Thursday, January 21, 2010

science the searchlight

I am teaching Environmental Science at American University this spring, and in class today we discussed Aldo Leopold's Sand County Almanac. This quote spoke to me:
"We see repeated the same basic paradoxes: Man the conqueror versus man the biotic citizen; science the sharpener of his sword versus science the searchlight of his universe; land the slave and servant versus land the collective organism."
To me, the concept of "science as sword versus searchlight" pertains to the use of technology to degrade versus restore the environment. However, I think the metaphor also suggests science as a path to enlightenment.

This little light o' mine...I'm gonna let it shine. Let it shine, let it shine, let it shine....