Thursday, February 20, 2014
Knowing and Not Knowing
Relentless chemistry explorers like Wani and Wall believed in something so strongly that they discovered the famous cancer fighting compound Taxol by "just not giving up". Geniuses of algebra devised the surrogate “x” to placehold a temporary safe house where the unknown can rest, waiting for other clues to work. Sometimes the deduction process bears results, but sometimes it fails when facts are insufficient. When failure happens, it's generally not the fault of the process, though, it's a paucity of information.
Knowing what is and what isn't comprises in itself a powerful vat of information. Chemists, with their atomic insight, and mathematicians with their theorems and their equations, their transforms, and their matrices have a way of finding and proving solutions despite what answers “may exist in their hearts”. Proof is dear.
But, belief has its sole existence in the mind. It's not that belief is a lesser species, but belief is one of the “opinion kinfolk”...not yet fact, although sometimes more interesting. And, belief is one colorful (and mystical) offspring in the genus whose Latin name means “not knowing”. So, let's be honest about what we don't know. And, let's see if we can agree that it's impossible to know the breadth and depth of what we don't know...until some pertinent facts come in.
It's an honorable calling to be a fact explorer. It's a master of feints and measures who hunts for coincidences through seas of sand and gravel. Now and then, when a fact fits jigsaw perfectly into the mathematician's equation, harmony rings up an elegant solution, and having struggled through the heavy seas of differentials and integrals, the sun shines. Then, knowing bears it's own pot of gold.
There's a cold, shaking fever connected with not knowing. Believing warms hearts, though. It's an intriguing comfort.