About planets, moons and lightbulbs
Reality operates in an utterly subtle and macabre way at the same time.
It allows itself to be discovered, revealing layers, showing new edges each time, that change the perception we had of it before.
In such manner, the quantity of planets in the Solar system is permanently changing (that it’s not actually that it changes, but that astronomy “adjusts” its knowledge, under the light of new data). Thus, we must adapt our representations and our beliefs.
We learn at school that all planets orbit around the Sun, that many have moons, some of them just one, some even twelve. Pluto, comes and goes, one day it’s the ninth planet, the following, it’s left out of the “club”.
Then we learn the world is round, but the year after, we must correct this idea, under the detail that the Earth is slightly flattened at the poles, which, again, it turns out that they are not “vertically” aligned, and that the Equator forms an angle of twenty-odd degrees with the ecliptic.
Then, one day, we discover that not all the planets rotate in the same way: Uranus polar axis is horizontally laid on the ecliptic, and therefore only its poles have days and nights. Uranus equator is constantly in a mixture of sunsets and dawns.
It has been discovered lately vast masses of ice in Europe, one of Jupiter’s moons, and more or less since four years now, it is known that there is an ocean of liquid water in Titan, another moon, but of Saturn this time.
To new stages of knowledge correspond a privilege over past times, that automatically become “obsolete stuff”, and which will no longer be credible (as when a magic trick is unveiled).
This mutation of beliefs or assumptions of a given knowledge into irrefutable fact, happens in all fields of our lives. And even there are so many things we’ll never confirm “scientifically”, we know the way they are.
On the contrary, there are plenty of ideas and concepts backed by objective data at hand, we refuse to dismantle, against our own rational thought. We prefer to think that our faith is larger than any mountain, and that it’s a good thing.
Openness of mind must be at all times within our purposes, for too many decisions in our lives depend on our knowledge of and approach to reality and truth.
Try this excercise, think of any of your current beliefs and ask yourself:
– What if…?????