Monday, March 14, 2011

The Art of Questions

This was inspired by one of my pastor's sermons.

In 1492, Columbus accidentally stumbled upon the Caribbean. But he didn't know that. He thought it was India. He DIED thinking it was India. He just didn't know.

In the middle ages, the people thought the world was, 6/7 water: a chunk of land with salty puddles in it. They just didn't know.

Before Copernicus, everyone thought the sun revolved around the earth. It was clearly moving around us. They were pissed at Copernicus's crazy new theory. They just didn't know.

And that was the fun of it. No one. Really. Knew.

Columbus, Copernicus, and just the ordinary people saw the world as one giant mystery waiting to be solved.

Is the earth really flat?
Who made everything?
What if the Earth were the thing revolving instead of the sun?
How do I know I'm really alive?
How do you cure the measles?
Why are babies attached to their mothers?

Questions. Endless, exciting, bewildering, dangerous, difficult questions. Who knows? No one? Alright then, I'll find out.

Just imagine. A world where you just. don't. know. Everything is new, exciting, mysterious. Like being a child, only better because you can grow up and things are still just that exciting.

Now come back. To our world, our time.

"No, it's round. Duh."
"'Science' says no one made everything, okay? Drop it."
*eyeroll* "The earth IS revolving. And so are the other seven planets."
"Hook yourself to a heart monitor if you're so concerned about whether or not you're living."
"Gah, I don't know, just get the vaccine. It doesn't matter."
"Just Google it, will you?"

We know everything now. We have Science, the Internet, and all the philosophers before us to figure things out. We've got it from here. It's all old news.

And I find that deeply troubling.

I think science is really important. It's good that we've figured things out and have vaccines and treatments. It's good that we've come so far. It wouldn't be right for us to sit around and NOT figure things out.'s a little sad at the same time. All the wonder, the bright-eyed questions and thousands of little mysteries every day...they're gone. We've solved the mystery. Cracked the case. Finished the puzzle. We think there are no more questions. No more mysteries. We've resigned ourselves to contented boredom.

We've lost the beauty of Wonder and the joy of Discovery. I can't even imagine a world where people Just Don't Know. I would want to get out and discover things, find the answers, think my very own thoughts.

There's no way to go back to ignorance, and I'm not saying we should. I'm just saying that we're living in a World of Lost Mysteries, or at least that's the way we look at it. We can't forget the great art of asking questions. There are still mysteries out there, we just have to pry ourselves way from Google long enough to find them :)


Camellia Day said...

I'm starting to think we share a brain at times.


A.J. said...

I SO second the motion... we think alike in this!

Elizabeth said...

"The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and all science. He to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead: his eyes are closed." -Albert Einstein

That is one of my all time favorite quotes, because to me it is so true. And to me, there are still questions left, you just have to care and really hunt for them, because all of the day to day questions have been answered. Have you heard about Anthony Atala's work at Wake Forest, by the way? It is amazing advances like that that inspire me to keep going and keep my passion for science and discovery alive! Anyway, really loved this post :).

Keith Street said...

omg! that was an incredible post. I too love the search for answers. Knowing that there will always be the unknown keeps me awake. I want to suggest another line of questioning. What gifts and talents did God give just me? What plans does He have for me to use them? What if the most important thing to me was being all He wanted me to be? What does it mean to be totally surrendered to Him? Have we ever seen anyone that way? What would God do with me if I was totally surrendeered? What great stories are waiting to be written, waiting on me? If we could begin to uncover these answers wouldn't life be beyond fun, beyond all we ever imagined? I think I'm headed to my blog with these thoughts. luv u! believe in u!