I love mysteries. Not so much mystery novels, but the actual mysteries that surround us all the time – and we’re surrounded by them. Why do some cancers spontaneously go into remission? What’s really inside the nucleus of an atom? How does a whole tree come out of an acorn? What really happens to us when we die? How does intuition work? What’s outside of our universe? Is there an end to space? An end to infinity?
Some people roll their eyes and tell me I think too much, but I can’t help it. I never grew out of my terrible twos phase of questioning. There are endless mysteries and conspiracy theories and ghost stories and so many other things for which we’re never going to know the answers. Why shouldn’t I be open to the idea of the Loch Ness Monster, or Bigfoot, or Chupacabras?
Professional debunkers make me about as crazy as the government policy to spread stories of swamp gas. Debunkers make their living from merely saying “No”, but you can’t prove something doesn’t exist. Scientists used to think a certain fish existed only in fossils and became extinct millennia ago… until someone caught one. If the scientists had listened to the local fishermen, they would’ve known that the fishermen had caught that kind of fish before. If more scientists listened to stories about lights in the sky, maybe we’d know what’s up there by now?
Or for a different example, let’s think about acupuncture. It was mocked in the west as an Eastern superstition until somebody actually dared to ask the question of “Gee, does it actually work?” Well, as it turns out, yes. Now we have a whole new tier of questions about how and why and where can we go from here. As long as people remain in lock step with each other, the world is going to remain flat.
I know I’m not alone. Conspiracy theories and ghost hunters wouldn’t exist if there weren’t people who wondered or saw strange things. Religions wouldn’t exist if I was the only one who wonders what happens when we die. Colleges wouldn’t have research labs if somebody somewhere didn’t ask exactly the same kinds of questions as children before children’s questions are squashed into conformity.
When I was a kid, my dad had a squeaky old oil can like the Wizard of Oz’s Tin Man. I thought it looked a lot like a watering can, and I liked the smell of the oil, so I “watered” all the flowers by the side of the house. The flowers didn’t look too good the next week, so I “watered” them some more. The flowers got progressively more sickly looking, so redoubled my efforts to help them. For some reason they eventually gave up the ghost and died. Hmm… Interesting fact. Flowers don’t thrive in oil. Now how would I have learned that important fact if I wasn’t open to experimentation?
The crystal ball is super old art, but it was the first thing I thought of when I saw the word for the week. I made it for a newspaper section about predicting the future of business. I’ll admit it was never one of my favorite pieces, but I liked bits of it like the bird. I could do this piece so much better now. Ahhh… life before computers :)
The acorn is a quickie from today. I often type and free associate when I see the IF word for the week, and the idea of a whole tree in an acorn seemed like a logical visual.