Blinded by our science?

by Tibor Hartel

Yesterday I suddenly noticed something which was always very obvious in Romanian rural landscapes: a horse with so called ‘horse glasses’. People sometimes put these glasses on the horses to limit their range of view, and make them ‘more collaborative’, and it looks like this:

Only yesterday I started to smile when I saw this. Because suddenly I recognized myself in that horse. My glasses with the very same effect were put on me by my culture and by my scientific training. I often feel that I dont see and cannot approach the reality because of my own knowledge which is ‘standardized’ and scientific. Do you feel the same sometimes? Like your (conservation scientist or other type of…) knowledge, like a wall or fortification prevents you from seeing, valuing and accepting the reality? If yes, please let me know at least I know I am not alone:)

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2 thoughts on “Blinded by our science?

  1. I would say even more…. we are exactly like the horse above! We do a hard work, we are confined to specific routes (methodology), put hands on what we do and we often get trivial results which we blindly try to sell to our colleagues!
    Best wishes from Poland,
    Piotr Skorka

  2. Thanks Piotr! Probably it is inevitable to have some kind of glass, because this may mean also that we have some logic and structure in our thinking. But when the need request, then we need to have the brave take the glass down and look around, and if the conditions request, teplace these glasses with others. I see that the current conservation biology is like a blinded horse which go clearly in a path determined by past mental models. I admit that the words ‘inter-‘ and ‘transdisciplinatiry’ become more widely used – these may suggest that it is a glass replacement as well, or at leas some of us recognize that we need to go beyond our discipline to be more efficient in addressing real world problems.

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