I’d call it being blind-sided. Something happens, some idea enters your head, some “data” is presented to you…something that brings about confusion and doubt. Serious doubt. Something that causes you to question almost everything you’ve ever learned.
Has it ever happened to you? It happened to me. Let me tell you about it.
It was just another nature show. I enjoy watching two programs on PBS, Nova and Nature, though I do not watch them religiously, just when the mood strikes me. And recently, the mood struck me while I was flipping between channels, trying to find something of interest, something that would be neither insulting in its stupidity nor challenging in it depth. I didn’t want to have to think; I wanted to be entertained. I got something else.
I stumbled across a Nature program entitled What Plants Talk About. Watching that program changed the way I think about the world around me. Maybe it was just the mood I was in…maybe I was receptive to something that would challenge my basic assumptions about the world and didn’t even know it. Whatever it was, I question my assumptions, and the assumptions I believe we all make, about the world around us.
Can plants “think?” Is that a stupid question? Or is it a question that we don’t ask because we think it would make us look stupid if we ask it? After watching the program, I no longer think it’s a stupid question. And I don’t think it’s stupid to question other things we “know.” Can insects feel pain? And does it matter? Is our “universe” just a tiny dot in a much, much bigger existence? Does time fold back on itself? Could it be that every possible permutation of our own universe, including the people in it and their conversations and experiences, are duplicated billions upon billions of times across the full expanse of existence? Those questions arose after I watched this one program. I’ve embedded it below. Maybe I’ve overreacted. But I’ll never know. There’s too much to know for me to understand whether it’s an overreaction or not.