Tuesday, January 20, 2015

"Science is More Than Equations or Experiments"

Last night a friend sent me a link to a video of a man telling a story as part of The Moth presentation at the World Science Festival last May. The Moth is a national storytelling platform where ordinary people tell extraordinary stories, on the fly, in front of an audience. If you've never heard of it, you should check it out. On the web page, the World Science Festival noted  In keeping with Moth tradition, all stories must be told within ten minutes, without notes. Their stories are a reminder that science is more than equations or experiments; it is a window to humanity, a quest for understanding, and, often, a way of life. The participants included a geneticist who had discovered a breast cancer mutation, the White House chef, an archeologist, a neuroscientist and Brian Hecht, an entrepreneur whose story of planning his bar mitzvah was brilliantly used to convey his life as the sibling of a brother of a boy with severe epilepsy damaged by a vaccine.  

I so needed to hear this, particularly after another bruising incident with people who call those of us with more measured responses to vaccination dumb-assess and immoral.  Hecht's performance is particularly poignant as well because it recounts his own coming out as a gay man. It's about caregiving and the incredible burdens that some are called to bear. What it says about our very human need to control is a profound reminder. I won't expect that those who would call others dumb asses would watch it and be changed, but you never know. In the meantime, I feel affirmed, if not devastated. Thank you, Jill, for passing this along to me.


  1. Oh holy crap that was so good. yikes.

  2. Oh Elizabeth, this is magnificent, funny, poignant, and full of sorrow. This is profound. I don't really have the right words. But thank you.

  3. Just watched all of it and it was pretty damn amazing.
    Control. How we yearn for it, fight for it and sometimes we get some, or at least the illusion, but there is always an end date in this life, isn't there?

  4. Amazing, Elizabeth. I saw you in so many instances and so many guises revealed again and again as this man told his story... a beautiful, funny and heartbreaking story. It was heartwarming to hear someone else speak of this experience in a way that would have been particularly poignant to you.
    Thank you so very much for sharing it with us.

    But the thing that struck me throughout the whole story, that I couldn't shake from beginning to end - was that I felt as if I was watching Oliver as a grown man. An articulate, compassionate and wise man. That, made me cry.



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