Driving through one of the many little agricultural hamlets in Far North Queensland last weekend my wife drew my attention to the notice
board of a little junior school adjoining the highway. In bold letters, it starkly interrogated motorists: Where does the sky start?
We were moved by the sheer innocent exuberance
of this totally unexpected piece of philosophical juvenilia and the artless profundity of the teacher of this undoubtedly one-teacher school in sharing the simple and refreshing curiosity of childhood with the world-weary speedsters-by.
Thereafter I was lost in my thoughts awhile considering the hubris of philosophy and science in the modern world. I looked back to an age of what might be described as certain uncertainties –
when that which could not be explained was ascribed to God or the capriciousness of nature. The 18th century ‘Enlightenment’, handmaiden to the philosophic-diktat of ‘Reason’ and undertaker to the world of superstition and
magic, has in some respects much to answer for.
Although the apotheosis of Reason into the preferred deity of modernity has undeniably lengthened and enriched our lives, it has come
at cost. Our new deity has proved to be a soulless chimera presiding over a society rich in material blessings but much depleted in spirit.
The ubiquitous hand of science and its
brother in indifference, technology, have successfully combined to destroy the wonder and magic of our daily world. We now have ‘an’ answer for everything and access to things perhaps we really have no business knowing.
I am therefore grateful indeed to the teacher in that small rural community for reminding me that we all need a little more wonder and magic in our world. So – where does the sky start?
No, don’t tell me – I really don’t want to know.