Devin Halladay

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What I Know About Life

I like to think that I know a lot about life: that I'm wiser than my age lends me to be, that I know some small secret of this infinitely gigantic universe that helps me see the world differently than everyone else.

On a small scale—my school, my city, the state, the country, even the Earth—that might be true. To some that statement is one of arrogance, and they might be right: maybe these thoughts of mine are all just part of my "teenage rebellion years" (oh, how I hate that term), and maybe I'll grow out of them as the world consumes me in my far-too-rapidly increasing age. But they might be wrong. Maybe I really am aware of something that everyone else is oblivious to. But I digress. On a large scale, an infinite one—the entire universe, and every bit of the future universe as it continues to expand into nothingness, into "everythingness"—I know nothing.

The universe, and every bit of knowledge and wisdom it contains, is infinite. How can I possibly know anything at all in comparison to all the potential knowledge lingering in the breath of life itself? The amount of information out there in the cosmos is terrifying and mesmerizing—there is so much to learn that I cannot even fathom to scale of it all.

Comparing knowledge to water: everything I know, everything I will ever know, is but a single drop in the crowded blue ocean. And that ocean is ever-growing, ever-changing, ever-bluing; so my drop of water becomes more and more insignificant as time goes on, as more water—more knowledge and wisdom—is added to the ocean. Although my drop of water is singular and is nothing without the other drops in the ocean, it is still a part of the flowing, churning, ever-bluing body of water. My drop contributes to every other drop as it wiggles and flows and bumps into or passes other drops. As my drop glides freely past the others, it rubs off on them, and they on it. My knowledge and wisdom are continually growing, and they are continually dripped into the knowledge pools of everyone with whom I cross paths.

That's the beauty of knowledge and wisdom. They are never stationary—they always grow and morph, contribute and take, move and deepen. In the same sense, my shallow pool of knowledge and wisdom will continue to grow and morph, contribute and take, move and deepen until my mind can no longer consume it. It gives me a sense of comfort—hope, even—to know that even as my world crashes down or builds upward, stagnates or perpetuates, I will not cease learning.

On a smaller scale—cities, states, planets—I know lots of things. I know how to express my most impossible thoughts and feelings through writing, and I know that writing will continue to save me from the things I don't understand in this world until I finally slow down and let the Earth consume my body. I know that a thought by itself may be insignificant, but that together with those of my peers, it can change something in our crumbling society. I know that quality, deep thought is my right and obligation as a human being, and that I can never let anyone or anything take that right away from me.

I know that despite the fact that I will be gone one day, turned to dust and quite possibly forgotten, I need to make the most of my life. I need to continue to share my knowledge—to share my wisdom—in hopes that one day my knowledge, my single drop of water, might fill an ocean.


Published on Tuesday 27 May 2014

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