Considering the Unknown
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Considering the Unknown • Posted: Aug 12, 2012 10:45:14Comments WelcomeVote CoolPhotoblogsPurchase a PrintShare

A new rover has successfully landed on Mars. The successful London Olympics are drawing to a close. All sounds good. However, Assad is obliterating his own country and all the people in it. Crazy U.S. people are shooting up theaters, churches, and their own families. Climate change deniers are watching their crops shrivel and their herds waste in unprecedented dry heat. Gonorrhea, tuberculosis, and strep have very nearly outfoxed all known antibiotics. Bankers have been caught manipulating supposed free markets. Those who "have" are increasingly fearful "big government" will take away what they have. Those who "have not" are increasingly angry they do not have. Fewer and fewer people have any trust in the "system". The simple-minded are impatient to implement their simple-minded solutions. The not so simple-minded are increasingly skeptical anything at all can be done to actually ease tensions. The young, over hearing things, are worried.

There are a couple of ways to approach the unknown. We can decide ahead of time that it is not for us to know, that the risks and costs are too high, that we'd do best to draw a line and stay where we know and understand. Or, we can toss a stone in and see what happens.

But, why a line? And, why a stone?

The line protects us, demarcates our "safe zone". We live behind a lot of lines: behind our skins, at the bottom of a protective atmosphere, inside the earth's magnetic field, within a range of temperatures, amongst our group, inside our houses, even within our budgets. Should we venture beyond those lines, things will not be so pleasant for us. But very few of us have any clear notion of how unpleasant things could get outside our "safe zone". We just know not to go there.

However, things are beginning to get not so pleasant inside our "safe zone". What to do?

We can fight, point fingers at people we think might be responsible, draw new lines to eliminate, isolate, or keep them out. We can kill or pay others to kill, thereby eliminating the problem by making a little more room for ourselves. We could also try to ignore things, pray, or hope they'll go away on their own or through the agency of some other.

But what of that stone? Might we not send a probe out, perform a test, conduct an investigation to try to understand what we don't already know. Perhaps there is another vision of reality out there that will allow us to expand our "safe zone", grow our understanding, steady our footing, increase our options. In fact, that is something we've already done successfully innumerable times before, from thousands of years before until now, from inside the womb until now. It is an essential part of who we are as a species. We ask "what is out there beyond this line that we've drawn?"

May you never be afraid to ask that question. And, may you never end up feeling it was not worth the risk, the effort, or the cost of finding an answer.

Sunday, August 7th, 2011
26.2 mm 124 mm
1.6 sec
f 6.3