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Greatness in Impracticality


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"But what will it do for us?" I responded with a grin, "Practically nothing, but really everything."

When European scientists announced new evidence in support of the "God Particle", there were mixed opinions circulating. Some people were ecstatic from the news, others were skeptical of the project, and, most unfortunately, many were simply unaware and indifferent to this pivotal moment in the history of science. Their indifference stems from a common misconception about science and knowledge in general: if it doesn't have a practical application, it's not worth the effort, time, and resources to find it.

It is this misconception that has led to a new movement in education, which asserts the idea that only practical information be taught. On this premise, math should only be taught with regards to its applications to science or finance; English classes should focus only on non-fiction because of it's application in various fields of work.

And yet, for almost as long as humans existed, countless years and resources have been invested in exploration and theoretical science. Why? Because, as humans we have the natural urge and duty to embody the "consciousness" of the world. Our consciousness is what separates us from every other organism on the earth and we have the obligation to further it with every opportunity we get. It is for this reason that we engage in theoretical studies and endeavors that don't actually "help" people. It is to fulfill our duty as humans, who hold between our ears the most powerful and complex tool that ever emerged from evolutionary processes. And what better way to further our consciousness than to search for truth? Is that not the essence of science?

Many have dedicated their lives to the pursuit of truth and exploration of science. Some like Copernicus and Galileo actually put their lives on the line for a single claim, solely in support of the truth. Did their claim change anything other than the way we look at the world and find truth? No. And yet they were willing to risk their lives for it.

So, no, evidence of the Higgs Boson may not carry us to a new technological revolution, nor may it have a practical application, but it's implications for human consciousness and our view of reality make the endeavor worth every penny.




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