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Thread: POETRY AND SCIENCE and SIMONE WEIL

  1. #1 POETRY AND SCIENCE and SIMONE WEIL 
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    POETRY AND SCIENCE

    The language of both science and poetry is a language under stress. Words are being made by their respective authors to describe things that often seem indescribable in words: equations, chemical and physical structures in the case of science, and an inner life of thoughts and emotions, among other things in the case of poetry. Words don’t and cannot mean all that they stand for. Yet words are arguably the best means people have to describe experience. By being a natural language under tension, the language of science is inherently poetic. There is metaphor aplenty in science. Emotions emerge shaped as states of matter and, more interestingly, matter acts out what goes on in the soul. This is why one can say that science is poetic. One thing is certainly not true: that scientists have some greater insight into the workings of nature than poets, or vice versa. Some people feel that, deep down, scientists have some inner knowledge that is barred to others. The expertise of a scientist is an expertise acquired by learning and, unless others acquire the required learning, that particular piece of the universe of knowledge is, indeed, barred to those others. Poetry soars in the world of science.1 It soars all around the tangible, in deep dark, through a world the scientist reveals and makes his own. Poetry in the hands of a lover of life and words, a person with great knowledge and wisdom, can soar in the worlds of intellect and understanding the two most luminous lights in the world of creation.2 -Ron Price with thanks to 1Roald Hoffman, “Science, Language and Poetry,” The Pantaneto Forum, Issue 6, April 2002; and 2Abdul-Baha, The Secret of Divine Civilization, Wilmette, 1970, p.1.

    What can I say of today?
    Slept late and also had a
    sleep after lunch: hardly
    productive one could say.
    But how can one measure
    the success of a single day?
    Got a handle on Homer more
    than I’ve ever had: The Iliad
    and The Odyssey as well as
    Simone Weil.1 She was a delight,
    especially her essay on The Iliad
    and its closing words about the idea
    of rediscovering: “the epic genius…
    no refuge from fate…learning not to
    hate the enemy….…how soon will this
    happen?” she asks.2 It has happened; it
    has already happened, Simone: it was born
    in the Siyah-Chal in Tehran and its light is
    spreading around the world to every corner.

    1 Simone Weil(1909-1943) French philosopher, Christian mystic, and social activist.
    2 Simone Weil, “The Iliad or the Poem of Force,” Chicago Review, 18.2, 1965.
    Ron Price

    12 September 2010


    married for 37 years; teacher for 30; living in Australia for 33 years; Baha'i for 45 years. Writer of poetry for 25 years.
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