LET THERE BE LIGHT(11/02/2007)
Aquest article no està traduït al català; es mostra la seva versió en anglès
On alternative science
(CATALONIA TODAY – SECTION: LONG-TERM RESIDENT - ARTICLE FORTY-ONE)
In last week's issue of 'El Temps' magazine, the Valencian philosopher, historian, novelist and translator of Dante, Joan Francesc Mira, expressed his flabbergastedness at the fact that in France, the very country which had ushered in the Enlightenment, the industries generated by what is now called 'alternative science' shifted a mind-numbing 4,500 million euros in 2006.
His surprise surprised me. Ever since the 1970s, huge numbers of apparently rational Europeans - who know, for example, that the little person reading the television news doesn't actually live in the set - have sworn to the efficacy of aromatherapy, numerology and other such wistful beliefs, not to mention that most respectable of quack scams, homeopathy.
The Catalans, of course, are no exception. There is barely a town in the country which doesn't boast a shop that deals in toy pyramids, magnetic bangles and a host of books on every non-existent subject under the sun, from Neo-Theosophy to the Blank Rune Controversy.
I, too, used to swallow such pigswill. Hey, I was young. I longed to know more than was good for me about my health, my love life, and in which decade I might publish my first book, so I turned to the army of charlatans that was itching to help. This meant that for a while I seriously believed that real effects could have seemingly impossible causes. It was only later I realised that once you throw common sense out of the window, you can end up believing all kinds of dangerous garbage. Many of the neo-Nazis who are on the ascendant everywhere in Europe are also vocal defenders of 'alternative science'; taking their cue, I suppose, from their beloved Hitler, who, before setting in motion the murder of millions, checked with his astrologist first.