I saw a Rainbow today and remember a much simpler time, a time where people used to marvel at the beauty of a rainbow and how it was made. Today I know exactly how they are made and when I see a rainbow I rarely look in amazement and neither do many others I see.
Scientists find much joy in discovering how things work, but are they steeling our joy of marveling at things like rainbows? I think back to my childhood and the stories behind such things as rainbows that sparked my imagination and sense of adventure, like finding the pot of gold at the end of a rainbow, yet today I find myself explaining the science of how a rainbow is formed rather than inventing or retelling old tales of little Leprechauns guarding the pot of gold or Noah’s flood and the animals going 2 by 2 onto the ark.
I look at the reality that children and us adults are growing up in, so little mystery, so few tales to spark our sense of adventure and imagination. Perhaps knowledge is steeling our children’s youth, perhaps it’s stealing their joy and interest, perhaps it’s numbing their sense of wonder?
Or is it? Is it inspiring more children from this generation to want to become scientists because they are now fascinated by the science behind how a rainbow is formed? I can’t see this in our society? In fact I see an increase in hopelessness, an increase in drink and drug abuse and the like? I see a decline in inventors and inventions. Could it be partially linked to our new found knowledge that kills our sense of wonder and possibility?
I find very few aspects of our society that I don’t explain away with science that perhaps once came with a tale of hope and a sense of awe anything from stars in the night sky being angels, diamonds or perhaps even fairy dust now simply giant spheres of rock millions of light years away, not quite as pretty or imaginative unless you wish to tickle the possibility of Aliens that might live up there? However, stories of aliens that might one day invade the earth just before bed is hardly the prescription for a peaceful nights sleep.
I want to be able to imagine with my children and create stories and tales of twinkling fairy dust in the night sky and leave them with the possibilities that come with their wishes upon a shooting star, rather than explain that huge pieces of rock are flying past the earth just like the one that hit the earth and wiped out the dinosaurs all those years ago. I want my children to be able to say a prayer at night with the hopes that one day that prayer might be answered, rather than it being just “vibrating vocal cords and exhaling oxygen from your lungs to create sounds into the atmosphere and the dispersion of energy that never actually amount to anything once spoken” (a scientific view).
I find it very hard to marvel at ‘white sunlight reflecting through raindrops to create multi colours much like a prism.’ So, for now I can still at least hold onto the fact that this explanation tells me how a rainbow is made but not ‘why?’ I can at least still leave that to my imagination and hope, I can still attempt to look for the end of the rainbow in search of my pot of gold.