Science: The most grandiose and flamboyant flag ship on the planet. How amaze-ballz Science is. It’s the truth! It’s reality!
Or is it more of a social club of turtle stacking enthusiasts?
A conversation between the student and his guru
[Student]: Hey doc? What the hell is carrying this big, flat earth? I mean, it can’t just float on top of nothing, can it? What’s holding it all up?
[Guru/Doc]: Well shit, son! Don’t you know? It’s a giant turtle which carries this disc of a planet on its back. His name is Jeff. The turtle. Real fine fellow.
[Student]: Oh shit.. No, I never knew. How fucking awesome is that?!
[Guru]: I know, right?! Here, have a rip on this bang man
[Student takes a huge inhalation of some half grass / half soil / half marijuana mix, offered by the guru. He coughs like crazy and passes out. A month and a half later he wakes up again, the guru still sitting next to him, ready to continue the conversation.]
[Student]: That’s some good shit you got there, Doc! Anyway, I was wondering: What’s carrying this turtle, then? I mean, the turtle is carrying the planet I get that. But what’s under the turtle? How come that it isn’t free-falling along into the depths with us?
[Guru]: Dude, most of my students never ask that much. Let me think about it… Oh! I remember now. The turtle is on top of another turtle.
[The student looks at the guru, not quite sure if what he heard makes no sense, or if he’s just high as an astronaut.]
[Student]: Am I high as an astronaut, or did what you just said not explain the whole thing in any way, whatsoever?
[Guru]: Fuck you, son! It makes sense. Here, have another hit. Anyway, I know what you’re thinking: Ok, so this turtle that’s under us, is being held up by another turtle – But what is holding that second turtle up. That’s what you wonder about, right? Well, the thing is that yet another turtle is under that one. And another one under that. It never ends. It’s an infinite tower of turtles. But to tell you the truth, there may be another animal in the stack, somewhere down this infinite tower of turtles, but I don’t really know all those details. The point is just, really, that you really ought to have another hit of this bang. It will make sense when you’ve had enough.
[The student has already never been more high in his life, even though he once ate a five ounce bag of magic mushrooms and fell asleep with his bbq grill on inside of his 10 squarefoot bedroom with the door and windows fully closed. He takes another huge rip of the mix anyway; a much larger rip than the first one…]
[Student]: Better. I understand now. Thanks Doc.
Now this story may just be absolutely hilarious. But it is more than that. It is a perfect allegory describing the situation with the scientist.
But what does all this have to do with science: The one true endeavor? The magnificent flag ship which flies at warp speed through the epistemological maze of reality?
Let’s find out:
A conversation between the scientist and his secretary
[Secretary]: Hey Brian? I was wondering about something and I thought you’d be the one to ask. How would you –
[The Scientist, Brian, cuts off his secretary, Susan.]
[The Scientist]: Susan, I know what you’re gonna say. You want in on this batch of this mystical psychedelic mix I just brewed in my lab, right? Here, let me hit you up.
[Brian, who stands there in his white lab coat with thick glasses and a feeble figure, reaches for a leaf blower that he for some odd reason has in his clinically white lab. He dumps a beaker of green-pinkish fluid into the blowing pipe and aims it at Susan’s face. As he pushes the ignition button, a cloud of vapor with the same color as the fluid blows directly into Susan’s face along with a handful of dried leaves, just as she was about to take an in-breath. She essentially inhales at least half of the entire cloud of vapor. And a few leaves.]
[The Scientist]: Oh shit, did you just breathe in? You’re not really supposed to do that, you know? Well..I’ll give you the rest of the month off and yes! I know it’s only the second of the month but shit, Susan..You’re gonna need it. You can go sleep in my office after we’ve talked. Anyway, you were saying?
[Susan]: I wanted to ask you about this science realted question that I was thinking about. It concernes gracity, I thinkj.. I mena, how come3 the things keep faaling down? I mean..the things…down. Down, all ways. Dooooown…
[Susan was speaking in a manner which was hard to understand. But Brian understood the question and proceeded with answering.]
[Brian]: Oh, you wanna know why things go…down? Haha, well that’s easy. As you said, it has to do with gravity. You see, even though you can’t see it, there is gravity aaaaalll around us. It is this force which makes sure that everything that has mass tends to well, gravitate, towards earth.
[Susan]: Arh, I see. But..Where does this gravity come from? What makes gravity gravity?
[Brian]: Oh. Most of my other secretaries never asks this question too.. But erm, let me see. I should remember the answer to your question soon enough….Arh, yes! There it is. So, the thing is that because the planet, Earth, is so heavy, it has gravity. You see, all things that have mass, have gravity. Mass is what makes gravity gravity.
[Susan looks at Brian, not quite sure what mass has to do with gravity and what that has to do with down. She is starting to turn the same color as the vapor she inhaled; a green-pinkish color. Except her eyes; which are turning all black. Brian is a little worried, but figures it won’t be worse than that one time his colleague, Fred, accidentally fell asleep with his face in the soup-bowl, so to speak. Anyway, Susan is starting to get a little more creative and thinks that she just maybe understands that mass is practically the same as gravity which is obviously the same as down.]
[Susan]: But prof3ssaor, scisdegnce Brigan, I hnowh wondherlk something more that what you already ave to me of an ansswer. I think that I wasnt to know: Wghat is then making te masss mass? Makes maekes mass mamass? MAsssss….
[Brian]: Fuck you, Susan. You can’t just ask what makes mass mass, alright? HAHA! That’s like, the dumbest shit I’ve ever heard. It just is, alright? Go somewhere else with your philosophy. Okay sorry, maybe it’s ok, I’ll answer your dumb question. The thing is, that what makes mass mass, has got something to do with elephants. You see, inside of every little lump of mass, there actually is a tiny little elephant. This elephant is, as we all know, heavy, right? And so therefore lumps of mass have mass.
[Susan]: Brian I not really sure IO fllow ypi aææ tje wau jere- O ,eanm. wju are thjere—Ok OK OK OK OK OK OK OK I understand I thingks . I wanna ask you now: What makes these elephants have their mass? I mena…you know what I mean Brian?
[Brian]: Yeah, I know what you mean, Susan. Geez, you really should lay down soon.. or maaaybe… Here, have another hit. I think that maybe that will reverse the effect that we’re seeing here. Just a theory tho…
[Brian again grabs the leaf blower, dumps an even larger than before beaker of green-pinkish fluid into the blow pipe, aims it at Susans face, tells her to get ready to breathe it all in, and turns it on. A huge cloud of vapor blows into Susans face, and she swallows it all up in a deep in-breath.]
[Brian]: Good, I think we can go on now. Ok, so what gives the elephants their mass? Well, it’s easy, really. You know how everything is actually made of atoms? Thing is, as it happens to be: Atoms are really made of tiny, tiiiiny little elephants, too. So there you have it. It’s really these little elephants that make the atoms have mass. And in turn the little elephants inside of each lump of mass has mass. And if you’re gonna get all stupid, Susan, like you, quite frankly tend to seem today, you’re probably also gonna ask what gives those tiny tiny elephants their mass? The answer is, that they too are made of even tinier little elephants. And so are they. And they too. It never stops. Everything is made of an infinite series of elephants. Like, for instance, how the idiots of the past thought the the earth was flat and held afloat by an infinite tower of turtles. Seriously, what fucking fuck-tarts, huh? Anyway, it works best if you don’t really think about it. Better to just close your eyes and accept this story as fact. That’s what I’ve always done anyway..especially with those damn electrons and electricity and the little fast running rabbits…Anyway, Susan. You really ought to get some rest.
[Brian picks up the leaf blower and this time fills it up to its edge with the green-pinkish fluid. He opens his mouth wide and jams in the blow pipe and turns it on. His eyes immediately turn black, his skin green/pink and something else too; which he hasn’t experienced before: Happiness. Happiness overwhelms him. He falls backwards into a shelf full of glass beakers, which all fall to the ground and shatters around his lifeless body on the floor. Susan head-dives straight into the sea of shattered glass with a large, and a little freakish grin, and passes the fuck out on top of Brian.]
[Susan]: Bewtjwbet. Thankfodsalfsdglsg saoO sjuO))
So now that you’ve heard the same story twice in the matter of minutes, let me ask you: Which one do you like the best? The one with the guru and his student, or the one with the modern-guru and his pet secretary?