Nature - The Source of Wonder
What's this all about?
Down through the ages, Man has gained wonder and inspiration from observing the natural world around us. The ability to observe has been hindered to a large extent by the limitations of our 5 senses, i.e., Sight, Sound, Touch, Smell and Taste.
Predominantly Sight. What we could see had a huge bearing on our understanding of what we observed. The macroscopic dictated our conclusions about the object we were observing. Until recent centuries, when the magnifying glass microscope became available, we could not peer down into the depths of detail which would inform us further, and with more accuracy.
This especially was true of our understanding of the human body. The nature of our skin; the blood; our eyes; our brain; the true nature of hair and fur. Also the mechanisms of sexual reproduction; what brought about the creation of a baby. Disease processes became understood. Microscopic parasites became known.
Effects on our social interactions Consider our current-day understanding of the reproductive process. Today, we know that there is both an ovum (the female egg) and the spermatozoa (the male "seed") contributing to the embryo which ultimately becomes the young child. Before this knowledge came about, there could be no knowledge of the ovum even existing. You could barely see it with the naked eye, even if you were allowed morally to get close enough to the female insides to have a look. It was obvious to the eye that something came out of the male's penis, and this went into the female and somehow got incubated in there. It was believed that a spirit, the Wonder of God, gave life to that semen. (Understandably that is still accepted to be the case today, of course.) That there might be a biological contribution by the mother was not even considered, I suppose.
So, we can see that the microscope has allowed science to educate us much more deeply. There are probable many more examples of this which you might be able to think of. It shows you the magnitude of importance which can be given to scientific understanding. It can change society's attitude over time.
I have taken a few photographs, just on my doorstep so-to-speak, to show you a couple of examples where you can obtain a new understanding and a new sense of wonder.
The first pictures are close-ups of the aquatic fern, Azolla filiculoides, which is mentioned in my previous hub about cleaning up grey water. The fern is so small we tend to only observe it as a green/pink mass on the water surface - and leave it at that. Yet, shown close-up, it has a beauty of its own.
The second set of pictures show the annoying little burrs which get caught on our trousers and socks when walking through grassy areas and woodlands. You might think the burrs get stuck on you because the tips are a bit like Velcro fastening tape - little turned-over hooks. Yet, have a close look: beautifully designed, backward-facing barbs! No wonder they are so difficult to remove from our clothing! What is the purpose of this? Well, each set of barbs is attached to one seed. It gives the plant an enormous potential for spreading it's genes far and wide, on the fur of an animal.
I bought myself a little digital microscope, from Kaiser Baas, the other week. It's a great source of fun and inspiration. Maybe someone will get some artistic ideas from this little Hub. Hope so. Wishing you success.
A spider observed in the mulch, on the floor of the forest. Mundane? Maybe, on first impressions. However, when a photograph was taken with my cell phone (HTC Wildfire), using an Australian 20-cent coin as a measurement guide, it was a very reasonable photo.
Little Miss Muffet's Friend
That photo could then be cropped and the spider displayed thus, below. In fact zooming in on the camera gives a much more detailed picture. If you used something like Bluetooth, from a LAPTOP computer directly into the students' cell-phones, that would be a great way to use modern technology.
Further Insights of Beauty
More by this Author
A small-scale biological method of treating grey water, using a symbiotic mixture of Azolla filiculoides, Wollfia borealis, Lemna minor and Spirogyra.
Local biological materials for filtration of grey water
Small scale domestic treatment of grey water, keeping it simple, using nature as a teacher and resource. On-going experiment, basic science but without collegial input so far.