I have just finished reading "A Brief History of Time" by Stephen Hawking; a book I began months ago, put down as the complicated language floated before my uncomprehending eyes. But this book was on loan from my son, and I deemed it time to return it.
Of course there were zillions of facts, or theories [at what stage does a theory become a fact?] espoused on those pages; scientific words dotted the pages like a tagger's tags on a blank wall; questions asked and not answered did little to enlighten my mind.
My son has read this book at least half a dozen times, and he being of a more scientific and mathematical leaning than I, confessed that one must read it over and over for the information to sink in. Maybe I will re-read it again some time in the future, but then again, maybe not. Because the main question this book raised in my mind was WHY?
Why do we suppose that by KNOWING how the Universe began our lives will be altered, for better or worse?
Why does it matter what lies beyond the moon? Or indeed, does it really matter what lies on the moon?
I know mankind has an insatiable hunger for knowledge, but sometimes I wonder how this knowledge affects the 'ordinary man and woman' of planet Earth. I wonder why some folk spend a lifetime sitting at a computer [today] or scribbling figures on endless sheets of paper [in the past] to work out an equation that so often in another ten years proves to be nothing more than a walk down the garden path of 'I grew the wrong plant! Cacti do not like cold wet climates ... I should have grown weeds.'
As I read all those words that I had absolutely no idea of their meaning it crossed my mind that if as much time and effort, and dare I say it money, were spent on working on the many problems facing the Earth today ... WHY some folks are discrimated against, WHY so many go hungry,WHY a few own 90% of the Earth's assets, or rather use those assets to their own selfish advantage, then perhaps this planet on which we live at this moment, might be more joyous, and our relationships with each other a glue that keeps us bound together in making the Earth a better place to live NOW.
Of course we should continue to ask questions ... why, why, why! Why of course, to further our knowledge. However I contend some knowledge is of more universal use than some other.