Under-appreciated unknown bliss

JORDAN BARANIECKIPhilosophical

The unknown has always been a fearful circumstance because we want the answers to something right now and we want them presented right in front of us.

Living with that mentality is convenient, it’s easy and it’s simple. Life as we know it now will never be the same simple as it was before. 50 years from now it will be a different kind of simple, yet I have no idea how exactly it will look.

But that does not mean I’m afraid of what is in store. Of course there is a level of anxiety that comes with not knowing something, but the curiosity is the drive we really need in order to make an impact for positive change in the world.

Maybe I’m coming off as a global idealist but I believe that everything can start from a simple idea.

For this argument about the unknown, it does not matter how the world came to be. But focusing on the belief that man developed over time is essential.

The answers to survival were not known to man and needed to be experienced to be understood. Where would we be if man never discovered or feared fire? Heat is such an essential part of life that we take for granted, but remember that it was once unknown to us.

The difficulty of wrapping our minds around these ideas comes from the huge gap between something that is the way it is right now and knowing where it came from. It’s about knowledge. The only thing that matters about where something came from is how it once came to be. From there, we can understand where it is going in the future.

In a way we can predict where the future is going by looking into the past to discover patterns of how things evolved over time.

Plato wrote in Phaedo about a theory called the “Argument of Opposites.” The premise of this was that all things were created by opposites. The future only exists with the past. So when we know about the past, we can know about the future quite easily — which is why the unknown really isn’t scary at all.

Take the example of online reading. We can buy and read books online which is much easier than getting ourselves to a bookstore or library to check one out. Take your thinking one step further and you can understand the opposing outcome: bookstores will slowly become less important.

But what if we look at it from another perspective? Books will turn into something that can be read on the computer, phone or tablet. Is that more beneficial than a physical copy of a book? What if I am more susceptible to develop issues with my eyes?

I am writing this article on an iPad and I am exposed to the internal lights that emit from it. Sure I can turn down the brightness but over time I believe I might develop eye problems. I may very well have to get glasses when I’m 30, or may develop cataracts, which is caused by unprotected exposure to light.

I am not a scientist, but basic common sense is all you need to realize that it is easy to see these things if we just think beyond what is known to us. There is a consequence for everything.

If we acknowledge different things and have a small portion of anticipation for what will happen in the future, we will know what will come next without fear of not being ready.

So what about the present moment? Where does that fall in the importance of our lives? The most important aspect of the present moment is being one with your mind so we are not either dwelling on the past or anxious about the future.

The beauty of something right now is that it’s all you need. Spend time in the present moment with someone you really cherish, read a good book, go for a run — but just think about those things as they are right at that very moment. You don’t need to be thinking about what you’re having for dinner, what homework needs to be done or what new meme you’re missing out on. Be in the now.

If you’re dwelling on the mistakes you’ve made in the past or over-thinking your future, when are you ever going to live in the present moment?

The right now is known to you and is that not what we are striving for? The way we experience life is through curiosity and the root of being curious is to not be afraid of something foreign.

We can have all the answers to the immediate future, and depending on how far we think ahead there is a lot we can learn to better our own lives and the lives of others. Just be careful with thinking about the future and remember to live in this very moment for all it’s worth.

  • Hmm

    I appreciate what you’re getting at but this article reads like an eleventh-grader’s English essay.

    • slh

      yup sure does.

  • Student

    Sounds like the author didn’t have enough time to finish his article by the deadline so he just copy and pasted a first year philosophy assignment.

  • angry foodie

    Wow. Reads like 7 grams of mushrooms and a word processor was all he needed.

  • A

    If the Opinions Column matters at all to The Sheaf you’d think they’d reach out to people with a better writing skill set. Too many cry babies and fifth graders throwing around under researched and under developed opinions like monkeys throwing their own shit.

  • G. Erickson

    Interesting how the “academics” of the world can’t wait to be critical. The writer’s opinion is both a pretty simple concept, and thankfully, a pretty simple read. I’m confident the piece will be under-appreciated by the young, especially those trying to figure out who they are. I also like a “byline” on opinion pieces, instead of the incessant nattering by people who quiver behind the shroud of WWW anonymity. For a 50-something like myself…the writer’s concept is poignant stuff because I possess the benefit of many years of adult life experience to reflect upon. It’s the kind of experience that certainly lends perspective. Many of you will eventually find that a “degree in street smarts” has significant value. You cannot buy this with a student loan. Jordan, thanks for keeping it simple!

    • Yup

      All sheaf articles disclose who they’re by.