Unanswerable Questions

Since I was a child, I had a tendency to contemplate the questions that simply could not be answered. Or muse on tremendously philosophical concepts.

One that I had given much thought to was that for us to unite as a planet we would need a common enemy. In my mind that common enemy would be a life from another planet. The conundrum I had envisioned, was for life on another planet would have to be more advanced than us for them to have figured out space travel. And for them to have reached that state of enlightenment they would have to be peaceful. Given all that they would know better than to stop by for a visit. Never would I have guessed that a microscopic virus would be that common enemy. I do hope that what we’ve learned about caring for each other is not lost when we get this situation in check.

Some other questions I like to contemplate:

Since color is simply how we perceive a certain wave length of light there is no  way of knowing if those perceptions are identical. Said another way if I was to look at an apple through someone else’s perception. Would the colors look the same to me? We can confirm that we give the same name to the same wavelength as we each view through our own perception, but there is no way to test what our perception of that name is. And to take it to an even deeper conundrum, if we could identify everyone’s perceptions might we all have the same favorite color. Like I said, unanswerable.

Or cogitating on the infiniteness of the universe. Trying to wrap my head around this in finite terms, I would convince myself there has to be and edge or end to the universe, but that would need to be in something else. More universe? Ok, so when we get to the edge of that, then that would have to be in something else, Again, more universe? Ok, so when we get to the edge of that, then that would have to be in something else, Again, more universe? And so on. Alas no, imaginable end, and no way to answer it.

When I went to Kenya, I had all the answers; when I returned, I realized I knew nothing. Many of the questions that came up during that trip had no good answer. For instance, there is a region where unemployment is at 75%. Those that do work, work at a long stem rose farm. The farm gets water for the roses from a lake. At the rate the water is used the lake will be dry in roughly 10 years. However, slowing down production would kill the farm and put the entire population out of work. So damned if you do damned if you don’t. There were many other stories like this. What it made me realize is things that seem to have an easy answer, frequently don’t. It is only by looking at the full picture that we can determine a path forward.

More recent contemplations have revolved around, what is important in life. Between the surgeries, the cancer and this virus there has been lots of time to think about what matters. Interestingly, each time I had to clear  the work off my calendar it was easy to do. It was easy to find someone willing to cover for me, or the work became irrelevant. On the flip side my calendar is backfilling with lots of zoom meetings. I am getting to ‘see’ so much more of family and friends via the internet. The need for personal connection is strong. I’ve met with folks I haven’t connected with in years. So many legacy moments of amazing time together, even though so far apart.

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