Friday, May 6, 2011

The downside to learning new things

This is a bit of an...odd post...but I gave some advice today that said ‘write for only you’ and today I feel like writing about the universe, matter, childhood dreams being crushed, and Harry Potter. So here goes:

I have always regretted that I wasn't born a thousand years later. Yes, we have already come so far, even from where we were only twenty years ago. Technology is increasing at an amazing rate. We are witnessing the beginning of a new age etc. etc.

But if I got to choose, I would not have chosen to be born at the beginning of a new age. I would have wanted to be in the thick of it. A time when the universe was not such a mystery. When so many of the questions I have now had been answered long ago.

Knowledge is something I always have, and always will, crave. I want to know everything I possibly can about...well everything.

Doing a Science class at school rekindled that fire. I may not be able to know everything about everything, but I sure can know a lot more than I do now. I mean, I didn’t even realise that the majority of the planets in our solar system have been explored by space probes in the last few decades.

And here came my downfall. In my naiveté, even a few weeks ago, I looked up at the sky and pictured the planets. Those in our solar system. Those in the next. Those that are millions of miles away. I tried to fathom what they would be like. What the life-forms on them would be like. I imagined it would be full of things that mankind had never seen before. Things that we could never comprehend. Things that would make no sense to us to if we tried.

I liked to lie in the grass and dream of all of the amazing, magical things that we might one day find out there.

But as it turns out, all the planets in our solar system are MADE UP OF THE SAME MATERIALS AS ON EARTH. Yes, they are in drastically different quantities. But atoms, particle, matter; well they all work in the same way. Things are operating in the same logical manner.

And it got me thinking. Meteorites that have been found? Made up of known materials. Planets in other solar systems that have been studied? The same story.

Suns billions of light years away operate the same way ours does. What if the universe is comprised of only planets and solar systems similar to ours? The same composite of materials, only stirred a bit differently. Nothing new, nothing magical.

That is the most disappointing thought imaginable.

Because I can comprehend it all. I understand these planets. I understand the way they operate. There’s no magic. There’s nothing so amazing my head would explode if I saw it. It’s all the same, boring, logical order of events that cause volcanoes, floods, life, light, sound and energy.

I hate how perfectly ordered everything is. Sometimes I sit there and watch objects. Wait for something to work differently to the way it’s supposed to. A shadow not appearing where it should, a light not reflecting from a reflective surface, sound refusing to travel even if there is nothing blocking it. Just one mix-up, so I know that this isn’t all there is. That there’s so much more to discover. That everything we thought we understood is only the tip of the ice-burg.

And ok, I’ll admit it, the real reason I was so upset was because I kinda wanted Alice Wonderland, Harry Potter, Narnia and Lord of the Rings to be real...

Knowledge isn’t nearly as fun as I thought.


christine donee said...

.. but imagination is.

Googlover/keishua said...

we are at the tip of the iceberg still. science is always advancing new theories. there is always the unknown. even with all these great theories and "facts" we can not really know all there is to know. We just present it as such.

becky said...

I think knowledge is both a wonderful thing and a dangerous thing---but that's just my two cents' worth that I won't go into too much detail about.

When I think of the solar system I like to think of how beautiful our planet is, of how the millions and millions of atom combinations stemmed life---if all the planets are made up of the same stuff, so to speak, then what made this planet, Earth, be able to support us? That's a pretty amazing thought, right? The chances of it, I mean.

And I agree with the first commenter: imagination is---and boy, is imagination just as important as knowledge. I do not think we would have knowledge without it, you know, because on a scientific level, we couldn't dream up new methods of discovery. (This isn't the only point of imagination, of course, there is so much beauty to it!).

I'm sorry---I really don't think I made this comment very coherent...

ellie's desk said...

Its hard to keep that balance..We do need knowledge, and yet imagination as a partner too.

lucy and sarah said...

You are so good at bringing up these sort of things. I think the key is we way or another.

Brandi {not your average ordinary} said...

Let me tell you a few secrets. The first is this: the universe, if nothing else, is infinitely creative. We have things on this planet that still astound me (just check out any aquarium). We're all made of the same basic particles but the number of combinations that can be made are so high they can't be counted. Second secret: there's lots of magic. We only know that our so-called laws of nature hold here, the majority of the time. And then there's the second law of thermodynamics, which says (more or less) that all moves to chaos. So there's hope out there. I promise you.

Alison Gibson said...

Oh no Kaylia! Logic isn't nearly as logical as it seems. The tiniest change in the biological makeup of the world would mean we couldn't live here, so whatever is alive on other planets is going to be SO different, but we can all share in the same basic proteins. Harry Potter's not real (sob) but we still have a sun that warms us without killing us, water that is perfectly hydrating without poisoning us, and, the best magic of all, a body which can convert all sorts of crazy things into energy and nutrients so that we can do all the amazing things we do! The logic of biology is fairly magical, I think.

The Many Colours of Happiness said...

Alison: You're absolutely right, it is amazing! I have recovered a bit from my 'Harry Potter isn't real' revelation and can now see how magical it all really is :)

Jessica Lynn said...

What a perspective. I loved thinking about this, how everything is the same. I think it is still amazing though, it will never cease to get me to marvel.
The fact that there isn't magic and secret worlds makes me sadder than anything else, that is for sure.