When I was in 5th grade, my English teacher gave the class an assignment to make a list of 10 things that we didn’t understand. Even at the time, I remember thinking it was a really cool project. Here were a few of the things on my list:
I don’t understand…
1. How music is recorded and played back on a CD.
2. How everything fits and works together in your body.
3. How the universe can be infinite. Actually, I don’t understand infinity, in general.
4. Black holes.
5. How language began.
Ironically, most of what I didn’t understand back then remains a mystery to me today.
For some reason, photography makes slightly more sense to me than music. A light reflection collected on film is something I can understand. But how sound vibrations are collected on a shiny plastic disk and played back to make up the nuances of a piano solo or a jazz singer’s voice is beyond my comprehension.
The complexity of the human body baffles me. Even more mind boggling is the fact that something so familiar to each one of us, still remains one of the least understood (and most abused) things in our physical realm.
The idea that there is no end to something—that if we were to reach out in any direction for light years, we would never find an edge—is something I imagine none of us will ever truly understand.
Black holes. Enough said.
Essentially how any concept begins (language, numbers, math, etc.) is fascinating to me. Who was the caveman who first decided that the objects we put into our mouths would be called ‘food’? And further, who was the first guy to think ‘hey, I should eat this!’ Was it all a chain reaction? Caveman #1 eats something, he feels better, so he decides he needs to tell caveman #2 to eat it too. How do I do that? Well, perhaps I’ll make some noises and gesture. And so, language was born? That’s just the way I imagine it, but I think you get the point. The beginning of anything is fascinating.
After some consideration, I’ve come up with a theory--because it is human nature to want to understand everything around us. Perhaps there are so many open-ended questions left unanswered so that there would be purpose for life. If every answer was apparent, there would be no reason to explore, to challenge, to experiment. It gives us something to do with our approximately 70 years on Earth. God left us a puzzle with an infinite number of pieces so we’d stay busy.
What piece do you think you’re in charge of? What don’t you understand?