(Cross-posted from Commonplace)
A man may interpret the real world in a variety of ways. He may devote particular attention--intense scientific investigation--to certain facets of that world, and the knowledge he acquires then casts its own special light on the remaining portions of the world, those not considered in his priority-setting research. If first he diligently takes up mechanics, he will fashion for himself a mechanical model of the world and will see the Universe as a gigantic and perfect clock that in its inexorable movement proceeds from the past to a precisely determined future. This model is not an accurate representation of reality, and yet one can make use of it for a period of time historically long, and with it can even achieve many practical successes--the building of machines, implements, etc.