Sunday, June 1, 2008

What Is An Explorer's View Of Life?

There have always been explorers from the earliest times of human existence. Sometimes they were driven to explore by desperate circumstances following famines or drought. Most of the time it was just a part of their nature. They couldn't not explore.

Where others were content, they were driven to learn. It was sometimes not a survival trait, at least not for the explorer. For the tribe, having explorers in their midst usually provided an evolutionary and competitive advantage.

In those early times, exploration usually meant seeking out new territory. Learning what was over the next hill, what was around the next corner. Those were the days of the physical explorers whose current embodiment are the astronauts who may soon be living, and dying, on the Moon or Mars.

But there have always been intellectual explorers as well. In the beginning they were the shamans who sought the reasons for disease and misfortune, who wondered about the healing powers of herbs and plants, about the forces that moved the moon and the stars, who wondered at the seasons and the storms, who found the behaviour of animals and other members of their tribes of compelling interest. They guessed at explanations and put those guesses to the test with little understanding of the laws of science or the ubiquity of coincidence.

As always for explorers there is trial and a great deal of error.

But because of their courage to explore, we all learned. Gradually and painfully.

I'm not an explorer in those grand terms. I am an explorer on a more personal scale. I love to travel and love to meet people and love to learn. I love to try new things. I am restless for novelty and adventure. Although usually those adventures are of the intellectual kind.

It makes for an interesting life.