The Best American Science and Nature Writing (2018)]
In “Astonish Me: Anticipating an Eclipse in the Age of Information,” Susannah Felt meditates on the looming eclipse and the meaning behind it. She compares the difference in preparation for eclipse saying that while people in this millennium celebrate by throwing viewing parties and selling T-shirts, “centuries ago, a total eclipse was cause for panic, a sign of doom—or a moment of great discovery” (246).
Felt focuses on how with information provided by science, society’s view of the world shifts while also diminishing the wonder and fear attached to discovery and surprise. For Felt, tracking the exact moment of an eclipse and breaking it down into our science feels like “a hubristic offense” (246). Felt uses the article to question the best way to restore “some measure of its power and surprise,” in a world where information is often at everyone’s fingertips.
In one word, what's one useful idea or way of thinking did you gain by reading the article? Why is that word or concept important to you as a result of what you read?