There are some strange, mindbending qualities of this universe of ours. It’s populated by paradoxes that we’d do better to approach with humility, rather than unearned arrogance. This, at least, is the thesis Dr. E. Andrew Boyd presents in his 2017 book Beyond Comprehension. Dr. Boyd is an MIT-trained professor who teaches at both Texas A&M and the University of Houston. The above video is a talk Dr. Boyd gave in 2011, which contains the core concept of his book. That there are, in his words, “real things in our world that humans can’t comprehend.” These aren’t things we haven’t yet learned – but concepts and ideas that our minds are simply incapable of ever grasping. It’s refreshing to hear Dr. Boyd’s perspective. Many in the sciences are hesitant to bring attention to these strange contradictions where the finite and the infinite clash. Maybe they know from experience that others are all too quick to rush in with gap-filling theories of their own. “Zeus did it! Jesus did it! No one did it!” These explanations are all equally (un)founded in the face of the unknown. But perhaps we can learn to sit back when we’re confronted with what we don’t understand. After all, we should be grateful we’ve gotten this far, and have learned this much about our inexplicable universe. And with no guarantee we’ll ever understand it completely, it’s okay to acknowledge our limitations: to marvel and wonder at it all. Dr. Boyd will speak this Sunday, 11am at the Spiderhouse Ballroom. I hope to see you there!
This review originally appeared in the Austin School of Film’s recommendations blog, MIX/VHS. Check out the full post here!