Elizabeth Barrette (ysabetwordsmith) wrote,
Elizabeth Barrette
ysabetwordsmith

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Poem: "The Arc of the Mental Universe"

This poem was the linkback perk for the September 3, 2019 Poetry Fishbowl, originally hosted by Dreamwidth user Dialecticdreamer.  It came out of the August 6, 2019 Poetry Fishbowl. It was inspired by a prompt from zianuray. This poem also fills the "intense" square in my 8-2-19 card for the End of Summer Bingo fest.


The Arc of the Mental Universe


Intelligence has its foundation in science,
but that is only the beginning.

We can speak of carbon and oxygen,
describe the formation of a planet,
and trace the lines of evolution.

We can follow the hominids
as they descended from trees
to walk upright and make tools.

We can gaze through the water
at whales and dolphins, and wonder.

But we cannot know what struck
the spark that brought these minds to life.

That answer lies beyond science,
somewhere in the realm of spirit,
or perhaps even magic.

The ineffable is intense,
sometimes overwhelming.

So we set it aside.
We study other things.

We build computers and
program them to think
almost as well as a human.

We tinker with quantum mechanics
and come to the edge of what can be known,
staring wistfully across a gap and

my god, it's full of stars.

As our computers and programs
grow ever more complex, we try
to number the neurons in the brain
and wonder how much complexity is
necessary in order to catch that spark.

We don't know that either,
yet we do know this:

The arc of the mental universe is long,
but it bends toward wisdom.

* * *

Notes:

"Let us realize the arc of the moral universe is long but it bends toward justice."
Martin Luther King Jr.

Tags: cyberfunded creativity, fishbowl, poem, poetry, reading, science, science fiction, weblit, writing
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