Robert (gurdonark) wrote,
Robert
gurdonark

Science and Imagination

"Truth necessarily is taught in paradox"--Elizabeth Delvine King

This week I've been pondering my many inconsistencies and minor hypocrises. One in particular is my feeling that I am by nature a much more shy and assurance-seeking person than my LiveJournal might otherwise suggest. I've also been reading a lot of early 20th C. literature which appropriates the language of science in pursuit of metaphor for the spiritual life. By coincidence, the radio program "This American Life" played the episode today about using science theorems as metaphor for everyday life dilemmae.

Before I begin this poll/post properly, let me hasten to declaim to the world that in a world of flawed souls, I certainly have feet as clay as anyone's. I hope my journal always shows that, and if it does not, I hope to write it more clearly to do so in the future.
But this Sunday afternoon, I want to share with my LJ friends in a little poll exercise I have drafted.

Today's poll uses images of science and images of myth and faith to try to arrive at an inquiry as to individual truths on many minor points.

Poll #166860 Pondering the Imponderables poll

If you could choose a flawed past life, which one would you choose?

A scientist who made a great discovery, for whom someone else got the credit
19(45.2%)
A tenant farmer who works miracles in spent soil, but earns little income
6(14.3%)
An artist with great gifts, who makes a living illustrating tawdry greeting cards
12(28.6%)
The unacknowledged life-sustaining mistress of a powerful and very "holy" bishop
3(7.1%)
The dresser of a great actor (see also Tom Courtenay)
2(4.8%)

What scientific theorem would you most like to see proven in your lifetime?

I want date, time, place and userid for the Big Bang
5(12.2%)
I want to live to see fossilized life found on Mars
13(31.7%)
I want to see humans really communicate with cetaceans
9(22.0%)
I'd settle for a simple video of the Loch Ness monster
4(9.8%)
Forget the big stuff--just finish the DNA mapping
8(19.5%)

To what extent do you believe things based on faith or superstition which science can't prove?

Mean: 50.50 Median: 52.5 Std. Dev 31.82
0(0.0%)
5
6(15.0%)
10
3(7.5%)
15
2(5.0%)
20
0(0.0%)
25
2(5.0%)
30
0(0.0%)
35
2(5.0%)
40
0(0.0%)
45
1(2.5%)
50
4(10.0%)
55
1(2.5%)
60
3(7.5%)
65
0(0.0%)
70
1(2.5%)
75
5(12.5%)
80
4(10.0%)
85
1(2.5%)
90
2(5.0%)
95
0(0.0%)
100
3(7.5%)

You are granted the power to wipe away one denial of science, harmlessly, as if by magic. Which one do you choose?

I wipe away opposition to the Theory of Evolution
7(17.1%)
I wipe away the thoughts that deny that HIV causes AIDS
4(9.8%)
I wipe away the idea that the Earth is less than 10,000 years old
9(22.0%)
I erase the notion that medical procedures are valid because they are ancient, even if no testing supports them
1(2.4%)
I hit the delete button on the notion that pesticides used by farmers do not materially affect ecosystems
17(41.5%)
I sorrowfully eliminate the idea that overfishing is okay, so long as people have to pay for fishing boats.
3(7.3%)

What false notion would you love to believe?

The world is flat
7(17.1%)
People are the center of the universe
18(43.9%)
The sun revolves around the earth
6(14.6%)
Tomatoes are poisonous
6(14.6%)
Leaders rule by divine right
2(4.9%)

If you had an aura, would yours be:

golden, to match (or contrast with) my luxuriant hair
4(10.0%)
silver, to show my immense dignity
7(17.5%)
bronze, because I have that Greek godling look
0(0.0%)
platinum, like a really high limit credit card
2(5.0%)
azure, because I can see for miles and miles
27(67.5%)

You may choose one person from history who has agreed to accept you as a willing apprentice. Who do you choose?

Which would be the greatest tragedy?

to be born into a better era, but die of a cancer which would now be curable before you truly made your mark
2(4.8%)
to live your life here today as if it has no meaning
30(71.4%)
to reincarnate as a paramecium, and then spend millena just splitting over and over
5(11.9%)
to go to a Heaven where people wear polyester too often
3(7.1%)
to go to a Hell where your least favorite teacher runs a perpetual detention hall
2(4.8%)

What is the one simple thing you've neglected to do this year?

simple kindness to a friend
3(7.1%)
simple keeping of a promise
2(4.8%)
simple contact with a relative
15(35.7%)
simple good sense about a personal life matter
22(52.4%)

Is your journal character:

much less flawed than in real life
6(14.6%)
much more attractive than in real life
2(4.9%)
much more coherent than in real life
8(19.5%)
much less vibrant than in real life
7(17.1%)
much more two-dimensional than in real life.
18(43.9%)

What hypocrisy would you be ashamed for your LJ friends to know about you?

I am a hypocrite, I am not as kind as my journal makes me seem.
1(2.5%)
I am a hypocrite, because I am not as witty as my journal makes me seem
0(0.0%)
I am a hypocrite, because I am not as sensible as my journal makes me seem.
3(7.5%)
I am a hypocrite, because I say I'm insightful I can't even figure out my hypocrisy in this poll
13(32.5%)
I am a computer-generated LJ spyder, who is incapable of hypocrisy, but plays a mean game of virtual Old Maid
3(7.5%)
I am not as good a person as my LJ makes me seem
6(15.0%)
I am not as brave as my LJ makes me seem
10(25.0%)

The world should know about me:

I can be capable of great kindness
6(14.3%)
I have flashes of real insight
8(19.0%)
I have an intuition bordering on the psychic
6(14.3%)
I have creativity that pleases me
8(19.0%)
I am capable of great affection
14(33.3%)

The mythical land from a novel in which I'd feel most at home is:

My advice to someone trying to work through the dilemma of how to live a good life is:

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