Most of our modern world comes from the rocks and minerals we pull from the Earth. Our ancestors started this tradition about 2.6 million years ago when they learned to fashion the first tools from sharpened rocks. We simply didn’t have strong enough claws to protect ourselves from the likes of saber-toothed tiger, so we needed to get smart to survive. As our brains grew, so did our science and tool making skills.
Our brains evolved greater complexity to survive, but with that added complexity our ability to appreciate each other and the world around us also evolved. The archeological record illustrating how our sense of appreciation grew with the complexity of our brains is sketchy; we can see the earliest indicators in cave sketches which first appeared 32,000 years ago. This appreciation was also sketched 500 years ago by Leonardo Da Vinci’s who captured the realistic human form. And in modern times we see it everywhere on the Internet with illustrations like the Martian Rover.
Now we use our tool making skills to survive at the deepest depths of the oceans, to climb the highest mountains and even to launch robots onto other worlds that run around and look for signs of alien life. Man is a remarkable creature and we can attribute our major advancements to our tool making skills, which follows the growth of our brain and our scientific process to harness our brain.
The scientific process helps us to gain an objective understanding of nature using techniques like observation, experimentation and mathematical equations. These techniques provide measurable evidence to test that hypothesis about some phenomenon is either true or false. Then from those results scientist develop new hypothesis, and thus through trial and error man’s knowledge is advanced.
Advancements are wonderful, but alone they are also meaningless. Mankind doesn’t gain a sense of meaning from our tools, we gain it from the experiences we feel while using those tools. For example, owning a set of skis isn’t the same thing as the thrill we feel from skiing down a slope of newly falling snow on a frosty winter day. The experience is fully subversive; it touches all our senses and appeals to our whole being.
Science can’t touch the meaningfulness of life, because it isn’t found in science. The meaningfulness of life it isn’t in the archeological record, it isn’t in the great works of art, nor is it going to be found on a distant world by one of man’s robots. Each of us finds the meaning of life in our subjective experience of being alive, it comes when we feel fully submersed in the moment. And to each of us that meaning is different and to each of us that meaning is correct.