I'm always amazed at how easily we get habituated, and eventually bored, by things around us. Humorist Louis CK tells the story of a passenger complaining about having bad wifi on a plane. You're on a plane! You're flying in the sky! You should be in constant awe. In "Human, all too human" Nietzsche writes about the future of science and how pleasure and science might relate: "To the man who works and searches in it, science gives much pleasure; to the man who learns its results, very little. But since all important scientific truths must eventually become everyday and commonplace, even this small amount of pleasure ceases; just as we have long ago ceased to enjoy learning the admirable multiplication tables"
Columbia biologist Stuart Firestein, author of "The Fantastic Ignorance" echoes that concern after explaining how fundamental failure is to science: "So what's the worry? That we will become irrationally impatient with science, with it's wrong turns and occasional blind alleys, with its temporary results that need constant revision. And we will lose our trust and belief in science as the single best way to understand the physical universe. . . . From a historical perspective the path to discovery may seem clear, but the reality is that there are twists and turns and reversals and failures and cul de sacs all along the path to any discovery. (...) This is the messy process of science. We should worry that our unrealistic expectations will destroy this amazing mess."
That we will watch science like a soccer match one day is concerning. Nietzsche makes a prophecy relating to habituation and science. "Interest in truth will cease, the less it gives pleasure; illusion, error, and fantasies, because they are linked with pleasure, will reconquer their former territory step by step; the ruin of the sciences and relapse into barbarism follow next. Mankind will have to begin to weave its cloth from the beginning again, after having, like Penelope, destroyed it in the night. But who will guarantee that we will keep finding the strength to do so?"
Nietzsche actually suggests a solution: "Therefore a higher culture must give man a double brain, two brain chambers, as it were, one to experience science, and one to experience nonscience. (...) In the one domain lies the source of strength, in the other the regulator. Illusions, biases, passions must give heat; with the help of scientific knowledge, the pernicious and dangerous consequences of overheating must be prevented." I disagree. Sorry Friedrich. I think poets and artists can re-ignite our awe for science - Watch Jason Silva's, Performance philosopher, "Shots of Awe" on Youtube. I think The Impossible Campaign is bringing its brick to the edifice. I hope you think so as well Impossible family :D