Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Read: "We Need to Stop Lying To Our Children"...An Interview With Anne Druyan

Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey will premiere Sunday, March 9, 2014 (9/10pm ET/PT) on FOX.

  Sagan’s original creative collaborators—writer/executive producer Ann Druyan and astronomer Steven Soter—have teamed with Seth MacFarlane (Family Guy, American Dad) to conceive a 13-part series that will serve as a successor to the Emmy Award- and Peabody Award-winning original series.

Anne Druyan was Carl Sagan's wife for 20 years, until then end of his life. I hope you will read the entire interview which took place in 2007 during the worst of the Bush years as America continued to erupt in a fatalistic tribalism that pits the right against the left with no one in the middle. Druyan sees the problem from a realist's perspective; It is not this person or that person, it is the failure of our society to embrace a fact and critical thinking based method to solve our problems. This is an excerpt that boils it down, but I hope you will read the entire interview and think about it.


 To begin, we need to stop lying to our children and start speaking honestly about the things we don’t know, and the things that remain a mystery to us. I think we need to be honest with our children that we die, that life is finite not infinite, and that this is it and it is really precious. If we did that maybe people would treat life as being something prized instead of as something that can be taken without concern. Also, we need a new curriculum for science and it should be like this: when children first come to school, in preschool or kindergarten, I think the teachers should take them aside and welcome them to join the generations of searchers, to induct them into the great wonders and mysteries of science as a way of seeing everything. Not 20 or 40 minutes of boredom a few times a week, but as a way of seeing everything. They should teach critical thinking to the smallest children as a type of keys to the kingdom. We should teach the story of the history of science— of the courageous men and women who have given us this precious knowledge—in a way that gives full expression to the romance and valor and imagination that was involved. And I think if we were to do that, I think it would be possible that we would not be a schizophrenic society: completely dependent on science and high technology, yet completely fearful and mistrusting of it.
Carl Sagan speaking
SKEPTIC: On your first point about lying to our children, are you talking about religion?
DRUYAN: No, I am talking about everything. Children want to know about death, and I think we lie about death, and I think that is a very damaging thing in the long run. It dooms them to a perpetual infantilism. I think our present attitude is an expression of a lack of confidence in our children: that this reality is too unbearable for them to be able to deal with. Actually, I think it is all the more unbearable because we lie so much about it. If we were truthful about it, then not only might it be less unbearable, but also it might be possible to live more fully than I think we are able to do with this burden of dishonesty.

Read it all!

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