Is there anything left to explore? For centuries, people have discovered & rediscovered, explored & reexplored and learned & relearned. Each time the circumstances have been different, a different time with different values. Curiosity based on curiosity or curiosity fuelled by the promise of wealth. In each time there have been overwhelming influencing factors, the pursuit of survival, salvation, happiness, or answers to the meaning of life.
Stories of things once discovered were forgotten, records of events or findings recorded in books were lost in the depths of libraries, public and private. And the sheer volume of information meant that it was not uncommon, in the bliss of naivety, that a path, perhaps even a well-trodden path, would once again be revealed afresh for a new generation. Naively or ignorantly?
Ignorance or naivety
There is a difference between ignorance and naivety. Naivety is informed optimism, where ignorance, through no fault of its own, is not yet informed. So, although almost every path has been trod, in some cases more times than we can even imagine, reexploring them naively can have meaning and relevance for us today or tomorrow, as it may well have had in times past.
Some people enjoy rediscovering the paths that our ancestors first laid out over mountain tops, underground, across seas and latterly in the skies. Connecting with the past, to understand what moved peoples before us and absorbing what was good and learning from that which is better left undisturbed.
There is so much information about everything, wrestled from the minds of our predecessors, categorised, detailed, and laid out in the form of well-trodden paths. And it is through standing on the shoulders of previous generations that we can be giants of knowledge. But we should not kid ourselves that we are smarter than they were. After all, they discovered where to look and what to focus on. They have left us all their signposts and so we should not forget that we are merely the somewhat naive beneficiaries of well-trodden paths.