentious pundit of bogus knowledge or pseudo-science. It is always right to say we are ignorant about the true meaning of life, existence and all that.
To my mind scientists or to be specific the Atheists are more open minded in how to delve into issue which is bigger than we could possibly imagine. But religious people seem to have been limited with a particular book or the God that they follow. I think this would not encourage people to think outside the box. Why on earth it is just enough to understand the meaning of life just by going through the religious text that was written in the Bronze Age or in the Stone Age. How that kind of religious text is in line with the scientific inquiries in this twenty first century. I do not find any clue in wasting our time for the religious trashes.
I finally felt an intellectual-relief by visiting Neil deGrasse Tyson in person. His explanation about the Universe and the possibility of extra-terrestrial civilization in the outer space was gobsmacking. The most scintillating idea about the conference was the number. Yes indeed, the mathematics is the language of Universe. Now it is important to understand the largest number or the mother of largest number that is greater than the number of stars in the sky or the atoms and subatomic particles in the Universe including the grains of sands from the world’s beaches. What would be that number to represent the totality of unfathomable infinite number? The audiences on the floor shouted millions, billions, trillions, gazillions, sextillion, octillion, quintillion, totillion, but no one dared to pronounce “Googol” which is equal to 10 to the 100th power. The credit goes to the nine year old nephew of great mathematician Edward Kasner. A Googolplex is 10 to the power of a Googol. This number is infinitely greater. This is to say, you never reach to the tail of this number.
Another term was “A pale blue dot” which was mostly shouted by Tyson’s predecessor Carl Sagan. This pale blue dot is a small particle of dust that is planet earth when viewed from the outer space. The significance of visibility of earth from the 3.7 billion miles away is infinitesimally unobservable. However, we human beings are not realizing the fact that how immensely we are getting this principle advantage to celebrating our conscientiousness within the framework of life.
This is how I have been learning the issue that is mind-bending in itself. It is always meaningful to build up the skyscraper of our knowledge by muscling up our growing mind. This is only plausible when we exercise our intellectual-freedom to grow up to the level that we have never thought of.
Shiva Neupane is the author of “Falang English Dictionary” and “In the Pursuit of Utopian Life in Australia”. He can be contacted at: [email protected]