Friday, June 18, 2010

If I Were a Scientist; Maintaining Inspiration---A Friday Journal

If I were 18 years old today, and as passionate about animal welfare, as I am now, it's likely that the bombardment of images from the Gulf disaster would have motivated me to a life-study of biological sciences or bioengineering.

While I continue to use my imagination for writing, as  always, I've discovered a surprising consequence of my caring for dogs and reading articles about the abuse and death of animals at the hands of mankind:  My imagination has expanded, reinvented itself somewhat....I feel more passionate about how that which I write may do some good, beyond touching readers' hearts and minds. 

For most of my life, science was not a personal passion.  I preferred the nuances of art, literature, and more ambiguous endeavors, open to interpretation; and that proved to be stimulating and satisfying.  I still do and will always embrace the power and beauty of words and language, writing and music, and especially my beloved theater and cinema.

Mathematics and scientific inquiry, facts and figures, and the rigor of research and experimentation were intimidating, not convenient to my broad and liberal understanding of the world.  I was  more comfortable with the power of imagination,  creative effort, and the end results (like novels, plays and films).  I was bored and restless with the hard and fast rules, and confining processes, of the sciences. All of that was best left to those who excelled in math and chemistry and physics, unlike myself.

Lately, I have taken interest in asking questions the likes of which I have never asked. I now try to read books and articles that before would put me off or would bore me, and which now produce in me a new kind of excitement, not too different from the thrill of writing a good short story, or the pride of solving a difficult math problem (a rarity for me!)

While time and resources will never allow me to pursue all of the education and activity I want to accomplish in life, there ARE opportunities to learn, to improve, to contribute....

Rather than succumb to the heartbreak I feel over the loss of wildlife in the Gulf, or over the ignorance of people who would harm our companion animals, or over the horrible ineptitude and inability of our political leaders to collaborate for the common good, I guess I'll keep on reading, asking questions....maybe create a new artistic/scientific aesthetic...whatever that means....

Here are a few items that have entered my thoughts and have tumbled within, and the questions they are inspiring:

--The latest cover article of Newsweek..What the Spill Will Kill  made me ponder, suddenly, what the greater implications of the oil spill might be beyond the ocean depths.  How is the oil from this spill, and from more diastrous ones that have occurred in the last two decades, affecting global warming?  In what way is this substance contributing to the rising ocean temperatures in ways that "An Inconvenient Truth" did not cover? My initial research is uncovering some troubling questions on either side of the climate change debate.

--Then I thought about  NASA and research for the space program.  It struck me that perhaps NASA might provide some needed assistance in our oceans...It is hard to get to the source of the spill because of the treachery of its depths.  So why not enlist the aid of NASA to use a vehicle designed for space exploration, one that can withstand the extreme temperatures and pressures in space?  Interestingly, I found a very detailed web site (there could be many others) that has treated this idea in much detail.  Check out GhostNasa, by  Gaetano Morano.

--Last, but certainly not all, I am annoyed and discouraged by the congressional hearings, the blame and finger-pointing, the countless hours of words expended by "experts" on TV and radio, with little sense of urgency around solving the immediate problem.  I want to speak up, to contribute, to do anything I can do from here in Chicago.  I found some excellent resources in a blog called Armchair activism for oil-spill animals  by Melissa Breyer.

And to calm me and keep me inspired and motivated, I retreat to the words of my favorite lyricist Joni Mitchell, in a song that was not primarily a "green anthem" in the '70's, but has proved prophetic, and given new popularity by Counting Crows.  Please enjoy the images in this video, and if you can help in any way,  or if you were inspired just a little by reading any of this, thank you!!!

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