The Wonder Of Interconnectedness
Life is not a puzzle to be solved but a mystery to be lived. Thomas Merton
This blog is about the interconnectedness of the universe I live in, but don’t understand. And yet I am in awe. To me, having a sense of wonderment is important. Awe is a mixed emotion of reverence, respect and wonder. This is the way I feel when I learn that everything is connected to everything else in an unbroken wholeness. It is this unbroken wholeness that is the mystery and wonder of my life.
Perhaps repeating a story I posted in one of my Process of Illumination essays five years ago will help explain. Niels Bohr, one of the founding fathers of quantum physics, told this story about a young student attending three lectures by a very famous rabbi.
The student said the first lecture was very good, he understood everything. The second lecture was much better — the student didn’t understand it but the rabbi understood everything. The third lecture was the best of all; it was so good that even the rabbi didn’t understand it. Bohr tells this story because he says he never understood quantum physics, even though he helped create it.
I think this story illustrates that what we are learning about reality nowadays is “so good” that nobody really understands it all. This explains the saying, “The more we know, the more we don’t know.” It is said that scientific process is like climbing a mountain; the higher you climb the more you know, but wider vistas of ignorance exist on all sides. Not knowing, uncertainty and open-mindedness have been my theme for years.
Why am I in awe?
Being in awe allows me to recognize and accept that I don’t see and can’t see all there is and that I don’t know and can’t know everything; the unbroken wholeness is invisible and unknowable. Being in awe is an illuminating process; it encourages me to realize that there is always more to learn. I live in a world that is complex, interdependent, interconnected, constantly changing and full of wonderment (puzzlement, curiosity).
Although I have acquired several graduate degrees, a lot of on-the job training and years of life learning experiences, much of what I have learned is no longer true or no longer useful in my current life. My sense of awe and wonder will serve me well in my future education, as I live and learn while coping with my aging process and my interconnectedness with the awesome, mysterious world around me. Yes, I realize this interconnectedness is “so good” that I probably won’t fully understand it.