Science and Romance

This is where it's at. "I think it’s so important to be excited about life. In order to get the facts we have to be excited to go out and get them, and there’s only one way to do that — through romance. ...When you think of any scientist in history, he *(or she!) was a romancer of reality."

I've always advocated that romance, in its broadest sense, is a vital part of life (as is the rational - but the role of romance is the one so often underplayed, wrongly mocked even as counter to the real important issues of worldly life). The wonderful thing about Bradbury's piece here is that for once the pursuits of science and romance are not pitted against one another, but partnered; made whole.

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"Romancing the Known (Bradbury on the Seduction of the Scientist)"

(Alex Blanes' heading)

“I think it’s part of the nature of man to start with romance and build to a reality. There’s hardly a scientist or an astronaut I’ve met who wasn’t beholden to some romantic before him who led him to doing something in life.

I think it’s so important to be excited about life. In order to get the facts we have to be excited to go out and get them, and there’s only one way to do that — through romance. We need this thing which makes us sit bolt upright when we are nine or ten and say, ‘I want to go out and devour the world, I want to do these things.’ The only way you start like that is with this kind of thing we are talking about today. We may reject it later, we may give it up, but we move on to other romances then. We find, we push the edge of science forward, and I think we romance on beyond that into the universe ever beyond...

We want to love life, to be excited by the challenge, to live at the top of our enthusiasm. The process enables us to gather more information. Darwin was the kind of romantic who could stand in the middle of a meadow like a statue for eight hours on end and let the bees buzz in and out of his ear. A fantastic statue standing there in the middle of nature, and all the foxes wandering by and wondering what the hell he was doing there, and they sort of looked at each other and examined the wisdom in each other’s eyes. But this is a romantic man — when you think of any scientist in history, he was a romancer of reality.”

— Ray Bradbury, 1971