The More We See the Less We Know… Or Maybe It’s the Other Way Around
I am always learning things on my walks with my dog. Sometimes he teaches me things, sometimes I discover them on my own. Sometimes, maybe, it’s the universe.
Today while we were out I spent a lot of time admiring the pretty blue sky. When Milton would make a stop to sniff around, I looked upward, appreciating the gorgeous weather. It was sunny, bright, not a cloud to be seen. One of those days when the sky was so clear it seemed like you could see forever.
In a moment, while I admired the perfect, expansive, clear sky, it occurred to me that for as far as I could see, there was still even more that I couldn’t. Looking up, I was struck with the realization that the sunny day was actually preventing me from seeing the greater universe that was actually out there. All the billions and billions of stars with all their billions of orbiting planets were totally hidden from sight. Not because something was blocking the view, but because the light was so bright.
The idea that, figuratively speaking, the more light we shed on a thing, the more we possibly restrict our view of what might lay beyond got me thinking.
As skeptical as I can be — I don’t often accept anything at face value — I have, for as long as I can remember, also allowed for possibilities that seem contrary to rational explanation. I wouldn’t say I’m a believer in all things mystic, but I definitely recognize there are limits to what we know. It’s kind of the mission statement for my blog, after all.
When I was just a kid, the Mighty Marvel Calendar for 1975 exposed me to a quote from Hamlet that I accepted as reasonable: “There are more things in heaven and earth than are dreamed of in your philosophy, Horatio.”
That’s been one of the recurring lessons from history, right? That right when civilization thinks it has something nailed down, someone or something comes along to prove otherwise.
I’m not advocating ignorance. Awareness is essential and vital. True awareness, though, includes being aware of what you don’t know. Accepting there may be truths outside your experience is a HUGE component to real understanding. Real knowledge.
The lesson applies to all sorts of things. It’s what keeps us studying, exploring, and experimenting. On a personal level, it hopefully teaches us to not judge other people or jump to conclusions. No matter how well illumined we think a situation might be, or how clearly we think we see others, there’s likely more behind the scenes that we don’t know.
I’m still happy and appreciative of the clear sky today. Not at all disappointed that I can’t see the stars. I know they’re out there, and I’ll enjoy them also when the time is right.