If I had a wish, it would be that more people would use their ‘retirement’ time to create what they think the world needs. Wisdom and experience have enormous value. When someone like E. O. Wilson uses his along with insight and vision, the world gets The Encyclopedia of Life. Great projects don’t need to be so grand and sweeping. One which I find enchanting is John Galinato’s Build-It-Yourself, a wonderful series of workshops to teach kids mechanics and robotics in a hugely creative fashion. You can catch some videos of the kids’ creations here.
Much has been written about scientific contributions and age – that scientists do their best work in their twenties. Also, recently there have been several articles stating that the causes of this might well be external, differs from discipline to discipline, is affected by gender, risk tolerance, etc..
I hope and anticipate that as the boomers go into ‘retirement’ their post-career years will be looked at as having the freedom that comes with financial independence – the freedom to do what they think is right, and that their achievements will add another spike to the curve of contributions by age range – because they’ll be working on their own projects with passion and will be doing what they damn well please, free of other responsibilities, using the insight and wisdom they’ve picked up over their years on this planet.
This week, we have added several videos by E. O. Wilson. Our featured video this week is James D. Watson and E. O. Wilson together on Charlie Rose for the entire program. They’re delightful.
E. O. Wilson claims that there are two laws of biology:
“The way I see it is that modern biology now has pretty well established two laws…basic well-established principles for which there is no known exception. The first is that all organic process – all living process – are ultimately obedient to the laws of physics and chemistry. … The second law is that all living systems and process evolve by natural selection. That, in a nutshell, is modern biology. I think if we were to teach biology from the top down, starting with those two laws, and show what the evidence is and what is created, we would have a lot less problems with controversy over biology. ”
In the video Reflections on a Life in Science, Wilson talks about scientists’ role in society:
“The scientist is more of a storyteller and a mythmaker than I think most scientists realize, or at least care to admit. I’ve always been taken by the formula suggested by the filmmaker Howard Hawks, who said, ‘If you’re a storyteller, find a good story, and tell it’. The scientist is more of a storyteller looking for a story to tell – not of fiction – but certainly a product of the imagination, passed through the crucible of testing in the real world.”
Wilson’s acceptance of the TED prize to Help Build the Encyclopedia of Life is just fascinating. I’m completely on board with his dream, but considering what I do, its not that surprising.