Wednesday, August 21, 2013
WHAT WE DON’T KNOW
Some people live as if there are no mysteries in life, notwithstanding the grand mystery of why we’re here. Our television spews out numbers and facts with habitual enthusiasm to explain everything about everything, so much so that we seldom stop to think at all, much less to consider what the television doesn’t tell us. It’s like medicine. We fall into the trap of thinking the doctor knows all there is to know about our infection, diabetes, cancer, psychosis, or whatever. Only when the doctor is unable to relieve our discomfort does it occur to us that he doesn’t know everything.
How big is the world of the unknown? Or what percent, do you think, of the knowable (for lack of a better word) do we have access to? It frightens me to try to supply a number. In the 5,000 years, give or take, of human discoveries and inventions, have we etched out 1% of what is knowable?
We've made progress. Science now includes areas so special I don’t even understand the labels, things like quantum mechanics, astrophysics, thermodynamics, and electromagnetic optics. We’ve discovered the universe is bigger than we thought, that particles are smaller than the atom. Where will it end?
It’s refreshing to see a journal take on mysteries as a subject. It’s gratifying that two of my poems have been accepted by the journal for publication. Lalitamba is an annual publication of Chintamani Books, which publishes fiction, nonfiction and poetry. Lalitamba means Divine Mother and reflects the journal’s interest in mystics of our time.
The two poems, “Journaling Faith” and “Natural Piety,” question our tradition of religious faith. I often think that lack of faith is a failure of imagination. Failed imaginations will not only cripple faith, it will bring research, art, and education to a standstill.
Lalitamba’s website is http://www.lalitamba.com.