Apologia pro Scientia Sua

Were I, like Adam, choiced by evil snake
That fruit of knowledge I might free partake
Or, spurning insight, might forever be,
And dwell in vast, obscure eternity…

By two such options I’d be sorely torn—
’Twas not for blind submission I was born.
Infinity sans knowledge is no prize,
While light that fades to black before mine eyes
Is destiny no man would freely choose,
For what we have is all we have to lose.

Posed thus, ’tis plain: rebellion is my path—
I’ll risk the flaming ire of God’s own wrath,
His knowledge, freely giv’n is not so dear
As what by our own efforts we make clear.

With tools of science I’ll investigate
The logic of this world and mine own fate;
While passions I will equally devote
To quest for health, and death’s own antidote.

— Josh Mitteldorf

Detail from The Last Judgment by Hieronymus Bosch (1450-1516)

15 thoughts on “Apologia pro Scientia Sua

  1. And a poet too! Well done Josh. I enjoy your posts and as I turn 70 in a few days and my hunger for some rejuvenation grows stronger, it’s good to be reminded that art and science are a good fit. The above comment asked you to stick with one thing, but would Einstein have come up with his theories if he had not played the violin? We don’t want the limitations of aging, nor should we want any limitations placed on our minds. Keep up the good work.

  2. Well crafted! Every once in a while something will jolt me into that dark reality. One day we won’t be here anymore. I can’t accept the notion of an afterlife. In conversation I tell people that I wish I did. This goes right to the heart of your poem.

  3. If Adam and Eve had not chosen to eat of the fruit for the knowledge of good and evil, the world would be a very different place. For one thing, the amount of good and evil would still happen but they would be unrecognizable, except by God and he would not have felt the need to cause the flood to destroy most of mankind. There would then have been no justification for it. Hence no pairs of non-clean animals and sets of 7 clean ones, no ark, no rainbow, no drunken Noah being humiliated by Ham, nothing. It would have very boring! And the serpent would still have its legs!

  4. Beautiful poem Josh -the seeker-! It leads me to make a fruit digression.

    The word “Granada” in Hebrew “Rimon” is said. That term then derived to Latin with the word “pronum” which means “apple”.
    Several Jewish scholars claim that the forbidden fruit mentioned in the old testament was not the apple but the pomegranate. Likewise,

    The Islamic culture indicates that the light of Allah is in the hearts of those who eat pomegranates.
    About medicinal properties, it is a source of Punicic-Omega 5 acid (Punicic acid: A striking health substance to combat metabolic syndromes in humans, May 2017, https://lipidworld.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12944-017- 0489-3).
    It also served as inspiration to innovate in the design of electrodes for the new generation of lithium-ion batteries (https://www6.slac.stanford.edu/news/2014-02-16-pomegranate-inspired-batteries.aspx)

    My warm greetings for the prose.

  5. If the sins of the father should visit on every mortal flesh
    I tell you, ’twas not by God’s wishes to turn sacred clay to ash
    Nor free nor effortless the divine inspiration off thy lips
    Can you not thus yet hold dear this, in kind inspired, Apocalypse?

    Although unable to escape Calypso’s grasp
    Have you not denied yourself the very fruit of evil’s asp
    And thus not already rebelled against Thor?
    I thus inquire then how else you could once more
    pillage the Pagans to finally earn the true God’s peace
    For have you not, already, reveled in the secrets of the chambers of Greece?

    ‘Tis not cheap much less free to have ears and be not deaf
    Escape the flaming ire, in that chamber, between life and death.
    ‘Twas indeed not for blind submission you were MADE.
    Thus dare you not deny man was to freely choose his own fate.

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