When was the last time you learned something new that truly rocked your socks off and changed the way you looked at the world? I’m talking about an acquirement of knowledge that actually made you feel excited and fortunate that you were able to learn of its existence.
I believe every one of us is inherently curious; as children, we question absolutely everything. Why is the ocean blue? How do birds fly? When I find that leprechaun’s pot of gold what will I wish for? If I swallow a watermelon seed will a plant really grow out through my mouth?
But as time rolls on, our queries become less frequent and questions of whimsy and wonder are replaced with more practical ones. What health insurance plan should I choose? What’s the difference between a 401K and an IRA? Could I develop E. Coli poisoning if I continue to practice the five second rule? These questions, while helpful for the process of “adulting”, are sorely lacking in their ability to breathe new life into our current perspective.
In March of 2014 I watched the first episode of Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey, a 13 episode series hosted by Neil DeGrasse Tyson about the history and mysteries of our universe. This event ignited a dormant curiosity on a level I hadn’t previously experienced. I was immediately launched down a rabbit hole that I’m still navigating to this day, leapfrogging from one topic to another, collecting ideas like little treasures and sharing them with anyone willing to listen. There are those who can vouch that after a few drinks I’m likely to grab the nearest napkin and demonstrate Carl Sagan’s “Flat Land” (a metaphor for understanding the fourth dimension). I’m a big hit at parties.
Every new episode of Cosmos introduced me to a concept I’d never heard of. Terms like dark matter, light signatures, and time dilation, led all the way to ideas like string theory, and quantum entanglement. Sexy. Each question segued to another, until finally I paused to realize that this unstructured method of leapfrog-learning had actually changed me, and that the reality and the mysteries of our own universe were more bizarre and wonderful than any fiction. It suddenly felt strange to think that I’d lived my entire life in the absence of this information that had always existed, and I hadn’t even known I wanted it. It’s like trying to imagine a color you’ve never seen.
Before I conclude friends, I will acknowledge that the cosmos, alternate dimensions, and quantum physics may not be everyone’s particular cup of tea, and that’s ok (although don’t knock it till you’ve tried it). We may be all grown up now, but at the end of the day, I believe we are all still seekers at heart, so the point is simply this: when you find a breadcrumb, follow the trail! The moment you think the thoughts: what?, how? or why?, ask them out loud or consult the almighty Google, especially if it seems way outside your box (that’s how you get to the good stuff). What follows will be an adventure completely unique to you; a potentially lifelong quest of seeking and finding that will become inextricably intertwined within the fingerprint of your mind.
Ready to go but unsure where to begin? Below you’ll find some of my favorite treasures collected so far. Be sure to tape on those socks:
Carl Sagan discusses the fourth dimension
Water, Consciousness & Intent: Dr. Masaru Emoto
An experiment that shows observable evidence of the power of thought on the physical world
A technique that allows us to visualize how energy can actually determine physical form. When sand is sprinkled on a vibrating plate, watch what happens as the frequency is raised.
The Artist is Present
Performance artist Marina Abramovic is reunited with her former lover in the midst of a 700 hour piece at the Museum of Modern Art, in which audience members were invited one by one to sit in a chair facing her and silently return her gaze. Marina’s body of work has been considered controversial and at times, disturbing; it is also extremely thought provoking and haunting.
The song playing in the background is by How I Became the Bomb and was written specifically about this encounter.