I'm Kirk Wheeler. It's January 28th, 2021. I'm so glad you're here.
We like to think of the knowledge of the world as complete, as if the whole of human history has led us to this place, and we shall go no further. But how did we get here? Have others before us made the same assumptions? Or like us, did they begin by learning that ignorance is the source.
"The voices that have said there was something more. Knowledge to be had beyond and other than this knowledge. Have always been right." -Marilynne Robinson
Imagine that you are a professor of chemistry in Oxfordshire, England in the year 1676. Stay with me here. That might be a pretty boring lead in. But you're about to publish a book about the natural history of the area where you grew up and now reside. A few years previous to these writings, you uncovered a huge bone, unlike anything ever seen before and you plan to describe it for your audience. What explanations are available to you? Maybe it's a large mammal of some kind, but the bone looks more like a femur to you, and so you decide that it must be the remains of a race of giants, some Goliath who would've stood over nine feet tall, and that's where the story ends.
Fast forward a hundred years, the Declaration of Independence is signed and the American experiment begins. But do you know what was unknown to anyone at that moment? The existence of dinosaurs.
I grew up with books about dinosaurs and stories of asteroids that crashed into our fragile planet and wiped them all out. I thought everyone had always known that. Just like I thought everyone had always known about the Atom, or the germ theory of disease, or why it's important to wash your hands, but not all knowledge is common. Today, if we came across that same bone, while we were digging in the dirt, we might be able to compare it to a picture or ask an expert, and they would tell us it was the remains of some long ago creature called Megalosaurus.
But Dr. Plot did not know this, and neither did anyone before 1824, just a few decades before the gold rush in California. The world of knowledge is always increasing. And what our children will take for granted as always being known are things we could have not imagined possible just a few short years ago.
My daughter has never lived in a world without a smartphone, much less without a computer in her house. And even though I'm unable to tell her what the future will look like, there is one thing I can be sure of that future generations will be astounded by our ignorance.
And for me, at least there is some comfort in that it brings me a sense of hope and possibility that even in these times of struggle and challenge, I know deep down that there is a fundamental truth about the world we inhabit. There is knowledge to be had beyond. There is something more.
I hope you find this helpful. And remember, there is no perpetual parenting playbook. We're all learning as we go. And so with curiosity as our map and the humility to recognize that there is always something more to be learned, we can be ready for anything.
Good luck today. You've got this. See you tomorrow.