I’ve just spent a muddy weekend at The Green Man Festival, where, one morning as I drank my £4 cafetière of Fair Trade coffee and waited for the caffeine to do its Oil-of-Ulay-smoothing-out-a-dried-leaf thing and restore some suppleness to my face, I got to pondering on science. Not about work (I’m one of those who doesn’t take it with them, which is perhaps, after all, why I’ll never be a very good scientist); or about the marvellous things science can and does do. Instead, I ruminated on what it can’t explain.
I wondered why camping instantaneously makes one look a decade older; why the liberal use of the words ‘organic’ and ‘Fair Trade’ pacifies people into paying hiked prices (I needed the caffeine, okay); what on earth is a ‘veggie bacon roll’?; how phenomenal eighteen year-old guitarist Gareth Pearson can be so talented, so young; and yet how, though forty years older, Robert Plant is still so good and fresh; I wondered, which planet abducted Joanna Newsom (although I’m very glad she’s been returned)?; when did Seasick Steve realise that it’s never too late?; why moronic young men at other festivals find it amusing to hurl bottles of their warm urine across the crowd; how otherwise intelligent people can seemingly misunderstand the meaning of the words “in confidence”; how people will tolerate sanitary conditions reminiscent of a Somalian refugee camp in order to feel the ‘vibe’; how women can look so good in a dress and Wellington boots; how all this and more still cannot totally distract one from mulling over a broken affair.
I’m satisfied that these things have nothing to do with ‘God’, and that astrologers have nothing to offer here (or anywhere). However, although there are likely some rational sounding explanations, I doubt that science can shed much light on such things either. And you know what? I don’t think I want it to.
The unknown is always threatening some people so much that something must be there to explain a bit for them. For them to be ‘rational’ first they have to learn to live with the unknown everyday in their entire lives.