One is always glad to see the longest day of the year (solstice) arrive at last; but a little sad, too, realizing that every day thereafter will get a little shorter, right down to the winter solstice, six months from now, when Hoboken and all the northern latitudes are miserably short and dark and cold. We know that last Wednesday was the longest day of the year because those with a scientific turn of mind took the trouble to measure. Those with another type of mind would have noticed the days getting longer or shorter, lighter or darker, but would not have thought to mark where the sun cast a shadow every day. The scientific mind had it all figured out thousands of years ago.
As they did when they looked into the sky at night and determined which bright dot was a planet and which a star. Others of our species saw the same sky, admired it, perhaps wrote a poem about it, but did not bother to stand on a rooftop night after night for years making notes.
The scientific mind has given us a lot. Without an Edison, or a Tesla, no electricity. If all humanity had minds like poets, we’d still be reading Hamlet by candlelight. Just as ordinary folk could not possibly have calculated that the sun is 93 million miles away, so they would not have given a hoot how distant it is, so long as it shone on their daub and wattle houses every day.
Ah, but without science we would not have the Bomb, either. Ordinary minds could not possibly have made such a thing. If unscientific people, despite turning the other cheek, could not avoid fighting with some knuckleheads over in the next village, their war would have been fought with sticks and arrows and spears, with few casualties, after which they would have smoked the Peace Pipe; resuming their humdrum lives of farming and weaving and thatching and lovemaking.
Let’s hope our fools and psychopaths in high places, forever beating the war drums against Russia, who hate peace because there’s no profit in it, don’t drop their atom-schmattoms some fine day and fry us all,–scientific and ordinary minds alike.