Gandhi once said that the seeker after truth should be humbler than dust. Considering that we are made from cosmic dust, and that after our bodies are done living we return to dust, humans are well suited for humility. We believe that when we adopt a humble mindset, we become more open to receiving wisdom. When we are more compassionate toward that which we do not understand, we believe we also become better equipped at finding our way toward truth.
Even the composition of everything around us remains mostly a mystery. The universe is comprised of 5% observable energy + matter and 95% unknown dark energy + matter.
NASA explains that 95% of what’s in the universe is unknown.16 This whopping percentage is the sum of two-thirds dark energy and one-third dark matter.
No human knows where dark energy comes from, or what it is exactly, yet scientists recognize that this energy is responsible for the universe expanding. Dark matter is currently unexplainable. What scientists have observed, however, is the gravity of dark matter. Whatever this strange stuff is, the effect of its gravity is seen by how it pulls on light matter like stars and galaxies. The only reason we know dark matter exists is because stars and galaxies move in relation to this gravitational influence. Yet, dark matter is different than a black hole. In fact, it defies any description beyond being dark. No one has come up with a clearer understanding of the phenomenon and so we’ll have to settle for being a bit clueless as to dark matter’s exact properties for the time being.
This state of puzzlement is completely okay because changing degrees of knowledge about our surroundings is a quality that is naturally baked into our scientific principles. Fundamental to all scientific theories is the knowledge that someday they will be supplanted. Current theories allow us to make reasonably accurate claims about the world and the future, but there is always room for greater understanding. The scientific method has granted us a peek into the true nature of reality. There are incalculable mysteries to uncover. Perhaps some mysteries are conceptually impossible for humans to ever truly understand. Yet, this limitation is no reason
to be disheartened. There’s a great deal of value in the awareness of one’s own ignorance.
Plato recounted his teacher Socrates saying, “I neither know nor think that I know.” In our modern era, this statement has been adapted to, “I know that I know nothing.” In the interest of humility, we are well served to remember how little is still known about areas of research like Earth’s oceans, human brains, and the nature of matter itself. It’s no wonder that we still have much to learn about the complexities and implications of consciousness. To become aware of our own limitations and ignorance is to pause before the beautifully complex composition of life and to marvel at incomprehensible wonders.
- The Power of Humility
- Healthy Habits
- Environmental Actors
- Economic Priorities
- Lessons Ahead