Tuesday, May 18, 2010


Between our birth and death we may touch understanding,
As a moth brushes a window with its wing.

                            ~ Christopher Fry

Skeptic: In your speech the other night you said that the perceptual systems of animals represent the world as their near, or possibly even far, ancestors constructed them based upon natural selection. Can the world evolve faster than the sensory systems of the animals? Are many animals living today in a sensory world that no longer exists, as when the moth flies into the candle flame?

Dawkins: When a moth flies into a candle flame presumably it is responding to the candle flame as if were a celestial object at optical infinity and acting appropriately to that situation, not the one it is in fact currently facing. It frequently happens that the real world evolves faster than an animal's cognitive map of it.

Skeptic: Does that ever happen to human beings?

Dawkins: Human beings are completely surrounded by the equivalent of "candle flames."'

from here>>


aneri_masi said...

I LOVE this one!

Owen said...

So now I know why I was feeling hemmed in and surrounded... the candle flames.

I would say for sure we are flying into our own self-created candle flames, faster than we know...

Love your drawing too... is that the candle flame we can see through the translucent wings ?

So how do we put the candles out ?

pRiyA said...

Hi Owen, you are one of the few people who actually READS what is written here. Thank you for that :)

If they haven't been self created, then the candle flames have been passed from generation to generation. It is imperative to find the truth (since I quote Dawkins, you've probably guessed the subject I'm referring to) and learn to think and act for oneself (easier said than done). Hopefully that might go someway in steering one away from candle flames which will always be around.

megha punater said...

agree with owen about the candle flames we create ourselves and with you too about when they haven't been self created ............. but is it bad to burn once in a while cause that burning can destroy you but it can also bring you closer to the truth.
i hope i am still with you on this topic

pRiyA said...

Megha, I believe arriving closer to the truth never destroys, it liberates. You are destroyed when you are sucked in (by the candle flames).
The book which explains the moth and the candle flame analogy is The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins. I recommend it.

pRiyA said...

ps: The Moth and the Candle analogy does not refer to life in general but religion in particular.

megha punater said...

so i gathered, will get my hands on the book.