certainty(Via XKCD)

Certainty is born of our best traits and sustained by the worst. Curiosity and wonder are the building blocks of all knowledge. When we learn about our world, our lives are enriched and the worth of our existence grows exponentially. We find meaning in the madness and it makes life worth living.

The mere desire to know things is innate and it drives humanity to do the most inspiring things: explore, discover, and collaborate. Unfortunately, humans seem incapable of doing anything positive without inducing negative side effects. In the case of curiosity, our awesome abilities are tempered by pride and control. When our search for truth ends in certainty, we stop searching. Our wonder becomes limited by the boundaries we have have superficially drawn. Certainty ceases the learning process and stagnates our potential.

However, we must be wary of the other side of the coin. When our imagination is unaided by cognition, we lose track of honesty and facts in favor of outright whimsy. Fantasy can add richness and beauty to our lives and shift our perception in the most intimate of ways, but it should not be allowed to distort reality. Our knowledge must be gained through balance- one scale weighted with an open mind and the other with rational thinking.

The question of how to acquire this equilibrium of consciousness may appear insurmountably complex, but most of us learned it in elementary school: the scientific method.

A quick refresher:

  • Ask a Question
  • Do Background Research
  • Construct a Hypothesis
  • Test Your Hypothesis by Doing an Experiment
  • Analyze Your Data and Draw a Conclusion
  • Communicate Your Results

It may seem ludicrous to suggest using such particular procedures to manage our inner chaos, but science does exactly that- it gives order to what appears to be pandemonium. Better still, it never assumes certainty. Questions are constantly asked and asked again even when answers manifest.  When we filter our wonder through the prism of the scientific method, our colorful thought waves will refract to reveal a gorgeous, well-assembled rainbow.

Originally Posted on Wary Wonderlust

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