Today is my 39th birthday, and it happens to coincide with salon.com running my article on nanotechnology and Kabbalah. Now, perhaps a Jewish mystic would find significance in the numbers 39 and 10-7-04, but it's all much too complicated for me. Besides, Kabbalists believe you shouldn't study this stuff until after you turn 40.
In any event, I want to thank Andrew Leonard, the Salon editor I worked with on this piece, for his insight and guidance in helping me bring out these ideas in, I hope, a way that is understandable to a general audience. Regular NanoBot readers already know a little about how science and spirituality can find some common ground. But it's not easy making that connection between two complicated subjects while still holding the readers' attention. Andrew proved to be a patient and able guide.
To access the story, you'll need to subscribe or sit through an ad to obtain a free day pass. Here's an excerpt:
- The mantra in the nanotech industry is to learn from the mistakes made
in biotechnology and the public rejection of genetically modified
organisms. Partly to blame was a "top-down" attitude taken by a
scientific establishment that was much too self-important to bother
with public attitudes and perceptions. So, consideration of "societal
and ethical implications" is No. 1 on the nanotech industry's list.
However, part of that process involves paying attention to the separate
philosophical and religious societies in the world. Not the abstract
"society" of a scientist's dream -- one that will listen to scientific
explanations and reach "correct" conclusions based on the strength and
logic of their arguments -- but the real society that's out there, the
one that laughs at, or adores, Madonna and wears red strings, the one
that crowds around old barns in rundown villages to gaze at a stain
that they swear is the image of the original Madonna, the one that
drops to its knees and faces Mecca five times a day, or faces toward
Jerusalem every Friday night to welcome the bride of Shabbat. More
Nanotech arrogance will meet the Luddite hammer