Friday, 5 December 2008
Jo was telling me about this woman chatting over her mobile phone on one of her previous week's rides, telling her entire life story not only to her partner in chat but also to the rest of the carriage. 26, she just came back from a trip abroad with her mother, and she couldn't bear normal life anymore – you know, work and such. She couldn't wait till the time she was able to retire and just travel and do nothing all day long.
On one hand, it's amazing just how little understanding there is out there of what life is all about. That woman showed no indication of realizing what life is all about, why we're here in the first place, and why true, lasting and complete happiness is something that can never be had.
Then again, why should I be amazed? We live in a world where any baseless agenda can be promoted tax free as a religion and thus receive immediate and total immunity from any criticism; a world where people have ten times the exposure to astrology than they do to anything in the least scientific; a world where stating the obvious fact that we humans are apes is not something you would do because people will react strangely to such a statement.
A world like ours needs people who will embrace the challenge and become champions of science. We need every Carl Sagan, Isaac Asimov or Richard Dawkins we can get.
In Australia, the closest one can get to any of the above is Karl Kruszelnicki, or as most of the public knows him – Dr Karl. While Dr Karl cannot boast the scientific achievements of Dawkins or Sagan, he is a prominent feature of Triple J radio and has quite a following. He also had a go at politics, running on behalf of a global warming action group and raising some more awareness to the cause (and to the ease with which we can address it if we really put our minds to it, which the government obviously doesn't want to do).
A couple of weeks ago I met Dr Karl and had a chat with him while on a book signing tour of Melbourne, and I just want to say I'm proud of that and I'm proud of him being there and doing what it is that he's doing. It's people like Dr Karl that stand in between ignorance with all its tax free billions on one side and knowledge and enlightenment on the other.