Where did our marvel go?
Eons ago, Mankind marvelled at the mysterious. We see evidence of that in all continents, in all peoples, and the legacies they have created. We see ancient Japanese artefacts, which look like creatures from space. We read Homer’s Iliad, containing repeated examples of the Ancient Greeks’ daily-life acceptance of the presence and superiority of ‘the gods’.
Now, it seems few of us marvel.
Few cultures embrace the marvel.
It seems we demand scientific evidence and when science can not describe and quantify things with facts and figures we conclude those things can not be real.
Even worse, human beings overestimate what we know a priori.
Scientists entrench around dogma.
Here are a few examples of scientific views to explain what I mean about entrenched dogma:
- The Sun orbits the Earth, not vice-versa: accepted for at least a few hundred years.
- The world is flat: accepted for at least a few hundred years.
- We are born with brain neurons and those brain neurons operate like wires and survive unchanged until they die: accepted for at least a few hundred years.
- Atoms are the smallest pieces of matter: accepted for at least a few hundred years, while for some it has been a couple of millennia.
- Time is a fixed thing: accepted for at least a few hundred years.
- Nothing can travel faster than the speed of light: accepted for at least a few generations.
- The red shift confirms the universe is expanding….hence, the Big Bang theory: accepted for at least a few generations.
- Our DNA sets a firm and fixed recipe, which lasts our lifetime: accepted for a least a few decades.
- Human beings are the only animal on Earth that is capable of reasoning and making choices…all other animals are only capable of reacting.
I suppose it is human nature to presume or conclude our knowledge to be factually accurate…to be ‘real’…and in some cases ‘to be a priori’. I suppose it is easier that way. It is easy to accept dogma and allow it to squeeze out the marvel. I suppose dogma affords us comfort. For example – religious and political dogma provide such comfort, so, religions and politics have flourished.
Desire for comfort is a major part of the fabric of the human condition.
And Mankind is fractioned by the hard lines of the major religions and political boundaries. Conflicts, essentially tribal battles and warfare, exist on a worldwide scale. This is a dangerous situation and there is no question, Mankind can put its feelings and its knowledge to more-constructive use.
While that helps introduce why and how ‘knowledge’ may be accepted as a priori it does not explain why or how ‘knowledge’ beyond religious and political boundaries is accepted as a priori.
Some folks believe our knowledge can be split into components:
- Things we know
- Things we do not know but we are capable of knowing
- Things we do not know and we are not capable of knowing
I have a different opinion…or, is it a question?
I wonder if we truly know anything.
Over the last few years, things keep catching my attention.
Here are examples:
- I read about Egyptians preserving mummies’ hearts and other body parts for the afterlife while throwing away the brains…what did the Ancient Egyptians know when they did that?
- I experienced a 4-piece synchronicity around the word ‘Matrix’…I can shrug off 2-piece and maybe even 3-piece synchronicities but I absolutely had to draw the line at 4! What do we know about synchronicity?
- I read about Milarepa's Cave in Nepal where a handprint is embedded in the wall of the cave…supposedly a result of the power of thought…what did Milarepa know?
- I watched a TV documentary about cities, or at least things that look much like cities, hidden deep in the ocean at various places around the world….what do we know about that Lost City of Atlantis?.
- I listened to an audio book that stated we now know all the particles in the universe…and I had to rewind to make sure my ears weren’t playing tricks on me. How can we be anywhere near confident enough to say we know that?
- I listened to an audio book that stated Konrad Zuse, an early computer pioneer had postulated the universe could be a simulation, the consequence of programming much like computer software…and now I have watched a TV documentary where a fellow insists machines/robots will self-evolve during the next 20 or 30 years to the point they will do a ‘Planet of the Apes thing’ on humans. Did Konrad Zuse know what he was talking about?
- I have read experiments have confirmed information has travelled faster than the speed of light: in fact, particles have defied other laws of physics including time travel. So, do we now know at least one thing can travel faster than the speed of light?
These examples joined other thoughts that have lingered with me for several years.
- Humans knew the world was spherical more than 1000 years before they believed it was flat.
- We have minimal evidence confirming the universe is expanding. So much rests on the ‘red shift’ including the age of our universe.
- Human perception is a fragile thing. Our brains exhibit plasticity: our perceptions alter the physical structure of our brains and that in cycle alters how our brains operate. It is an iterative process.
- When we observe things we change them: this is graphic when we are observing [with the help of machines] small subatomic things. This is also becoming evident at the neuronal level. Things happen at the boundaries of perception.
- We understand the Earth’s crust shifts with time: mountain rock striations and fossils confirm the extent of major changes over time. We live close to 500°F. For the people of Tokyo the distance between homes and inferno is about 3 miles.
- We know little about our subconscious ‘mind’: curiously, we struggle with a name for that ‘thing’. During recent decades we have called it subconscious, unconscious, and non-conscious.
- On top of that we debate whether or not we have minds. [Science hasn’t found one yet.]
- We debate whether or not we have souls. [Again, science hasn’t found one yet.]
I have concluded we really know very little.
Human beings really know very little.
We perceive and accept estimates.
We call those estimates knowledge.
Sometimes we call the estimates a priori knowledge.
That’s not a condemnation. We should not view that as a bad thing. However, we must keep in mind as we learn more. As we learn more we must keep our minds wide-open, ready to receive knowledge, as unbiased as possible, and non-judgmental.
For the benefit of humankind, we should direct attention to resolving the most-important questions:
- The mystery of the ‘intelligence’ greater than that of Mankind known as the Universal Intelligence, God, etc.
- The marvel of the life-force…what is it that causes life forms to desire survival and ‘to be fittest’ so they evolve?
- The history of civilization on Earth: particularly, resolution of the common ground in the various creation stories in major religions
- The details of the major driving components in humans known as soul, mind, heart, and brain: what are these things, where are these things, how do they operate, and how do the interact internally and externally
- The mystery of humanity: how does the life and death of humans fit in the overall scheme of the universe
These topics should be approached in a manner that paves a better path for future knowledge growth, a human consensus on:
- What do humans truly know?
- What are humans capable of knowing if we approach these questions with a worldwide pooled effort?
- What knowledge lies beyond human capabilities?
We can set flexible boundaries, knowing we will have better information in the future.
We can use a multi-disciplinary approach, involving scientists and religious leaders…using methods like those embraced by the Dalai Lama.
We can nurture an attitude of wonder and marvel.
We can use the tremendous power of our new worldwide technology and ‘social media’ communication tools…bringing the value of developed competence to bear on these important mysteries.
We can unite the brainpower of the world…
…and, while we do it, we can marvel.