Science is inhuman
...Thoreau's Journal: 01-May-1859

Science is inhuman. Things seen with a microscope begin to be insignificant. So described, they are as monstrous as if they should be magnified a thousand diameters. Suppose I should see and describe men and houses and trees and birds as if they were a thousand times larger than they are! With our prying instruments we disturb the balance and harmony of nature.


Anonymous said...

Henry's observations when it comes to science are definitely so two centuries ago.

We can't all live in a cabin in the woods and have our mothers make us dinner while we put down the rest of humanity for not havinvg the same luxuries.

zimdog said...

It's interesting that critiques of Thoreau's work often include mention of his lucky lifestyle... as if it somehow rendered him unfit to issue social criticism.

Regardless of how the man lived, his critique of the microscope came from the same place as his critique of the railroad running past Walden Pond. I don't necessarily agree with Thoreau that science is somehow inhuman. I do, however, agree that human beings must learn greater responsibility with science. The things we cannot see without a microscope are still part of the cosmic order, and should be respected as such. Here I side with Henry in some way that science does not necessarily view them as such. The microscope is a tool for understanding Nature, not a device for making us further masters of Nature.

michael jameson said...

science is inhuman for the good of man,and at the time things seen under the microscope were said to be monstrous, as an ant looking at us?, and in a natural world we are more concerned with balance,harmony,beauty,the sounds and stillness and grace we are blessed with not how the inside of a feather looks magnified 1000 times!.just because we do not understand someone does not give us the right to admonish him!. michael jameson oldantiqueguy@hotmail.com

michael jameson said...

people have an defense mechanism that if they do not understand or dont know about something to say it is wrong and say bad things or laugh at it,historically this is true,we also want to find fault and criticize,, a man is just a man with the same feelings faults and hopes as others,try and find the good in a man before the bad and they will do the same to you,you will be wiser!. michael jameson oldantiqueguy@hotmail.com