Inchworm, Inchworm, Measuring the Marigolds, Seems to me you'd stop and see, How beautiful they are. —Frank Loesser, "The Inch Worm", from the musical Hans Christian Andersen
It's a somewhat popular opinion that those who analyze things for a living are boring and see life as numbers instead of an amazing thing. Opponents of certain types of sciences are quick to say that this is the result of trying to know too much, a reduction of the divine to the mundane. Or it's simply because Everybody Hates Mathematics, thus adding mathematics to every natural phenomenon interferes with beauty.
Of course, in Real Life — despite the somewhat popular opinion that those who analyze things for a living are boring, stilted, unemotional, and closed minded — most mathematicians and scientists would be quick to correct such assumptions, saying that discovery and understanding doesn't remove any magic from the equation for them; in fact, one still can love the beautiful qualities of a rainbow while knowing why they happen, but you also have the additional awe in knowing what a complex and delicate interplay of factors allows it to exist. Discovery and learning, in short, chasing after the ever elusive "why?", can bring their own magic. Indeed, many mathematicians and scientists themselves dabble in the creative arts. Scientific inventions even brought us awesome things.
The scientifically-minded will often find the train of thought leading to the idea of 'knowledge dismissing appreciation' to be a misunderstanding, so powerfully does it fly in the face of their own experience. Also, it is even possible for two intellectuals to be aroused by such discussions of knowledge.
It's not so in fiction. Characters like this are usually boring, emotionless, and almost-hostile against any show of emotion for such "trivial things" as rainbows, starlight, and the Aurora Borealis and often try to convince others to see their way of thinking.
This is a major gripe that Romanticism has against Enlightenment. Related to Straw Vulcan, Hollywood Atheist, and Mother Nature, Father Science, since this kind of character is almost Always Male. One manifestation of this is Don't Explain the Joke. Compare Centipede's Dilemma. According to the scientifically-minded, this Trope is basically Complaining about Shows You Don't Watch. Has nothing to do with the Otaku Surrogate character from Questionable Content.
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Edward Elric from Fullmetal Alchemist would launch into a speech like this every single time anyone said anything romantic. He used it to justify his anti-god stance in the first story arc, anyway. 'Alchemists are scientists, so we don't believe in vague things like God. And he hates me, incidentally.' Can be quite the romantic himself, actually, but seems to fancy the pose of being this.
Taken to one extreme in the final chapter/episode, where Ed somehow manages to turn a marriage proposal into a discussion about the properties of alchemy, which Winry lampshades by calling him out on.
Of course, after she calls him out, Winry follows up by backtracking and recalculating the exact percentage of her life that she'd like to give back to Ed.
He also manages to subvert this trope; immediately after a baby is born, his reaction is to scream "That's awesome! LIFE IS AWESOME!!!,".
Also played straight in one of the omake.
Mei Chan: Birds are so lucky...they can fly wherever they want, I wish I could be a bird.
Edward: A bird? That's lame. If you were a bird, you'd have flimsy hollow bones, and your brain would be the size of a pea. Not to mention the fact that you would be constantly crapping in mid-air to keep your weight down. Why would you want to be an animal like that?
Mei Chan: Mr. Edward, you're not very popular with girls, are you?
Edward: That's ridiculous! How could an intellectual like me not be popular!
One Fantastic Four story had a villain steal not the intelligence, but the creativity of Reed Richards, who is regarded as one of the most intelligent men in the Marvel Universe. He found himself shocked to discover that he couldn't even stare at a flower without being hit by the sheer sense of wonder Richards feels at the existence of all things!
Dr. Manhattan of Watchmen, though it's only partial. He finds wonder in such miracles as the bonding of atoms and the formation of mountains and continents, but doesn't hold any regard for life itself (mostly because he thinks he knows everything life has to offer). In fact, he only starts to love life again when he analyzes just how completely and utterly improbable (to the point of it almost being a statistical impossibility) daily life is.
Dan Dreiburg, AKA Nite Owl II, mentions this effect in passing in one of the supplemental pieces. He found he was losing his awe for owls in studying them, until a chance encounter with a hunting owl brought his fascination back.
Krona is in love with this trope. Coupled with his trademark impatience, it has led him to stumble on disaster after disaster because, unlike the aversions below, he insists on quantifying and qualifying everything, and is especially devoted to having a meaningful conversation with the sentience of the universe. The few times he's granted his wish, he is chided for his simplistic approach and rebuffed for his ignorance.
Sherlock Holmes is a perfect example of this. He was always complaining about how Watson kept writing the adventures in a dramatic fashion rather than focusing on the meaningful facts. Which was rather hypocritical of him, since in "The Valley of Fear' he laid a trap for the villain and kept his associates in the dark about what he was doing specifically because it was more dramatic that way.
Holmes does admit, in The Lion's Mane, that Watson's storytelling is needed to fully engage the reader's interest rather than a straightforward depiction of cold facts.
Depending on his portrayal, he's sometimes a subversion as well. For instance, in the films staring Robert Downey, Jr., he's shown to be doing the Sherlock Scan at all times instinctively, not even trying. He's also shown to be enraptured by the sciences (especially forensics) and CAN see and enjoy the beauty in the world around him. He just likes reducing it to the bare facts to tweak those around him, especially Watson.
Of course, he's that in the book too. The first time Watson met Holmes in A Study in Scarlet, he was in the middle of a ecstatic nerdgasm as having just managed to invented (the ancestor of) luminol.
The character Dee Dee Six in the Philip Ridley book Mighty Fizz Chilla is like this. At one point she says things like food don't matter to her beyond nutritional value - she could eat a banquet or take some vitamin pills and it would be the same to her.
Mark Twain once wrote an essay "Two Ways of Seeing a River" devoted to this very trope. Read it here.
Homo Faber, the well-known novel by Max Frisch, has exactly this type of guy as the protagonist-narrator.
In Discworld the Auditors fall into this whenever they're not trying to destroy things because they can't be measured using numbers. At one point they attempted to understand art by reducing a painting to powder and sifting through to find the bit of it that was the art.
In Small Gods, Brutha is shown some color illustrations of plant life at the Library of Ephebe, in a book about the useful qualities of plants. Deeply moved by the images, he remarks "they're beautiful...", and the fellow who's showing him the book replies that that's one use the book's author had entirely overlooked.
...Do not all charms fly At the mere touch of cold philosophy? There was an awful rainbow once in heaven: We know her woof, her texture; she is given In the dull catalogue of common things. Philosophy will clip an Angel's wings, Conquer all mysteries by rule and line, Empty the haunted air, and gnomed mineó Unweave a rainbow...
Star Trek: The Original Series episode "This Side of Paradise". Mr. Spock has been affected by spores that release his emotional side. He and his love interest Leila Kalomi are looking at clouds.
Spock: That one looks like a dragon. You see the tail and the dorsal spines? Leila: I've never seen a dragon. Spock: I have. On Berengaria 7. But I've never stopped to look at clouds before. Or rainbows. I can tell you exactly why one appears in the sky, but considering its beauty has always been out of the question.
House (being essentially a Sherlock Holmesexpy) is frequently dismissive of human emotions and relationships. On the other hand he rides a motorcycle, takes a sadistic pleasure in artistic pranks, and does all sorts of other not-logical things. He doesn't look any happier, but they presumably do something for him.
A running theme on Scrubs involves the characters gradually becoming more and more jaded to the practice of medicine. For instance, when Turk is sued by a patient, Dr. Cox takes it upon himself to "crush his spirit," a process that culminates with Cox explaining to Turk and a roomful of sick children how a magician's "rabbit in the hat" trick works.
Reid has a habit of doing this on Criminal Minds. While he is excited about his scientific and statistical information he can bring to the current conversation, he usually sucks all the awe and emotion out of it for everyone else involved. Something of an inversion, since to him the details are as wondrous as the initial impression but everyone else sees it as dry and boring.
It's a bit of a running theme in Doctor Who- in fact, it's a lot of the reason that the Doctor takes human companions with him.
The Doctor: Because I can't see it any more. I'm 907. After a while, you just can't see it. Everything. I look at a star, and it's just a big ball of burning gas, and I know how it began, and I know how it ends, and I was probably there both times. Now, after a while, everything is just stuff. That's the problem, you make all of space and time your backyard and what do you have? A backyard. But you, you can see it, and when you see it, I see it.
But the heart of the problem is that TV Tropes takes good, challenging fiction and removes its identity as an individual piece of work. ... Nothing more quickly removes the fun and charm of something born from human emotion and creativity than to strip it down into cold and clinical statistics presented out of context.
On TV Tropes itself, complaints about research failure are usually put forward more because of a demand for accuracy rather than for intrinsic entertainment. Artistic License, Rule Of Cool/Rule of Fun/whatever, will often be dismissed as 'the easy way out', neglecting the fact that good fiction uses these tropes just as often as bad fiction. And, well, it is fictional - there's no prizes for getting every detail correct. They don't seem to get that Tropes Are Not Bad, and that we're here to celebrate popular fiction. Indeed, half of the Wiki is now Awesome Moments, Funny Moments, Heartwarming Moments and their kin, which is basically the internet's repository of stuff people like just because they like it.
However, this can also lead to problems with Willing Suspension of Disbelief from readers who are quite familiar with the reality; one author shares as part of explaining why research matters, the tale of having the ending of a werewolf horror story cause it to shatter for a reader who happened to know that an EMT would be better at treating the hero's injuries than a doctor at that point. The advice essentially is that knowingly picking your breaks from reality is good use of Artistic License.
I was just guessing at numbers and figures Pulling the puzzles apart Questions of science, science and progress Do not speak as loud as my heart
On a different level, many a music teacher has suggested to his or her pupils that they dedicate time to learn at least basic music theory, as it will help them write music. Nearly as many music teachers have been saddened to hear their students claim that they "don't want to learn a bunch of rules that [they] have to follow." This is incorrect, because it assumes that music theory is a set of rules that must be followed. When told that music theory is more a way to analyze the writing and composition of music, these pupils are usually dismissive, citing, to some degree or another, this trope. What's sad is that this has almost certainly held back the musical talents of possibly thousands of budding musicians.
Not that as usually presented, basic music theory doesn't contain a lot of rules to follow. But if you haven't heard of the rules, you've also never asked yourself questions such as: "Am I already following these rules? Should I be? What is each rule trying to prevent? How do people get away with breaking each rule?" Music theory is to writing music as a map is to wandering; you can still put it away and enjoy the scenery. Having one just helps you know if you're going in circles, and lets you reach places far enough away from your home that you wouldn't have stumbled upon them otherwise.
One B.C. character (probably Thor) neatly torpedoed his own chances of getting lucky by responding to a comment on the beauty of the moon rising by saying it's an illusion caused by the Earth's rotation. Cue him shouting at the retreating Cute Chick, "BUT IT IS STILL ROMANTIC, OH SOOOO ROMANTIC!" in a futile effort to recover the magic.
Referenced in the FoxTrot arc where Andy becomes obsessed with the film Titanic, to the point that Roger worries about her. Jason begins describing production trivia to her ("Did you know the scenes with everyone drowning were filmed in a heated indoor pool, and their foggy breath was added by computers?" and so on). Andy accuses Jason of trying to ruin her enjoyment of the film. The final panel has Jason telling Roger, "She's onto us. Do I still get paid?"
Of course, Changeling was also somewhat schizoidinconsistent on this point, as for every book that treated a slide rule as just as bad as cold iron, there was a source book where the nockers pointed out it was the moon landing that resulted in the biggest rush of Glamour most changelings had seen in their lifetimes, or a sample bogganaccountant who resisted Banality through his profession because he actually took joy in numbers.
Averted in the following quote from the Second Edition of Mage The Ascension, used to sum up the attitude of the Sons of Ether:
"The beauty of science is not that it answers all the questions, but that with every answer, more questions arise."
Then there's the Weaver in Werewolf The Apocalypse, a cosmic force which is associated with both technological progress and stasis. While it tends to be perceived as a lesser threat than the obvious Big Bad that is the Wyrm, many of the non-Glass Walker Garou continue to look down on things like cities or computers. Then it's further suggested that the origin of the entire Crapsack World can be traced back to the Weaver, since its imprisonment of the Wyrm was what drove it insane to begin with.
Early editions of Dungeons & Dragons had comparatively fewer rules than later editions for character actions other than combat and spellcasting. Back then if, say, you wanted to throw your drink in a villain's face to blind him, jump from a balcony, swing on a chandelier, somersault through the air, land on your feet, and run out of the room, your DM would have to figure out exactly how that would work - probably an attack roll with a small penalty, some Dexterity rolls, and a decision about whether you've generally played your character as a guy who would do that kind of thing. Now, your GM has extensive rules for how far you can jump, how for you can move, how much damage you take when you fall, what difficulty the Acrobatics check should be based on your level, oh, and if you don't have an attack power that blinds (or at least stuns or dazes) you can forget the drink-throwing having any useful effect. The new version makes everything much more standardized, predictable, easy to run, and fair, but many old-timers argue that the "rules instead of rulings" style of modern editions take all the heroism and excitement out of the game.
Of course, that's why 4th Edition also included a SPECIFIC list and a table, devoted to 'actions the rules don't cover'...So the GM can EASILY get a ruling for you doing that cool shit. (Especially "I want to swing from a chandelier and hit them!")
In Gunnerkrigg Court, the animals of Gillitie Wood think that of the Court scientists' study of magic.
Conversely, many Court scientists feel that refusing to even attempt to explain how things work is a disservice to the beauty of their complexity.
XKCD, while usually a strict inversion, plays the trope straight in this comic.
A number of Fundies Say The Darndest Things quotes question how scientifically minded people can feel love (whether towards a person, a concept or a deity) if they believe it to be a neurological process rather than metaphysical in nature; the usual response is that this knowledge doesn't change the way it feels.
Mr Deity accused Lucifer of this when she explained to him that Penn & Teller don't really have magic powers.
Amazo in Justice League. He started out as a blank-slate nanotechnology android capable of analyzing people to internally reproduce aspects of them. Lex Luthor manipulated him into doing his dirty work, and Amazo proved to be a serious threat because he could copy the powers of every superhero he encountered, then further evolve to become immune to their vulnerabilities. Eventually, he discovered Lex's manipulations, grew disillusioned, and left Earth, calling it insignificant. Some time later, after essentially evolving into a Physical God, he returned to Earth, creating massive panic among the Justice League, until it turned out he was struggling through an existential crisis, having obtained unimaginable power but not knowing what to do with it. Doctor Fate took him in, hoping to teach the android how to appreciate life and find a purpose for himself.
In Young Justice this is how Kid Flash is portrayed in the episode "Denial", constantly explaining away everything done with magic, with science.
Which is of course in the setting stupid, and a bad analogy to any people from our world with similar opinions, as magic is relatively common in the DCU, including the new version of Earth-16 where Young Justice takes place, and has proved itself repeatedly.
Kid Flash's perception is likely owed to the fact that the Flash family doesn't really have any magical villains, including Abra Kadabra who uses technological tricks to perform his seeming magic and was probably who Kid Flash had in mind when going through one of his diatribes (Klarion the Witch Boy, who is spying on the group, even asks Abra, "Isn't that how you perform your tricks?")
Dexter's Laboratory spent a whole episode on this ("Way of the Dee Dee") where Dee Dee showed Dexter the beauties and mysteries of life (in a humorous way) after she pointed out that Dexter was pretty much deprived of life in his laboratory: "Spoiled away, alone in the dark, searching the answers to questions nobody asks... locked away from the world, never to explore the true mysteries of life".
Velma in Scooby-Doo is very much this. In the second live action movie, she even stated that she only trusted the facts, and that finding out logical answers to problems was her true calling in life.
J. R. R. Tolkien, in a letter to a friend, once told what he claimed was an old joke about a German professor who "wrote a large book on Das Komische. After which, whenever anyone told him a funny story, he thought for a moment, and then nodded, saying: 'Yes, there is that joke'."
Learning a language usually changes the way you perceive it. If you liked how it sounded before, you might not like it anymore afterwards (and vice versa).
Famed biochemist Erwin Chargaff felt this way about science, heavily criticizing the direction in which it was going.
Ever see a cool magic trick? Some people find they are not that amusing when you figure out how they work.
Penn & Teller had a recent show, Fool Us, in the UK. It was a competition. P&T would sit in the audience and see a trick one time from the audience's point of view. They got no help. No special camera angles, no tapes to watch, and only one performance of the trick. If they could not figure out how your trick was done on a single viewing, you won a trip to Vegas and the right to open for them. The acts were all top notch, and yet maybe only one in six actually got past them. That did not stop them from taking almost childish joy in each performer's tricks.
Nathaniel Wyeth was a fascinating version of this trope. He came from a very artistically inclined family (son of N.C., brother of Andrew and Henriette), but as an engineer he was probably the family black sheep. Nonetheless, he was pretty good at it, eventually becoming the chief engineer of the DuPont company. (Among his inventions was PET, the plastic used in soda bottles.) True to his genes, he would speak eloquently about using equations the way Andrew uses brushes.
Subversions and Aversions:
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In Yotsuba&!!, Asagi shows Yotsuba that the tsukitsukiboushi making the onomatopoetic chirps heard in late-summer are cicadas, and not summer-ending fairies as she believed. Yotsuba, however is excited to learn something new, and eagerly spreads the word that cicadas are cicadas!
He's also like this in canon, although the example is played rather straighter there. Interestingly, in both incarnations, Ledah is deeply religious.
In the fanficThe Conflicts of Haruhi Suzumiya there is a scene where Ryoko is watching the rain, explaining all the ways she can analyse it. She ends with, "It's beautiful. The more I find out, the more I feel I can appreciate how special everything really is."
In The Science of Discworld, Stewart and Cohen use the example in the trope description; pointing out that understanding how rainbows work doesn't stop them being beautiful; it means you know why they're beautiful.
In fact Ian Stewart, like most mathematicians, uses the word "beautiful" a lot.
A particularly well-executed proof is often referred to as 'elegant'.
Mathematics, pure mathematics, is as much an art as it is a science. Theorems are astoundingly beautiful, if looked at the right way. The way high-school math is taught does not foster this perspective.
Another Discworld example might be Twoflower, who, according to Rincewind, "appreciates beauty in a different way. If he saw a daffodil, he would run off to fetch a book on botany, not realizing he had stepped on the daffodil."
There's a subtle aversion in The Wee Free Men. Tiffany muses that you can spend all day studying the many intricate parts and complexities of a simple flower—rather than thinking that this takes away the beauty in any way, she concludes that it's not practical to become utterly fascinated by the beauty when you have butter to churn.
In Breakfast of Champions, there's a scene where the author is attacked by a dog. Vonnegut spends two full pages on a ridiculously detailed and brilliantly dramatic explanation of what happens biochemically in his nervous system, body and brain from the time he sees the dog until he jumps over a car.
In the novelization of Buckaroo Banzai by Earl Max Rauch, Dr. Banzai is clearly a man who finds beauty in science and learning. An early passage states that his guiding principles in life are "The Five Stresses, The Four Beauties and the Three Loves". The Five Stresses(things which are to be stressed in life) are decorum, courtesy, public health, discipline and morals. The Four Beauties are Mind, Language, Behavior and Environment. The Three Loves are Love of Others, Love of Justice and Love of Freedom.
In an episode of Sliders, when an android explained to Wade why the sky is blue, and she found it romantic.
Charlie Eppes in NUMB3RS is a math genius who sees incredible and fascinating beauty in how mathematics helps describe the world.
Indeed, Charlie gets very emotional and passionate when talking about math. However, he also provides a straight example when it comes to magic. He does not enjoy magic shows, because he so easily comprehends how the tricks are done. His girlfriend, on the other hand (who is also a mathematician), loves magic, and lampshades this very Trope in pointing out that understanding how it's done doesn't have to detract from the enjoyment.
Carl Sagan's Cosmos is, in its entirety, a repudiation of this Trope. In fact, it might be seen as espousing the opposite - seeing as you are made of trillions of highly evolved cells equipped with ludicrously complex molecular machinery, the components of which, as well as nearly everything else, were made from the ashes of long-dead stars, that we can transcend time and death by reading... The most mundane events are suddenly much more profound and wonderful.
As Carl Sagan once said, it takes away nothing of the romance of a sunset if you know a bit about how it works.
As is Jacob Bronowski's The Ascent Of Man, described by Charlie Brooker as being like "taking a warm bath in University juice."
And Into The Universe with Stephen Hawking, a show on space and time that's framed as a peek into the titular physicist's mind. And it is gorgeous in there.
And the Swedes were lucky to have Peter Nilson, author and astronomer, who wrote beautifully about such things as the heat death of the universe, and didn't let his knowledge of acoustics spoil his love of music or of ecohistory spoil his love of the Swedish countryside - he wrote books on both, as well as science fiction novels.
Gil Grissom of original-recipe CSI: Crime Scene Investigation is a poster child for this. There's an episode where Catherine chides him for wanting to know how magic tricks work.
Inverted on Northern Exposure: Ed Chigliak, Magical Native American, artist, and bishonen, hates computers, until he realizes that ones and zeros are just like his people's view that the universe is made up of two things: Nothing, and everything.
Rarely explicitly stated, but in Big Bang Theory, the Nerds - even Sheldon on occasion - are amazed at the beauty and wonder that exists around them and quickly point out that there's amazing things that you wouldn't even know existed without the aid of science - Astronomy appears to be their poison of choice.
On Fool Us, Penn Jillette frequently says that he and Teller enjoyed a trick more than the audience because they knew how it was done and could fully appreciate the skill with which a piece of sleight of hand was done.
Brennan: Booth has a bigger mandible and a more prominent zygomatic than Fisher, as well as a more pronounced ratio between the width of his clavicles and his ilia. Angela: So, it's because Booth is hot? Now we're getting somewhere.
And better, it gives you the tools to analyze and explain to others why you liked or did not like a piece rather than relying on "Eh, I just didn't like it."
This is basically what people who study Literature, music, art, etc. do for a living, and just like the science examples above, just try going up to a Literature professor and telling them that their understanding of the mechanics of plot, characterization, themes, and wordplay means they do not feel the same spark of wonder.
A good example is Shakespearean comedies - before studying them and their context, you'll get about a tenth of the jokes. Some people think that the guy laughing on his own in the theatre is showing off, because as Don't Explain the Joke suggests, you can't genuinely enjoy a joke that's been explained to you.
You know, whenever I post one of these dissectory reviews, the first consequence is always, always, that someone will send me an e-mail demanding, "Why do you have to think so much about the films you watch? Why canít you just enjoy them? Why do you get so upset?" Given the implication that "thinking" and "enjoying yourself" are necessarily mutually exclusive, it is perhaps not surprising that they rarely believe me when I say that such an exercise gives me a great deal of pleasure; that the process of putting a film under the microscope (ha, ha) adds considerably to my whole experience of it Ė and thatís true whether I ultimately endorse or criticize its science.
The creators of Extra Credits say they frequently receive comments saying that by analyzing games they are sucking the fun out of them. Their response can be found here.
Tom Glazer wrote "Why Does The Sun Shine? (The Sun Is a Mass of Incandescent Gas)" in 1959. The long-forgotten song was later covered by They Might Be Giants for their children's educational CD "Here Comes Science", along with an updated song, "Why Does the Sun Really Shine? (The Sun is a Miasma of Incandescent Plasma)". Justified in that these songs are meant to both educate and entertain, (and do both splendidly).
As a judge on The Sing Off, Ben Folds is enjoying the show on more levels than the rest of us as he elaborates the exact technical merits of each performance. He looks giddy as he explains how the three-part harmony comes together or points out the arrangement of events every four to eight bars.
Rilo Kiley's song "Science Vs. Romance" possibly references this (I used to think, if I could realize I'd die, then I would be a lot nicer,", "Used to believe, in a lot more. Now I just see straight ahead", but it's about a scientist trying to regain his feelings again, evidenced by the line "Facts vs. romance, you go and call yourself the boss, but we're not robots inside a grid."
The Angel and Robot Show/Phenomenaut's It's Only Chemical flipflops between being played straight (You might think this song is special with the way it makes you feel, but it's not/It's only chemical) and being a subversion, as it also applies to the bad emotions you go through in life - and that emotions just being chemicals is a good thing (It's better that way).
Mass Effect 2 has Mordin Solus, the very model of a scientist Salarian. He shows extreme passion about his beliefs and work and has a deep appreciation of the arts. He sees the Collectors as a mockery of the Protheans, as the heart and soul of their race has long since been lost.
Most notably, he admits that after working on the Genophage, which at the time he logically saw as the correct choice, the guilt drove him to seek spiritual answers.
The trope was invoked for laughs in the third game when he said he'd like to retire to a beach somewhere and collect seashells, only to admit he'd probably run tests on them out of boredom.
Sign up for a few skeptical and science podcasts, such as Skeptoid, The Skeptics Guide To The Universe, or indeed any other. Sure, there may be the occasional attack on psuedoscience and alternative medicine, but most of the content is very bright people waxing lyrical about how cool a new discovery, newly realized aspect of the natural world, or just learning something you never knew is. Generally, but not always, attacks on "believers" are reserved for those who try to use law to mandate their view or who sell a product with no proven benefits, especially in the fields of medicine and nutrition.
The Disney cartoon Donald Duck in Mathemagic Land is an attempt to avert this. Despite Donald's insistence that advanced mathematics is for "eggheads", a disembodied "Spirit of Adventure" manages to convince him otherwise by showing how math influences things like parlor games and music theory.
This is the message of the "Give Your Heart a Try" number in Twas The Night Before Christmas, though the later song "Hope and Hurry" does a lot to balance it out.
Played straight in Feeling Pinkie Keen when she decides to accept that Pinkie Pies 'Pinkie Sense' is real, but learns the Family Unfriendly Aesop that sometimes you should just believe in things, and then makes absolutely no attempt to study this fascinating new discovery in the field of magic.
Just ask any scientist about their field of specialty, and the last thing you'll get is a robotically dull answer. Try asking a botanist about flowers, or an astronomer about galaxies. These people chose these fields in the first place because they feel intensely about them. You don't get rich researching science. It is, almost of necessity, a labor of love.
Bertrand Russell, Study of Mathematics: Mathematics, rightly viewed, possesses not only truth, but supreme beauty, a beauty cold and austere, like that of sculpture, without appeal to any part of our weaker nature, without the gorgeous trappings of painting or music, yet sublimely pure, and capable of a stern perfection such as only the greatest art can show. The true spirit of delight, the exaltation, the sense of being more than Man, which is the touchstone of the highest excellence, is to be found in mathematics as surely as in poetry.
Think of it this way. When you start school, you learn about the number one, and about addition. Zero and multiplication come a little later. Then advance a few years and discover pi, and exponentiation. Finally, at the tail end of a high school education, you learn about natural logarithms and e, and complex numbers and i. Then you discover this little identity that pulls together more than a decade of diverse mathematical studies into one essentially simple expression. That's mathematical beauty.
Physicians can be particularly passionate about their field, sitting where it does at the intersection of cutting edge technology, the frontier of science, and a deep humanitarian mission. Dr. Atul Gawande's Complications is an excellent introduction to just how emotional the field is.
Richard Feynman also was a major advocate of this style of thinking. In What Do You Care What Other People Think, he advocates this position with an argument he had with an artist:
Feynman: I have a friend who's an artist, and he sometimes takes a view which I don't agree with. He'll hold up a flower and say, 'Look how beautiful it is,' and I'll agree. But then he'll say, 'I, as an artist, can see how beautiful a flower is. But you, as a scientist, take it all apart and it becomes dull.' I think he's kind of nutty. [...] There are all kinds of interesting questions that come from a knowledge of science, which only adds to the excitement and mystery and awe of a flower. It only adds. I don't understand how it subtracts.
After he received stories of people disillusioned by his book The Selfish Gene, Richard Dawkins wrote a counter to this viewpoint in the form of Unweaving The Rainbow. It helped that not only did most people criticize The Selfish Gene purely from title alone, but those that did actually read it thought that he was endorsing a bleak dog-eat-dog philosophy of the world*
The full argument being that, as humans, we are more than our genes, ie even if our genes program us to be selfish we can choose otherwise
Philosophy, (systematic) theology, and other exercises of raw reason are often enlightening once you've grappled with a particular problem and, as it were, solved the riddle, or at least contributed towards understanding it more.
Animators spend all day sitting at a desk, studying how a body moves, how things move, making them move, drawing hundreds of drawings. Learning how it works, systematically. It doesn't make it any less enjoyable to watch cartoons being able to spot where other animators went the extra mile, or made mistakes, or knowing what needs to be done to accomplish what happened.
Also, analysing people's movements make you realise just how different each person moves and how it reflects their personality, mood etc. Whereas most people would have the default assumption that 'a walk is a walk', a walk in animation tells you EVERYTHING.
The same applies to acting, whether it's a live action role, or a voice role. How does your character walk? Does he slump forward? Does he swagger? Is he pigeon toed? Does he have a particular accent? How strong is it? Is he trying to lose it? Does he have a soft voice, or a gravelly rasp? All of these little things change who he is, and how he's perceived. It's why the school of method acting still exists. People spend months getting into, and building their idea of who the character is, because it matters to them.
David Kushner's book Masters of Doom has this to say about id software's John Carmack and his programming knowledge: "...after so many years immersed in the science of graphics, he had achieved an almost Zen-like understanding of his craft...Rather than detaching him from the natural world, this viewpoint only made him appreciate it more deeply. "These are things I find enchanting and miraculous," he said. "I don't have to be at the Grand Canyon to appreciate the way the world works, I can see that in reflections of light in my bathroom." In further context, this could also be a Crowning Moment of Heartwarming for Carmack, who, up until that point, was said to have appeared impassive to his peers most of the time.
Simple kiddie tricks may lose their awesomeness, yes, but more advanced tricks of master magicians can become even more amazing when you start to understand how much brilliance, hard work, and showmanship skill go into them.