Dr. Lawrence Krauss is a distinguished physicist and Director of the Origins Project at Arizona State University. He invited a stellar panel of scientists and science writers to tell the story of science. (https://origins.asu.edu/events/science-myth-and-reality)
I couldn’t wait to buy a ticket to the event after all, I’m a scientist and a storyteller, but I was flabbergasted when 3,000 people showed up. Most of the world doesn’t see science as a story; they see it as a presentation of the facts. Science is not about facts; it’s a story about how to ask questions and being open to how they can be answered. To look for the truth even if it shakes the foundation of what you once believed.
Science is a great story, one that requires it’s practitioners to look at what is familiar in a new way; to be skeptical about ideas and beliefs that can’t be proven, to scrutinize, and to always to being willing to be surprised as the story unfolds. Science is the movement from confusion to clarity
Scientists agree that there are some questions that may not even be answerable, like the existential questions about life’s meaning and purpose; or what is consciousness? But all those questions should be asked; if they can’t be answered let’s acknowledge our helplessness, and not get defensive about it.
The great physicist, Richard Feynman said he had only approximate answers, and beliefs with varying degrees of uncertainty. He was not absolutely sure of anything, and there were many things he didn’t know anything about. He also said, “I don’t have to know an answer; I don’t feel frightened about not knowing things; by being lost in a mysterious universe without any purpose, which as far as I can tell, is the way it really is”.
I see myself as a scientist; I became a doctor because I had a passion for understanding disease and healing it. I became a psychiatrist because I developed a passion for wanting to understand the mind and human behavior. That pursuit led to an exploration about consciousness, altered states of consciousness, and the unfathomable unconsciousness.
Like Feynman, I have come to appreciate that I’m less sure about what I was once certain of about; all those things I was once sure about, now come with varying degrees of uncertainty. I love exploring the mystery, and I think we are all explorers watching this story unfold. Stay open; keep looking for new endings to old stories, and appreciate all the ways they can be told.