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Wednesday, August 7, 2002

Museums

It was so bright the light hurt my eyes this morning and it was only a little after 7:00 in the morning. I love mornings like that. It's like all the smudges and blots and dust have been washed away. The day started well which is always a plus, and basically stayed that way though I was multitasking like crazy all day. As long as I'm not behind, or too much behind, I enjoy it.

I got a little weepy in the afternoon. An announcement came over email from the choir at work about the Rolling Requiem where choirs around the world will start singing Mozart's Requiem at 8:46 am their time on 9/11, 24 hours of singing around the world. So sad, but I think I'll do it. My throat got tight everytime I thought of it even though looking at pictures of the WTC don't do that. To each his own.

I finished reading "Stuffed Animals and Pickled Heads" by Stephen T. Asma. Excellent book. He's a Professor of Philosphy and got started on museums by seeing some humans that had been stuffed and wondered how it was done. From there he began visiting natural history museums and talking with people who worked at them and ended up writing an excellent book on not just natural history museums but how they reflect the view of the nation they are in as well as the interests of the visitors and the unique views of the curators and designers who set up the displays.

Since he's a philospher he includes an excellent section on how we manage to hold what would seem to be divergent views, a multidimentional way of thinking, as he puts it. It certainly made me think and it's worth reading the book just for this part. The discussion was specifically how people put together a belief in both god and evolution and all the ramifications of this. We all have multiple dimensions in our minds, often the same dimensions as people we disagree with but they intersect differently.

He also disagrees with the idea that science should do it's thing and religion should do it's thing because they are working in totally unrelated realms. He says that both are experiential and use the same senses and, as much as we would like to believe that science is objective, it's still dependent on our senses to understand what is happening. The advantage of good science is that you are willing to see the anomalies and adjust what you first thought, to continue to experiment and continue to revise what we know about nature and science. We use the same senses in religion. This also involves our ability to have multidimensional beliefs and still function. What is important is that we understand that we only understand through our senses, through a glass darkly, and are able to adjust our beliefs in either science or religion when new evidence is found.


Rachel Aschmann 2002.
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