In 1973 when I was 19 I left home to start work at Harwell and also to take an HNC at Oxford Polytechnic (as it was then). This was a time of great awakening for me, I had found the whole school experience to be a complete and utter waste of time and couldn’t wait for the day when I could leave. Starting at Harwell was that day and was also the time when I discovered (for myself, no prompting from teachers) that learning could actually be a rewarding experience. So it was in 1973 that I bought one of the many books that would transform my world-view, in a very positive way, forever. 1973 was the first publication of Carl Sagan’s “Cosmic Connection”. Some 40 years later I have totally forgotten its contents and the original book is long gone – but I have on my desk an Anniversary issue which I am slowly re-reading, and I understand why it gave me such a buzz such a long time ago.
Today I finished reading “The Varieties of Scientific Experience” also by Carl Sagan, and Carl has done it yet again – I got the same buzz from reading this book that I got from reading the “Cosmic Connection” 40 years ago – thank you Carl 🙂
What can I say about “The Varieties of Scientific Experience”? Firstly, I think this should be compulsory reading for GCSE schoolkids, those that have sufficient intelligence to follow the plot could go on to do good things. Secondly, it should make an educational read for politicians and theologians alike – so maybe they wouldn’t like it very much. Logical argument, beautifully written, and very humanistic with none of that highly annoying zealotry that we have come to associate with Richard Dawkins. Carl – you are very sorely missed!