From the Editor; March 2010; Scientific American Magazine; by Mariette DiChristina; 1 Page(s)
“Every man takes the limits of his own field of vision for the limits of the world.”
—Arthur Schopenhauer, Studies in Pessimism
Riding in a Manhattan subway car the other morning, I read that quote by 19th-century German philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer on one of the transit authority’s “Train of Thought” posters. It amused me that I had actually gone underground to see the light. That is, Schopenhauer’s words captured clearly what I had been only vaguely mulling about some of this issue’s major features and what they represent: the utility of looking at an area of science anew by coming at it from a different perspective. In this, I realize, I am hardly the first person to notice that when attempting to solve a problem, changing your physical vantage point or mental framework can loft you past perceived limits. In some cases, it can be difficult to recognize evidence that may be right before your eyes because you fail to appreciate it for what it is.