We limit ourselves by our experiances.
Many years ago, after getting married for the first time, I was confronted by what I thought at the time a rather absurd question from my then 7 yo step son. I had made mention that my parents lived in Virginia. His question was, “What language do they speak in Virginia?” Now aside from the appalling critisism of our current educational system that this very question bring to light, it also got me to thinking about how much we really limit ourselves by our experiances.
I had grown up on military bases (Air Force to be specific) and attendended schools that were reasonably advanced as to the subject matter that they taught. They rather had to be due to the nearly constant influx of new students, many of which had come from school systems overseas or with much larger overall budgets.
By the age of my young charge I had already lived in 5 cities in 3 separate states the last being over 1500 miles from the first. Many of my friends had been born outside of the continental US, or thousands of miles away.
By the age of 23 when I had married his mother, the count had risen to 7 states, 9 cities, 2 aditional seperate countries, and visited 7 countries and at least 4 (two of which I had lived in for more than 60 days) continents. I could order a beer in at least 4 languages (because when you don’t trust the water, beer is a good bet), and say hello (if that was all) in at least 8.
Fast forward nearly 20 years, and for the very first time I begin to run into and interact with people who have never been outside of a 50 mile radius of where they were born. Increase the distance to 100-300 miles and the numbers skyrocket.
People who have no interest in learning more about the world that we live in. People who think that the local state university is the penultimate of education and learning.
People who’s ultimate goal is to get a degree and return to the town in which they were born and accept a job in the local economy working for the sole technology based employer in residence.
It is all that they know.
It is all that they want to know.
It saddens me greatly. The earth is huge and full of all kinds of people, plants and animals. The universe even more so, and it is full of all manner of things both mundane and the curious oddities.
We can measure and observe the effects of things smaller than the wavelength of light, or as large as a quasar or interstellar distances of millions of light years. We can using mathmatics and our current knowlage of how the universe works prove the existance of something which we can by default never see, only the effects of it are observable…the black hole. We can also understand how it works the way that it does and why.
I’ve also noticed a curious tendency. After a certain age, those who’s horizons have been broadened by experiance, tend towards learning more, further broadening their experiances. Those who have been retarded in their experiances tend to stick with what they already know (or at least think that they know).
“The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man.”
-George Bernard Shaw, Man and Superman (1903)
“Maxims for Revolutionists”