Stardust Qi

August 22, 2009

Tangle: D ShayneI walked through our local Arboretum this morning amazed at the diversity, the endless adaptivity of the trees. I try to recall the names of the most intriguing but whenever I do, I remember Richard Feynman’s father warning him that he should never confuse knowing the name of something with knowing about it. Take Qi. Right now people are so concerned about the definition. But there are so many things we know the names of and very little else. Love, for instance. Or inertia. Or the evolutionary origins of certain chemical reactions in the body such as blood clotting.

Qi moves in you whether you believe in it or not. It is, according to one non-definition, the same Qi that manifests in the Aboretum’s banksia ( Plantae/Angiosperms/Eudicots/Proteals/Proteaceae/Banksia) is the same Qi everywhere, like stardust, and nothing we can think of—including that which thinks—can be anything else.

Sometimes I become concerned that this obsession—that everything is either scientific or not—is a kind of superstition. (Some people call it “scientism”.) It’s too much like how we react when something horrible occurs for which we have no reason, such as a school shooting. We make up the causes because causes soothe us. I guess I’m a realist. I can’t abide such superstition. My real world is composed of things I do know and things I don’t know. Both are honored because both are true.

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