What Amazes You?

I’m amazed by things big (like the universe) and small (like an heirloom seed). One is 13.8 billion years old and dying very slowly. The other is sitting in dormancy until the right conditions allow it to give birth to another version of itself.

What amazes you? All answers — grandiose and / or commonplace — are welcomed.

Related questions: How can we maintain wonder?  What is important? Why do we like what we like? Why are things amazing?

5 thoughts on “What Amazes You?”

  1. I am amazed by the natural world. The fact that a seed, so small that I could hold hundreds of them in the palm of my hand, contains everything it needs to grow a plant taller than me in only 4 months is amazing.
    The complexity of even a single human cell is mind blowing. “No human invention can compete with the technical brilliance evident in even the most basic of cells”- The Origin of Life – Five Questions Worth Asking.
    Every time I view the moon, Saturn and Jupiter through my son’s telescope I stand in awe at the vastness of the universe.

  2. One of the things I find most fascinating about the world is how often we find that two opposite things happen to be true at the same time.

    For example, human beings are both insignificant in the vast cosmos, little more than a speck of dust on an unremarkable planet circling a tiny star in one of billions of galaxies, but also hugely important as the only form of life (that we know of) that has tried to understand the universe.

    Or, if we try to classify our understanding of the world (and of the universe) we know more than any other humans at any other point in history. And yet we know almost nothing, and the future humans will almost certainly laugh at our ignorance.

    Our history as a species is full of soaring moments of greatness as well as shameful acts of depravity. Similarly, as an individual I have done great things and awful things. Should I be proud or embarrassed?

    I try to embrace both opposing views at the same time, but it can be very difficult. Am I tiny and unimportant, or a wonder to be cherished? Well, both, really, and I do my best to be humble yet confident. But sometimes I careen off into arrogance or spiral down to hopelessness.

    1. Lee:

      I’m curious if you think that the more we learn, the more we know what we don’t know. By this I mean, is the future a future when / where we have both increased certainty and known uncertainty at the same time … in fact, the uncertainties grow faster? Or, are or will we reach a point where we get closer to big truths where the uncertainties decline?

      Also, I like your use of the words “humble yet confident.” I try my best to be the same as well.

      Michael

      1. I also like the “humble yet confident” statement. Humility is a goal of mine and it seems like I have my work cut out for me.

      2. I just realized that I never answered Michael’s reply…. shame on me. But better late than never!

        I believe that knowledge is an ever growing thing. The more answers we get, the more questions that arise. We know much more than has ever been known before, but we are no nearer any ultimate understanding. If anything, we get farther and farther away.

        I am reminded of a fractal curve. In the mathematics of chaos theory, there are fractal curves that seem to have certain shape, but the more you zoom in on them, the more crags and juts appear. It never stops — you can continue to zoom in, closer and closer, and the edges get more and more detailed.

        In my mind, that’s the way knowledge works. Each breakthrough, every discovery, each innovation, opens up more frontiers.

        I have a number of books that outline various areas of knowledge: mathematics, chemistry, law, psychology, engineering, computers, etc. Each page is an important discovery and the year in which it occurred. In every single book, the recent discoveries vastly outnumber historical ones. In most books, the latter half of the book corresponds to the last 100 years.

        The pattern is clear. The more we know, the more there is to learn. This will always be the case, I think.

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