An ocean of inexplicability and Cosmos

Florianopolis - Morro das Pedras

Well, it’s a beautiful day outside, I had a very good night sleep and a nice breakfast. For some inexplicable reason I woke up thinking I should pick a book from my “Someday/Maybe” list today.

And browsing through my Kindle I saw that I haven’t finished reading the amazing Carl Sagan’s book “Cosmos”! For some twist of fate (I can’t recall it) I had to stop reading it in the past, BUT I’ll remedy this right away!

And to become inspired and get the gears running, here goes a quote by the English biologist Thomas Henry Huxley (1825-1895), enforcer of Darwin’s ideas and also known for coming up with the term “agnostic”.

The known is finite, the unknown infinite; intellectually we stand on an islet in the midst of an illimitable ocean of inexplicability. Our business in every generation is to reclaim a little more land.” — Thomas Henry Huxley, 1887

This is one of the quotes Carl Sagan brings at the beginning of the book “Cosmos”. The search for knowledge and understanding is perhaps the trace that most distinguish us, humans, from other living beings. Do spiders try to understand the world around them? Do they try to change it? Well, maybe we are not able (yet) to realize that an ant is also looking for answers in its daily activities in its colony…

But I can say for myself that the search for explanations is one of the most fulfilling human activities for me. It feeds our brains, it must activate some specific regions that hunger for knowledge. It brings bliss!! Quoting Carl Sagan:

They [discoveries about the Cosmos and our place within it] reminds us that humans have evolved to wonder, that understanding is a joy, that knowledge is prerequisite to survival.” –Carl Sagan, Cosmos (1980)

So let’s move on!


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