When we were young, the world around us seemed filled with magic and wonder. From the moment we are born, we examine and familiarize ourselves with our surroundings, but there’s always something just out of our reach.
What’s beyond that hill?
How far does the horizon go?
Why does the Sun fall and bring the Moon up in exchange?
These types of questions often led to many sleepless nights when I was younger, old enough that these thoughts intrigued me, but still inexperienced enough to not quite understand them. As a child, I used to sift through books filled with facts and statistics. Some would introduce me to Newton’s laws of gravity, others to the world record for longest tongue, all piqued my interests and helped me learn about the world around me.
It wasn’t always just facts and figures, but also the culture that fed my curious wonderings. I’d often ask my dad about the movies he liked and the music he listened to. My interest in these forms of media grew with every AC/DC track he recommended and with every exciting fight scene he described in Star Wars. I would read up on these forms of media and the impact they had on generations before me, and from there, I discovered more movies, more music. Through research at the library and questions to my family, I learned more and more each day. Many of these discoveries helped morph me into my own person. Time revealed what I liked, what I disliked and even the beginning of what I wanted to be when I grew up. I felt like a scientist, always on the brink of that epiphany to a burning question, some about the world of science, some about myself and the things I came to value.
However, that mysticism has faced adversity in recent times.
With the increasing availability of the internet, nearly any question my little mind concocted was answered at the click of a mouse. No longer were my questions on the solar system answered through hours of flipping pages in my large informational texts, but through Google. My intrigue in movies and other media would falter when I saw the negative reception from the critics and the bickering in forum chat rooms. Old films and games that enticed me could be quickly researched and forgotten. Everything was pointed out to me and that magic of finding something new for the first time had disappeared, its impact diminished. No longer did I feel like a scientist making a major discovery, but an office worker being given specific directions, never to stray from my initial path. A large fish trapped in a small pond, where everything had been explored and nothing was left to discover.
However, it was another discovery that changed my perspective.
As I got older, the questions I asked became more and more complex. How did the universe come into being? Is there an end to the universe? Through the internet, I was able to dig deep into these inquiries and educate myself on more than I thought previously possible. I also came to find such thought-provoking questions that no one – not even scientists – had found answers to yet. These unanswerable questions fascinated me, and their seeming lack of a definitive answer made them more fun to ponder over and research. I was also able to discover new music, new games and new movies that I came to enjoy and love, and I looked more deeply into those as well. By finding information on who had been involved, the purpose behind each musical piece or the goal of a game designer, I was able to enrich myself in the tales of their experiences. I had escaped my small pond into a much larger river, then into an ocean with a wealth of knowledge to explore that seems endless.
It was only after this that I realized the only limits holding me back from continuing my journey of discovery was myself. The ultimate discovery. One that had opened up so many paths for me. There was no longer any sort of boundary, only those that I had placed for myself.
New discoveries don’t have to ever end. There will always be questions left unanswered, stones left unturned in the pursuit of knowledge and culture. And they will always have an impact, whether it be on you, a community or even the whole world – someone will feel that impact. They can help guide you through life, or just act as a fun time to explore. Never though, are they worthless. That is the real power of discoveries.