Tower of Babel: Best is an Asymptote

Anyone well-acquainted with encouragement would have often spoken or heard the phrase “Do your best.”. Having read books like The Genius in All of Us by David Shenk, I used to believe in a more exhausting version of the Growth mindset, that I am limited only by my imagination and the amount of effort I am willing to exert. I believed that the reason for my edge in academics was due to good foundation set during kindergarten days. I believed my drastic improvement in running was due to my own determination and belief that I could. I believed that with practice, I could achieve anything, that hard work always paid the same salary to each of its employees. Therefore, I was convinced I had never gone all out because I have never passed out at the finish line. These beliefs of mine were hardly delusional, they were very much scientifically proven, I just forgot details that add another dimension to my story. It was not by my own effort that I was born into a family that prioritises education, neither was it the effort that gave me belief in myself. I was blessed with the chance to strike at these lotteries.

Losing control instills fear. Accepting God’s power means acknowledging that we are vulnerable. It means that I can sacrifice my favourite foods and activities and live the healthiest lifestyle and still have my cells divide uncontrallably against my will, giving me cancer. I can study for every single day in my life but this data can be wiped overnight by dementia or an accidental blow to the head. I can go under the knife a thousand times to look like a goddess and have the world’s perception of beauty shift, leaving me again ‘imperfect’. Camouflaged as a chink in my perfection is His difficult-to-accept love. By admitting that I am weak, I need not feel bad about the sleep I got during finals week, I need not blame myself for falling after being shoved during a race, I now know that I have a circle of control, and that some things are simply beyond my reach.

Undoubtedly, humans are destined to do great things, but not alone. Everything we achieve is God’s grace reporting for work.

With various scientific breakthroughs over the centuries, it is tempting to believe in the word ‘limitless’. Lucrative industries are destroying Mother Earth and her inhabitants? Oh you know, one day science will find safer and more environmental-friendly alternatives, for now, patience is a virtue. People are dying due to lack of medical attention? One day science will invent the antidote to your illness, science will find cheaper and more affordable modes of surgery, science will. Science always will.

How can science be the magical solution to everything when science does not even believe in magic? Discoveries in science are not guaranteed. In fact, they are ingeniously called discoveries because we are merely opening our own eyes to what was always there, and if the solution to our problems do not lie in science, they do not lie in science.

Sometimes they do. But other times we need to take a step back and uncover the root of the problem, often lying in human greed which blinds us from the plight of others. Excessive trees being felled mean landslides threatening the lives of those living nearby and global warming destroying the earth, yet some are unwilling to give up their beautiful wood furniture, or plot of land to build their 5th new vacation home to salvage the situation. While science is attempting plastic trees that can provide us with both our comfort and help for those suffering from our actions, we could make a change if we allow our collective conscience to lead us into boycotting products that fell trees unnecessarily. Progress is nothing but illusion because humanity has regressed as we are now able to push all responsibility onto limitless science.

Best is an asymptote. Since the best we can do will never be the best, why sacrifice to achieve the unachievable? Why don’t we simply pick the easy way out, which is to continue believing in our own version of the Tower of Bable and change nothing? Why should we attempt to push closer and closer to the best if it is a waste of time?

To these doubts, we should clearly keep in mind that the pursuit of science is to better understand and examplify God’s love.

Hopefully this is not a digressive post. Not too sure what to tag it as. There is so much to be shared that it is hard to find a common topic that will cover them all but I really enjoyed having this as food for thought and I figured it was one of those things that were a pity left unshared 🙂 I’m not stating my post as a fact, it is just my personal opinion. There’s more from the reading I did today but till next time.


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