Night has fallen on the mountain village of Megalo Papingo. The quiet village is drawn to the hustle of the church square where Nikos Matsopoulos is preparing his presentation on Space as the cold slowly starts to creep in. “What is science? It is the intellectual and practical activity encompassing the systematic study of the structure and behaviour of the physical and natural world through observation and experiment.”
What struck me so much about the presentation was the juxtapositions of Brecht’s, ‘Life of Galileo’ and our current day world. I believe that one of the running themes in the play is societies rejection of truth and our fear of it. We often do not accept the things we cannot understand. It took humankind 2,500 years to realize that stars were Sun’s just like ours. All with interesting and unique qualities, masses and sizes.
Yet that dated truth was eradicated due to our quench for knowledge and answers. I once heard the quote: “Once people have made up their minds, people are good at ignoring evidence that contradicts their understanding”. We see this in Galileo when the crowds of both educated and non educated would much rather believe that planets are in crystal spheres but this contradicts Galileo’s observation and experiments. We also see this today with global warming and the non-believers despite hard evidence that CO2 causes the temperatures on the globe to rise. It leads me to the universal belief that truth is not something all seek. It takes bravery to learn the truth about ourselves and something as large as the universe. The truth is often much more complicated than the simplified ‘truth’ and so people turn their backs.
What does it mean for a huge belief to be shattered? Are we capable of going on after that? Nikos concludes by saying that, “There are still many unanswered questions. Such as why the universe is still expanding or what instigated the big bang. We don’t know these things. Just remember that we all live in something amazing and violent where the game of life and death is a regular occurrence. We have this incredible potential to be better and to evolve. One thing to be proud of is our ability to pose questions and look for answers – to learn.” The end of the presentation is met with applause as hands fly up for questions. I left feeling as though we as humankind have come so far yet we have so far to go and will always have that journey to endure. We must strive for answers to help understand our world and the meaning of life itself. It cannot go untested. Just as Galileo strove for truth, so will we in our devised performance.