Wednesday, February 04, 2009

The Train Leaves At 3:15 Sharp

So, I've been dicking around on WEbook a little. I read this one piece by some guy. It's a little outside-the-box, but then, boxes are for squares.

Anyway, I just thought I should keep my posts flowing here, so I just thought I'd write a bit here even if it's nothing entirely important. Honestly, if you're reading this at all, there's probably nothing especially pressing on your To-Do list for the day. So, take a second and go for a metaphorical walk with me, will you?

It gets scary some days, thinking you're one of the last sane people on Earth. You know, they say that a million people can't be wrong. Well, if a million people walk off a cliff and plummet to their deaths, I'd go so far as to say they were wrong. The cliff, of course, if metaphorical. I'm talking more about things in our everyday lives. Things that, while they won't kill you quickly, will likely kill a couple brain cells, as well as drastically cut your opportunities for the future by closing your mind to the unordinary. That, by the way, is a new word I'm coining. Use it in your own everyday speech if you like it.

The thing is, most people stay with what they know in their lives. They're resistant to change, and for good reason. New things are unknown things, and if there's one thing mankind fears above all else, it's what he doesn't know. Ironically, people will say they want to pursue knowledge, only to find out that they were happier not knowing things. Like, how is a hot dog made? How many bacteria are living on the keyboard I am typing on this very second? What do third-degree burns feel like? Exactly how many polyps do I have in my colon right now? These are things I probably don't want to know.

I know those are extreme examples, but the truth is that pretty much all knowledge comes with consequences, and they're usually unpleasant. A wise man once said if you keep too much of an open mind, your brains will fall out. By the same token, though, if your mind stays too closed, it'll suffocate and leave you a drooling dunce.

So, like all things, we must strive for that perfect balance. We must acquire enough knowledge to get by, and for some of us, we need quite a bit to feel fulfilled. At the same time, though, we must remain ignorant enough to keep from becoming utterly insane. Believe me, this can and will happen. Some of the smartest people on Earth are sitting in a padded room agonizing over what the well-read refer to as "the imponderables."

Anyway, that's what I've been working for. I'm stupid, though. I always want to learn more, because I'm a curious creature by nature. Inevitably, though, I'll probably end up going off the deep end without even realizing it. After all, it's not as though you wake up one morning stark raving mad. It's something you move slowly towards. Not coincidentally, this is the same trend by which one becomes a learned, intelligent person.

In truth, I think that ultimate knowledge is, in itself, insanity. What we consider sane is base on us having certain expectations of our world, and as long as we keep those, our minds are closed to the deepest depths of knowledge. This is both good and bad, since we don't want to be crazy, but we also thirst for knowledge.

It's a matter of greed, really. Nobody honestly needs to know everything there is to know, but we still want to. The trick is trying to figure out when we know enough. But, like the love of money, food, or any other vice, the love of knowledge is unquenchable. The more you acquire, the more you'll want.

So, what it comes down to, if you ask me, is figuring out when to call it quits. Sooner or later, you just have to close the book and quit cold turkey. Either that, or keep the advance of your knowledge gradual enough that your mind can slowly expand to encompass it. Like how you let your pants out after Thanksgiving dinner. Don't want to bust the seam and send a button flying across the room and break the lamp. That's the pants metaphor for a mental hospital.

I've tried several times in vain to close this train of thought, but maybe this time I will for real. Because that is the ultimate lesson here: moderation. You have to know when to put a lid on it. I'm sure I have plenty more to say, but I'm not going to, because just like the acquisition of knowledge, the dispersal of it must be taken in moderation. So, before I go any further, I'm going to shut up now.

Peace and lover, readers.

Oh, and if you're still reading, do yourself a favor and remember when to quit. You'll be left wanting more, but that'll always be the case. Better to stop and be left wanting more than keep going and want even more. Still with me? Good. I guess that means we're not crazy yet.

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