TWT: No whys-and-wherefores

Breaks a thing.jpg

Saruman brags to Gandalf that he is “Saruman the Wise, Saruman the Ring-maker, Saruman of Many Colours!” It’s then that the Grey Wizard notices that Saruman’s apparently white robes are actually woven of many colours, and the White Wizard brags further of how white cloth may be dyed, a white page overwritten, white light broken. And Gandalf tosses back to him,

“He that breaks a thing to find out what it is has left the path of wisdom.”

I don’t believe mine is the correct interpretation, but it’s what this quote always me think of: I’d rather not know every single scientific why or wherefore.

Don’t get me wrong, I love science.

But don’t you think it takes away some of the wonder of the sky, if you know that the reason it’s blue is because the molecules in the air are scattering the blue light, and not because there’s actually an ocean in the sky in which the clouds are landmasses? Wouldn’t it be more wonderful to lie in the grass and contemplate the blueness than to always think of molecules whenever you see the sky?

The complexity of science is fascinating and mindblowing, but perhaps there is greater wisdom to be found in the myths and legends, in the simplicity, of ancient peoples than in the involved science of today.

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5 thoughts on “TWT: No whys-and-wherefores

  1. I’ve always found that scientific discoveries add to the wonder of things, rather than take away from them. Universes that have the same basic makeup as single brain cells, tiny lights in the sky that are a million times the size of earth, everything feeding and copying and drawing from everything else… Science can tell us how something happens, but when it’s done it still hasn’t told us why. The sky isn’t blue because of the interplay of light and molecules; that’s how it’s blue. Why it’s blue, and not green or purple or vermilion, is a question science can never answer.
    There’s definitely a ton of wisdom in myth and legend, but I think the wisdom of myth and the wisdom of science can only be fully appreciated when they stand side by side, as equals.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. That’s part of why I do love science: the way even the tiniest cell is created so that everything works in perfect harmony is unbelievable.

      I love what you said here, “Why… is a question science can never answer.”

      Liked by 1 person

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