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The Gold in the Gaps

As a species we can’t seem to tolerate incomplete pictures. We can’t accept that the ruddy, pitted and incomplete landscape of experience and knowledge is beautiful in its own right, full of potential and possibility. The extent of reality we currently know about is a mere drop in the ocean when compared to the questions we will be answering in the near and distant future.

There are those who generally don’t like the hard work it takes to fill in those ruts, so they construct huge works of fiction – intricate and fantastic tapestries to lay over the ugly pitted truth of reality. The holes we should be exploring and working hard to fill are instead covered with a thin and beautiful, albeit fragile, veneer. Looking out at the perfectly sculpted and smooth landscape, they’re content to dust off their hands and commend themselves on a job well done. But the holes are still there, obscured and treacherous. And because it looks good, they are perfectly happy to hand this botched and hazardous mess off to their kids.

I know that I, like many of you, have broken through the beautiful lie, to lay dazed for a time on the uneven ground below. It’s terrifying, exciting, and far more interesting than anything I was told to accept as “true” up there.

There’s a funny idiom that comes to mind – “it’s always in the last place you look.” It’s funny to me because once you found something, why would you keep looking, right? But in this case it’s a double-edged sword. Because of the sheer amount of misinformation out there, what if all you found was a fabrication or a lie? Can you imagine the tragedy of living that life thinking you no longer had to seek truth because the veneer explained it all? Progress and enlightenment would come to a standstill, leaving us all stagnant, boring, and laughing inanely at Jersey Shore.

There is a symbol in mathematics as well as written language. It’s simple, concise, inspiring, limitless and humble; it’s the perfect placeholder for truth, but it isn’t used nearly enough in this age of information and answers: ?.

Don’t be afraid. There’s gold in these hills!

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