As we enter the second week of January 2017:
Recently I was conversing with someone at university about the lack of intellectualism both near and far. It is difficult to find someone to engage in a metaphysical, philosophical, scientific or theological discussion because most individuals do not possess the necessary tools to comprehend the strata of a complex subject.
For example: if you mention The Fabric of the Cosmos, you might get this in reply:
“I didn’t know you read Cosmopolitan. Is that a new Spring fashion?”
When you reply, it is a book by Brian Greene, theoretical physicist at Columbia University, they quickly change the subject. So a discussion on string theory and parallel universes is as appetizing to them as an unopened pack of Ramen noodles sitting in the noonday sun.
In most cases the fault is not theirs. In school they were never taught the art of questioning or their innate curiosity was never nurtured by parents or teachers. Diverse reading or exposure to multiple concepts and ideals were not part of their curriculum.
Questioning can be viewed as dangerous, especially in many circles. However, it is an avenue to explore the multi-dimensional hexagon of a subject from all sides, angles and dimensions.
One can remain with the triangle inquiry. However, you will never get beyond point C. If one accepts the limitations of triangularism, one will never explore the geometric world of shapes and beyond.
Perhaps, this is the problem of society. Individuals enrobe themselves in sound bites or code words and phrases—be it corporate jargon, politics, religion, etc.
Life is more than 140 characters, or a commercial crafted to tangle the senses into a buying frenzy, or fiats without the avenue of remonstrations. Life is more like Charles Dickens’ Bleak House with a host of characters and scenes found on hundreds of pages.
Life has depth and perspective. We do not live in Edwin’s Abbott’s Flatland:
“Imagine a vast sheet of paper on which straight Lines, Triangles, Squares, Pentagons, Hexagons, and other figures, instead of remaining fixed in their places, move freely about, on or in the surface, but without the power of rising above or sinking below it, very much like shadows—only hard with luminous edges—and you will then have a pretty correct notion of my country and countrymen.” Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions 1884
Unfortunately, too many people are in the fog beholding the distorted shadows in their flatland. The fog may be nice on the bridge from time to time, but life was meant to be fully appreciated and questioned. You cannot do this in fog when reality is distorted, and the stars are beclouded.
You need to take to the air and view the environs from a clear perspective above the fog. As you look down on the rivers, vistas, valleys and plains, question what you see or hear.
Always question. Nothing should ever be accepted at face value. This may make people very uncomfortable and upsetting to the status quo.
The mind is a wonderful device. It was meant to be used to explore the world and beyond.
As Dickens so artfully wrote in Bleak House:
“Fog everywhere. Fog up the river, where it flows among green aits and meadows; fog down the river, where it rolls defiled among the tiers of shipping and the waterside pollutions of a great (and dirty) city. Fog on the Essex marshes, fog on the Kentish heights. Fog creeping into the cabooses of collier-brigs; fog lying out on the yards and hovering in the rigging of great ships; fog drooping on the gunwales of barges and small boats. Fog in the eyes and throats of ancient Greenwich pensioners, wheezing by the firesides of their wards; fog in the stem and bowl of the afternoon pipe of the wrathful skipper, down in his close cabin; fog cruelly pinching the toes and fingers of his shivering little ‘prentice boy on deck. Chance people on the bridges peeping over the parapets into a nether sky of fog, with fog all round them, as if they were up in a balloon and hanging in the misty clouds…”
G. D. Williams © 2017
Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions
The Fabric of the Cosmos: Space, Time, and the Texture of Reality