In a Different Language

Brian Green from "Imagining the Cosmos," an On Being conversation with Krista Tippett

"We have these arbitrary distinctions and cordoning off of science in particular. It typically sits at the outskirts of culture, and we sort of wheel it in whenever we have a problem. We wheel it in when we love the technological advances that it gives rise to. But still, science is generally pushed off to the side relative to those things that really matter to a full life.

And I think that is tragic because science deserves to be right smack in the center of culture, because it is our quest to understand who we are and how we fit into the big picture, just as great poetry is, just as great literature is. So it’s not this separate activity. It’s all part of the human swirl to make sense of a fundamentally senseless position that we find ourselves in.

We’re thrust into this world on this rock that’s orbiting a nondescript star in the outskirts of an ordinary galaxy. Wow. I mean, can you imagine being thrust into a more bizarre and strange reality than that? And what we’ve been doing for thousands of years is just trying to piece by piece get some understanding of where we came from, where the universe came from, and where it’s all going. So, to me, that is not distinct from what the poet does or what the philosopher does or what the great writer does or the composer does. They just do it in a different language."