Posts Tagged ‘Plato’

I was reading a newspaper article about the new images of Pluto today, and I wanted to write something space-related.  As the idea developed it became a bit more abstract but I decided to go with it!

I found a great quote from Plato’s Republic (a book I dragged myself through for a philosophy course once) courtesy of Spacequotations.com

Astronomy compels the soul to look upward, and leads us from this world to another.

I don’t know about the soul, but certainly my mind, and my eyes, and the part of me that is intrinsically me does look up, and out, and hopes to see something.

And you know what else leads us from this world to another?

A good book.  One that grabs our attention and focusses it all on the words we greedily absorb from the pages before us.

Maybe my love of all things extra-terrestrial is because I am searching for the story in the stars, and maybe my love of books is because the concept of other worlds is fascinating and miraculous, to me.

I love the idea that there is some sort of relationship between the two – that science, geography, astronomy, astrobiology and part of the same fabric of my life as novels, poetry, plays: that my experience of the world does not have to fit into a box marked rational or a box marked creative.

And who is to say that science is entirely rational, or writing only creative?  Scientific breakthroughs require people to question the accepted truth, and find new and unexpected ways of testing the basis of reality as it is understood.  Writing, meanwhile, requires an understanding of the nature of words, how sound functions in a performance poem, how we can lead an audience to a certain observation.  It requires planning and testing.

And both writing and astronomy are interested in the bigger picture.  Not just ‘I’ but ‘we’, not just ‘is’ but ‘how’.  Both are about exploring the possibilities.

I believe there are other worlds out there, where life exists.  But until we find them, reading and writing helps our imaginations fill the gap.

Happy writing,



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