I came home and began to re-read CP Snow's the Two Cultures.
Snow's premise in a 1959 (the year I was born) lecture was interesting. He felt that English "literary intellectuals" and scientific intellectuals used what amounted to a different language, which led to tremendous misunderstanding in public dialogue. Snow's lecture was tame enough, but
sparked massive public debate, including vitriolic attacks, in its time. One particularly spirited critic resorted to the ad hominem device of questioning Snow's authority, on the ground that he was not a major novelist and not a major portion of the scientific establishment. I am a big fan of Snow's novels, but he will never be considered a "major" novelist. He wrote novels to make points and tell stories, and was heavily influenced, as he acknowledged, by Trollope, who was no longer fashionable in his day.
I thought to myself how polymaths, like prophets, no longer got respect by the 1960s, whereas an earlier time loved the renaissance public intellectual. I then turned on the television and watched an old newsreel on cable about how new machinery was making people obsolete, but with safe use of the machines, the few remaining necessary workers could avoid cutting off their hands. Then I flipped the channel, where a very pregnant Arnold Schwarzenegger was about to give birth.
I thought to myself that I have never felt at home in the world of the scientists or the world of "literary intellectuals". I feel at home on concrete trails through tract home suburbs, when butterflies are flying. But that's okay. Really. That's okay.