I’ve heard a common theme as of late – scientists are kids who never grew up.
Why is this so?
What is the job of a scientist? To live and work in the middle between what is known and what is unknown. Every single day, humanity gains new insights into life and the universe.
How do we achieve such a feat? Because the human mind has this perpetual desire to seek out answers about the world we live in.
This continuous motivation to explore and uncover truths about who we are and about the world we live in is an innate quality, one that was a major, if not the biggest contributor of the scientific revolution.
If you look at a child, their whole existence is based around learning and exploration. As adults, we squash that curiosity in the name of acceptable and reasonable behaviour.
Once kids get to school, their sense of curiosity is suppressed even further. One must follow structure and guidelines and stick within the boundaries of an artificially designed system that suffocates creativity and curiosity.
We get to adulthood, and by then the ego has made up its mind about most things. The ego of the mind builds hundreds of thousands of connections and associations, making everything seem familiar, routinised and rote.
We look at a tree, for example and because of our conditioning, we see it as just simply a ‘tree’.
“What is so interesting about a tree? There is nothing new or interesting about a tree, as I see them everywhere I go”.
The truth is though, you only hold a minuscule amount of information about that tree. Your ego tells you that you know all there is to know, as the associations and connections built in the mind over time make it a familiar object in your minds eye.
But the reality is, you know very little about that tree. All you know is that it sticks out from the ground and looks green. You might also know intellectually that the tree sucks in carbon dioxide and breathes out oxygen that gives us life.
But still, this is just a tiny amount of knowledge you hold about that tree. And yet, the ego has you believe that you know everything that there is to know about that tree, and so you come to your conclusions about it and form your own biased beliefs around it, without even questioning what else there is to know.
This is the unfortunate reality of the effects that our conditioning through childhood and adolescence has on what it means to live fully and inquisitively.
Some like to hold strong beliefs in how we were created. The issue with that is, you have already made up your mind as to what is and what isn’t and so your innate sense of inquisitiveness is overwritten.
Galileo, the famous scientist of the 14th and 15th century said, “The Bible shows the way to go to heaven, not the way the heavens go.” He himself were a man of religion, but knew where to draw the line in the sand between biblical literature and scientific truth.
I use a tree as an example, but this can apply to absolutely anything.
So then, why do they refer to the scientist as a child who never grew up? Because like a child, scientists are constantly questioning, observing and exploring in the name of creativity and curiosity.
I feel like this is very relevant, also on a spiritual level. If you think about spirituality, one of the main objectives is to detach ones true self from the ego of the mind. When one can achieve that, they then begin to view the world in a new way.
A lot of esoteric practices, such as mindfulness meditation advocate achieving a state of ‘beginners mind’.
This beginners mind can be compared to that of a child, where by everything is new and intriguing. Once the true self can detach from the ego, those old associations in the mind become more and more redundant, leaving the individual in a state of awe and curiosity far more often than one who is still entangled with the egoic mind.