As a lover of knowledge, I am an observer. Rather than project my beliefs onto events, I take them for what they are and embrace the uncertainties.
The second is a hand-drawn animation by Brown University and Rhode Island School of Design graduate Xiangjun Shi. In this award-winning short-film, Shi explores her decision to study the science of nature — the imperfect and impermanent architecture of our seemingly perfect and permanent universe.
Whether we exist to observe or not, things will be as they are. Our answers and understandings are only for ourselves. A dilemma exists only if we chase an end result, but within infinity, there is no end. (Just as there is no end to our pursuit until we end our pursuing.)
Irrational or imperfect are subjective projections assigned by adults to events they do not understand.
Taoism and physics are both explorations of the cosmos and the rules that govern them. Taoism is a more broad-form framework of thinking and perspective. Physics is a specific understanding, a framework of deduction and mathematical proof. Yet both explore radiating circles, one based on perspective and the other on what is relative. Each coming to the same conclusion: it is both infinitely small and infinitely big.
And what is at the center of this circle? Is there something or is there nothing? Are we something or are we nothing? Perhaps both, at the same time. From the vantage point of physics and Taoism, nothing and something are both equally valuable and necessary — always in constant balance to hold this whole perfect and irrational universe together.
The third piece is a photo taken from the international space station of Hurricane Isabel. The majesty of a naturally occurring circle from the grand vision of space.
Pythagorean Theorem of Beauty
The ancient Greek mathematician Pythagoras (c. 570 – c. 495 BC) discovered a relationship between right triangles. It would be incorrect for me to say he created it, as this relationship would exist whether he knew of it or not. Math exposes truths that are already there. Pythagoras' theorem is something we may have learned in geometry (or perhaps we discovered it on our own like Pythagoras did). It is the relationship of the three sides of a right triangle: a² + b²= c². C is the variable, the unknown yet to be discovered. Like an argument: there is your perspective, their perspective, and then there is the truth to be discovered.
Knowledge Grows Appreciation
I think many fear to learn things that are not single-narratives, out of fear of cognitive dissonance. (Some fear science because it might contradict something they already believe, and some fear philosophy because it might ask questions they do not have answers for.) But if you are not afraid of ideas, the study of science and philosophy gives us a perspective to own uncertainty. It is only when we do not explore knowledge that we dismiss uncertainty; removing all unknowables produces opposing viewpoints. There is uniformity with knowing and not knowing — they are ends of the same continuum. There is only contradiction when there is knowing one thing and believing something else.
If everything is known, where is spark? Where is wonder? Knowledge is not only growing what we already know but also awareness of what we don't — which is another type of knowledge. For some, the gap between knowing and not knowing is frustration, but for others, this same gap produces appreciation.
When I see Isabel from space, physics and Taoism do not contradict, they enhance my understanding of the beauty in natural occurrences. More than without this knowledge, more than if I had only studied one. Through physics I appreciate the parts. Through Taoism I appreciate the whole. The pairing of ancient wisdom with modern science creates a sacred geometry of appreciation. If a is science, and b is philosophy, then c, to me, is artistry. And through this lens, the world seems beautiful.
Useful Companions (Improve Your Education and This Site by Buying a Book):
- Tao Te Ching - Lao Tzu
- Wholeness and the Implicate Order - David Bohm
- What If?: Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions - Randall Munroe
- The Tao of Physics: An Exploration of the Parallels Between Modern Physics and Eastern Mysticism – Fritjof Capra
- The Universe in a Single Atom: The Convergence of Science and Spirituality – Dalai Lama
- National Geographic Stunning Photographs - Annie Griffiths