Science just ripped my heart out. It is no secret that I have an intellectual blind spot when it comes to science. I know it matters, I’m glad other people are working on it, but my brain actually shrivels when I have to think about it. Five minutes of Ira Flatow and I will pass out. Driving on Friday afternoons is an actual death trap for me.

Regardless, just try and watch this video of scientist Andrei Dmitriyevich Linde learning the big news from this week that his theory about the Big Bang had been proven to be true without turning into a weepy mess, overcome with the emotional gravity of it all. I don’t understand a thing about what happened science-wise, but human-wise, it is perhaps the most beautiful, meaningful moment the internet has has ever offered me. Particularly, this quote, from the emotionally overwhelmed scientist:

“I’ve always lived with this feeling [of] what if I am tricked? What if I believe in this just because it is beautiful?”

Well Dr. Linde, it was beautiful, and it was true. I can’t wrap my mind around the theory well enough to see its beauty, but the convergence of truth and beauty is something I spend lots of time thinking about as a writer. It’s why that earnest quote from a scientist I’ve never heard of and don’t understand stirred within me the same achingly meaningful reaction I had the first time I saw the move Moulin Rouge, the theme of which is the interplay between truth, beauty, freedom and (“above all things”) love. That man’s theory may have always been beautiful, but it became more so when it was proven true. Maybe the fact that it was true, even if unproven, was what made so beautiful all along.

As I writer, sometimes I struggle with the line between fiction and non-fiction. I love writing non-fiction because I believe the truth is beautiful. I enjoy reading fiction, but I have a difficult time writing it, building imaginary walls around reality without obstructing my view of the truth. I’m working on it. I want to be a good fiction writer. I mean, how much more memoir can a 32-year-old write? But it’s nice to have a reminder every once in a while that there’s meaning in uncovering the beauty in truth, as well as the truth in beauty. There is a place for holding that relationship up to the world and celebrating it, just like this video does with this brilliant, adorable science guy. Thanks, science. Sometimes you’re okay.

One thought on “Science and art; Fiction and non-fiction; Truth and beauty

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