We Need Art to Tell the Story of Science

I think big changes can happen very fast if there’s a critical mass.

How do we change things when large sectors of the public rejects science?  Let me say that large sectors of the public have never changed anything.  They’re reactionary.  Culture is really led by maybe the top 10 percent.  If we could just reach the top 10 percent, the other people would follow.  

This may not sound democratic, but it’s realistic.  You can never convince the whole country of anything, not this country anyway.  And it doesn’t really matter.  What we need are leaders.  What we need are idea leaders and political leaders and people who are willing to get out there and say this is the truth, this is where we’re actually going.  And here are some optional ways of thinking that could really get us into a much better state.  It could really save our world.  

I am all for celebrities getting involved in this.  There are some really smart actors in Hollywood.  And just the fact that they’re rich doesn’t mean they’re not smart, it means that they’re powerful.  Art is really our way out of here because every cosmology in the history of humanity has been popularized by art.  After all, people didn’t read until fairly recently.  

Imagine where Christianity would be without stained glass.  People wouldn’t know what the stories were.  So, we have to have artists who are willing to portray the real universe, realistically.  That may sound simple. It’s not, because the universe is totally abstract, as you know 95 ½ percent of it is invisible.  

We need people who can get these ideas across without any of the details and can get across the implications of it for our lives so that people can really feel it.  So we in our bones we can know that it matters to have a place in the universe.  And then, I think it could really catch on.  I think big changes can happen very fast if there’s a critical mass.

In Their Own Words is recorded in Big Think's studio.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock

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