Imagine all the information in the world is represented by a pie. What you know you know can be represented by the tiniest sliver of that pie. What you know you don’t know can be represented by the same size slice. And what you don’t know you don’t know is the rest of the pie.
Now apply that same “knowledge pie” to what we know about our brains and the thoughts, instincts and understanding that comprise our existence. What we don’t know we don’t know about our own abilities is essentially the entire knowledge pie, and, more importantly, the foundation for all that we don’t know about our world and our place within it.
Staggering thoughts, and certainly confusing in our age of science and technology where our discoveries and technical advancements outpace all of combined human history. Logic would dictate that our understanding of our brains and our world would be increasing exponentially, reapportioning this knowledge pie, but it’s not. In fact, our frenetic pace of discovery seems to be creating more gaps in our understanding, consistently returning us to the same starting place.
We look and explore. We build new machines and technical platforms. And we touch parts of our world that we previously thought were unreachable. We send ourselves into the unknown to bring back critical information to help fuel our next exploration, and we rally around the prospects and opportunity of our next discovery.
We have achieved a great deal in computation, machines, travel, medicine and neuropsychological insights, but we’re no closer to understanding why we are searching, or, more importantly, where we should be looking.
We look to space for answers. Why are we on Earth? Are we the only form of life in the universe? Are there advanced civilizations? Will we make contact with other civilizations, if they exist?
We look to religion for answers. Is there evidence that God is actively engaged in our lives? Is the God of ancient texts the same God we look to now? Will God be part of our lives in the future?
We look to other people for answers. Who can see into the “unknown” and bring back the information we need to answer our questions? Who is endowed with the insight to explain our existence and our world?
We look and ask, pivoting our head a few degrees on these three planes of space, religion, and people, and we try to synthesize the information into a coherent narrative that answers our questions. We do this in our modern world just like we did in our ancient one, but we still haven’t found the answers.
The information we do collect certainly improves the physical conditions of our world, but it doesn’t improve the existential conditions of our lives. We don’t know why we are here and, thus, we don’t know what to do with our time in the world to make it meaningful.
Yet, there is still one “head pivot” left that we haven’t begun to mine for information and answers. It’s just one final degree down the plane from space, religion and people, and it’s a tiny pivot that requires no effort.
We know two critical things about ourselves and our world: Everything is in constant motion at the atomic and astronomical level, and all motion is harmonized through compatible orbits and revolutions. We, as humans, are part of this symphony of motion, and, with our complex cognitive and intellectual capabilities, we’re able to fashion our world in creative and ingenious ways that the rest of the living world can’t.
So, if we’re part of this universal motion of harmonized orbits and revolutions, and we have advanced capabilities that allow us to “co-conduct” this symphony of matter through creativity, invention and ingenuity, we must be using two things within ourselves – our brain and our “universal particles” that make us human.
Our brain creates, and our humanity – the universal particles that make us human – employs that creativity to facilitate the harmony of motion. We need both elements – our creativity and connectedness – to support our world, and our world needs our creativity and connectedness to maintain its harmony.
Thus, the answer to our questions of why we are here and what we’re supposed to do to make our time in the world meaningful is right there in the “physics” of matter and motion.
It’s to create harmony.
We are here to give the world everything we can in thought, attention and deed towards sustaining this universal harmony. We are here to create and connect, and give the people and particles around us every possible opportunity to grow, evolve and transform per the universal order of things.
We are here to create harmony in ourselves, in our world, and in our future, and to do our part in this symphony of motion to ensure the “next” world looks and feels better than ours.
Connect with others.
Conduct motion that fuels undiscovered opportunity.
If all of the intersections of science, religion, philosophy and society were represented by a pie, the purpose of humanity to create harmony would be an atomic sliver of agreement, with the rest of the pie representing the vast disagreements of what we’re supposed to do about it.
But, at least, what we don’t know we don’t know in this vast field of disagreement just became a little more accessible. And that’s where we find meaning, and the chance at creating a better world.