My good friend and Dharma brother loaned me Gary Paul Nabhan’s Cross-Pollinations: The Marriage of Science and Poetry. In one essay GPN writes about “Why Science Needs Poetry”, and how poetry can open up the narrowing of vision that experimentation can cause, and how this hindering of creativity, and the associated separation and isolation can cause harm rather than good. There is no doubt that science has brought us great good, and yet it is leading us on a death march. The natural world is disappearing, the earth is heating up; scientist invent ways for us to kill each other and neuter the earth, while starving our bodies. Poetry can bring the “play” back to science, opening the field of exploration and creative connections in a broader system approach. Nothing occurs in isolation, and empathy often requires creative leaps.
Simile in an Amy Clampitt poem, where she moves back and forth between chrysalis and burial urn, brought GPN to considering the analogies between traditional desert plants and indigenous people struggling with diabetes caused by modern diets. The slow dispersal of minerals and water in the plants, a survival mechanism in an environment of extreme temperature and drought, is similar to the needs of humans to slowly digest sugars to prevent diabetes.
Science unleashes both innovation and monsters, poetry gives voice to our humanity and divinity.