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The Limits of Knowledge

I think in many ways, I'm still reeling from the loss of my most regular outlet,, as a freelancer. I now spend my days picking up odd jobs and trying to pitch to a few outlets, though my work is much fewer and farther between than it was just a few months ago. Freelancing is hard. Pitching is especially difficult; when your idea gets rejected you feel like its a personal blow to your ego and that you'll never have another good idea again. I know that's not true, but the emotional core inside me doesn't.

I'm also writing a book. A science-fiction novel. People always ask what it's about but that's kind of a hard question for me. Do you mean the plot? The themes? What I'm trying to accomplish? None of those are easy to answer.

The plot is convoluted and weird. My themes are still revealing themselves to me. But I guess I know at this point what I'm trying to accomplish: I want to present a case of something that science should in principle be able to understand but in actuality probably can't—namely, extraterrestrial intelligence. I love science, but loving it also means recognizing its limits and the things it can't actually do. I don't know whether or not science will one day help us understand another species, but I suspect that it will be far more difficult than most believe currently believe. This piece, one of the last I published at, presents the thesis statement for my book; that we would do well to remember both our understanding and our ignorance at the same time.

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