Digging into old project files, I found this manifesto. I wrote it in 2016 and it is still key to who I am and what I work towards. It’s empowering to read these words and know that I am on (what I think is) a vital path. So I wanted to share it as I start to put more of my work out into the world. (If you / your work is aligned, please share and connect with me.)
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I am not a scientist, but the pursuit of scientific knowledge is key to who I am. Science informs my life and my art. My appetite for it was borne out of my pursuit of meaning (also the root of my artistic endeavors). Science and the methodology it encompasses has brought forth a crystal clear image of the world around me — one wondrous yet fragile. One still full of mystery. How there is still so much mystery as we seek explore what we don’t know. This awareness has given me a purpose. We as the dominant intelligent species in our known corner of the Milky Way are on a precipice. Our planet is in danger of environmental collapse that will lead to certain economic, social and geo political strife. The ONLY way that we can prevent this future is through INNOVATION. Author, futurist and computer scientist Ramex Naam said it best: “In the end, our minds and their ability to create new ideas are the ultimate source of all human wealth. They are a resource without limit”. I dare to suggest that the brain is the universes’ finest creation. Think of how far it has taken us: From a single neuron to physics and relativity and nanotech, to art, to space travel. Everything started with an idea. But with this brain comes responsibility. We as a species are no longer acting responsibility, if we ever did. We are acting entitled. We need to grow up. For imperative innovation to occur, for accessible clean energy to exist, not only do the brilliant minds of this planet need to be cultivated, as well as funding and freedom to fail, but they need an informed public and an educated, STEM savvy government to implement the innovations and practices that can save us. Our current representatives is full of not just the science illiterate but of flat out science ignorant. The head of the science, space and competitiveness subcommittee is a climate change science denier. So it’s even more important to inspire STEM literacy and appreciation so votes will put people in power who can help to ensure this planet’s future. That is why STEM education and a STEM literate public is of paramount importance.
“the public dialogue about science is perhaps the most vital and most fraught national conversation not taking place in our country, and the ramifications are profound.”
— Former Secretary of Homeland Security and President of University of California, Janet Napolitano.
But how is this achieved? From where I stand, the answer is entertainment. Movies and television have always been an engine of change — good ones challenging us in the way we see the world through story and character. But when it comes to science, we need that creative machine even more as the challenge cuts deeper. We can only see within a certain energy array, the visible light spectrum. Size wise we can see down to a spec of dust, and up to the clouds and the edge of a clear blue sky. In the absence of sunlight, we can see the dusting of our neighboring planets and stars. But the world of quarks and leptons and bosons that makeup our natural world are invisible to us, as is the place we habitate in our small arm of the Milky Way; we do not possess the macro perspective to see our place in the cosmos. But the magic of movies and storytelling can give us that. Carl Sagan’s COSMOS was a game changer in the the way I saw the world. THE MARTIAN is the most profitable of the 2016 Oscar nominees and could have had a profound effect on one of the countless young people who saw this science based movie. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if more entertainment could do the same?