When I heard the learn’d astronomer,When the proofs, the figures, were ranged in columns before me,When I was shown the charts and diagrams, to add, divide, and measure them,When I sitting heard the astronomer where he lectured with much applause in the lecture-room,How soon unaccountable I became tired and sick,Till rising and gliding out I wander’d off by myself,In the mystical moist night-air, and from time to time,Look’d up in perfect silence at the stars.-Walt Whitman
I agree with both quotes. I’ve been learning a lot lately, and what I’ve learned most thoroughly is that there is a lot that I have no clue about. However, there is something nice about being surprised and unaware of how things work. Sometimes the greatness of something lies in its mystery. What is more beautiful – a dissected and fully labelled animal or a living one in nature?
Ignorance can be both beautiful and ugly. For example, innocence is ignorance, and so is bigotry. Why do two things – one a delightful grace and the other one of the ugliest traits of humanity have similiar meanings?
The difference is in the awareness of your own ignorance. A child wants to learn, and has open eyes to the world around them, but makes no pretense of knowledge. A bigot’s eyes are shut to reality, but they think they know everything. How does an adult show less capability to learn than a child?
As we get older, we feel pressured to know everything and slowly conform to the people around us. Recently, I heard that we are a combination of the five people we interact the most with.Imagine that. It makes sense, but it can be frightening when you don’t agree with the values that the people around you hold. It could be that human consciousness is divided into seperate categories – some people value things that others don’t, which is obvious, but perhaps some people are more developed in awareness than others.
Recently, I’ve been reading “A Very Short Introduction to Existentialism” – I learned that Soren Kierkegaard separates human awareness into three categories: aesthetic, ethical, and religious.
The first category, which contains most people, are people who graviate toward beauty and pleasure, and away from pain and ugliness.
The second category, which contains less people, but is more advanced, are people who want to do what is right as dictated by society. They will do things that are uncomfortable to maintain social order.
The third and final category, the smallest group, are people who want to do what is right by God and will ignore the dictates of both beauty and society in order to fulfill the greatest good.
Most of my friends are in the aesthetic phase, and I’ve grown into the ethical phase. A lot of arguments I have are based on people doing things that feel good to them in the moment, but don’t benefit them in the long-term, and their actions don’t benefit society.
I can’t say I’m perfectly ethical, but it’s something that I care about and I’m trying to learn more about.
Finally, there’s the religious realm, which I aspire to, but don’t feel knowledgable enough to discuss much.
Also: I need topics to write about! Feel free to suggest something.
Everyday Inspiration – Day Seven : Let Social Media Inspire You