When I was a child, my parents often wondered where I came from. Hmm. But really, how does a poet rise from two scientists–my father had a PhD in Geophysics and my mom double majored in math and chemistry. My brother? History (his educational focus, not the state of existence). So even I can ask the question: where did I come from?
Joking aside, I really do like science…physics anyways. I don’t get chemistry and don’t care for biology (outside of evolution and creationism). I took calculus based physics in college. Yup, I was in way over my head. I like literature more than science, but there are aspects that grab my attention. I’m actually going to be studying optics for my capstone project in grad school. But there is a disconnect between science and poetry. This blog goes deeper into the problem than I care to, but here’s a quote:
One of the great dichotomies that Carl Jung drew in his book on personality types (which is retained in the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator) is that between feeling and thinking. Feelers are interested in human relationships, while thinkers are more interested in the objective world. Feelers are more interested in the humanities, while thinkers are more interested in the sciences.
And why can’t the two connect? Emerson saw a connection between humanity, nature, and God and labeled it the Oversoul. I think the Oversoul can be taken out of the equation, with God unifying man and nature through origin. In terms of origins, I do believe that humans were purposefully created, but I also believe the Big Bang set things into motion. This is a tricky spot to be in: evolutionists accuse me of having bad science and some creationists accuse me of having bad faith. I don’t think I have either.
I believe in God–not a distant entity that can’t be bothered by the goings on of the planet Earth, but rather one that cares deeply about us and desires to see us choosing love above all us–and I believe that he has given us things to reveal himself, science and literature being two of them. Literature, over time, has recorded our attempts to find what’s missing, to fill a void, to achieve joy, to rise above an oppressive culture, etc. With literature, especially poetry, we have the physicalization of the spiritual, the realization of the idea, the imitation (and actuality) of creation. I also believe that God gave us science to reveal himself. From the greatness of our expansive universe to the information inscribed on a strand of DNA, I can’t accept that it just happened randomly, or even by chance. But this stance on science isn’t really popular with the Christian community. The Bible says the the world was created in 6 days, end of story. A sermon I heard at church last year presented this idea: God made things in six days–God could make an old rock look like a new rock–a three second old rock still looks like a rock!
Amen. Or not quite (I’ve gone round and round with my pastor on this, and we civilly disagree, so it’s not like I’m trying to call him out on this). Scientifically, a three-second rock is probably still glowing lava, cooling in ocean mists (oops, didn’t mean to get too poetic!). My question is, if God gave us science to reveal himself, why would he lie? I don’t believe that God has set out to trick us, so what’s the answer?
I think back to Galileo and Newton, who were coming up with really cool ideas…like the earth not being the center of the universe. These guys were persecuted by the church. Oops. Who has egg on their face on that one? I don’t mean to be anti-establishment, but the church was guilty of bad science.
What does this have to do with poetry? I think that all to often contemporary science doesn’t allow room for the supernatural, the mystical, the unprovable. I think religions often times don’t allow for evidence, questioning, and theorizing (i.e. the scientific method…I may have gotten things out of order, but hey, I’m a poet).
I assert that poetry is the unification of the two (I hope this isn’t too single-minded of me–poetry can do much more than this), taking the unseen, the supernatural, the mystical, and making it physical, taking the physical, the proven, and the tested and making it mystical and mysterious, all with the purpose of revealing the Creator.
I just found this quote on the top 10 reasons to attend a poetry reading:
Poetry is simultaneously emotional, intellectual, and spiritual.