It has oft been claimed that one sign of insanity is repeating the same action over and over while expecting a different result. This may well be true, but it’s opposite does not follow. That is, it is not necessarily a sign of sanity to repeat the same action over and over while expecting the same result. That is not sanity it is science. But life/nature is constantly displaying for us a wondrous sense of irony that confounds all expectations. The sun comes up everyday (indeed the sun coming up defines the day), but weather patterns are vastly more unpredictable than we would like to believe. We wake up everyday, but our mood upon waking is oft unpredictable. We walk through life taking our breath for granted, but never knowing when our last breath may come. However, science would have us believe otherwise, wittingly or not. One deeply buried a priori at the heart of science is the concept ceteris paribus, or all things being equal. For the sake of scientific experimentation certain impossible-to-account-for factors must be disqualified in order to trust the results of the experiment, thus ceteris paribus. Any scientist, upon questioning, will readily acknowledge this. But this necessary scientific premise has been, for the most part, buried in our scientific civilization. For centuries now we have conducted a more and more ambitious scientization of culture. But after centuries of this ordinarizing process what if something vital has been lost? In science ceteris paribus may be acceptable and, in fact, often necessary to conduct research, but in life nothing is ever “all equal.”
What is missing in the scientific approach to life and culture is the cultivation of humanity’s glorious divine gift of evaluation. That is the ability to not simply read, but interpret. When King Belshazzar and his partying cohorts saw the writing on the wall, they could read it perfectly well, what they could NOT do was interpret its value. They knew the definitions of the words, but what was their meaning? These words were common terms of technical measurement (they were the names for different monetary units), i.e. scientific, but in order to comprehend their true meaning the prophetic powers of Daniel were necessary. Missing in the scientific equation of life are the natural and intuitive interpretive powers of humanity. And the more wholly scientized we become the more starved and entropic those evaluative energies and dynamics become. Our interpretive powers are only fed and augmented by disciplined and consistent practice. Prophets have always been the men and women who exercised their genius for evaluation more actively than their contemporaries. Science unquestionably has its place and its value, but when you need to interpret the writing on the wall don’t turn to a scientist. Hopefully when that day comes, you will have either found a good prophet, or have been diligently practicing your own prophetic ABCs and 123s.
The sun comes up every day, but every day is not the same.