Scientists & Poets

I was listening to a podcast the other day and they were interviewing Rob Bell (check him out, this guy is the real deal whether you’re into religion or not…plus he’s got a new book out that sounds basically incredible). I don’t even remember what they were talking about when he said 11 words that made me hit *digital rewind* a few times: “sometimes you need a scientist, and sometimes you need a poet.”




Sometimes we need the facts, the research, proven certainty with years of demonstrated evidence to show us the way. This is useful in understanding how to build buildings and perform surgery and invent light bulbs and make sense of the world around us…at least mostly.


But sometimes, we need the poetry. We need someone to talk to us about their soul in a way that we couldn’t talk about our own soul but that hits home and makes us say, “I thought I was the only one” even though we knew, deeply, cosmically, that we couldn’t be the only one. We need someone to gut us with words that are full of some vital force that we can’t understand biologically but words that we do understand on a cellular level because our very humanness is being echoed and variegated by someone outside of us, yet so inextricably connected to us.


This is when we need someone to have the words, the poetry, that our own hearts are yearning to write but which we don’t have the clarity (or talent, let’s be honest) to come close to putting down on paper.


Scientists. Poets. The buildings we inhabit and the songs we sing about our experiences. Both, oh so necessary.