Exploration captivates the human psyche. There's something noble about wandering off into uncharted, untamed land. Many people would risk their lives to be the first to see a new island, a new planet, a new sun in the sky.
Our ancestors were explorers. The ones who preferred to stay put limited themselves to what they had. Their cousins with wanderlust inherited the rest of the Earth.
There's that saying about how we're born too late to explore the Earth and too soon to explore the galaxy.
I wonder if that's true. The Earth still has uncharted territories. Even if we map the surface, that leaves the ocean floor. And under the surface, too.
Also, who says that we will not get to see the galaxy? Maybe we're the first folk to live forever. Maybe cheaper faster-than-light travel is a decade away.
In any case, it does not matter. If you have the urge to explore, then you have options.
The first is to find some corner of the world that's new to you. It's still exploration, even if others have seen it before.
The second is to turn your horizon-hungry eyes inwards. You have a rich, unexplored universe floating between your ears.
You might think you know what goes on inside your mind. I promise that there's always more to explore.
If the surface of the Earth (including oceans) represents your mind, how much of that is what you already conscious experience?
Is it about a hemisphere?
Maybe a city?
Well, I had fun finding some numbers. If we take the research of a scientist called Nørretranders, we get some interesting comparisons.
If a map of the Earth is our mind, then our consciousness is about:
- 6% the size of Belgium,
- one and a half times the size of Sydney,
- five times the size of the Isle of Wight,
- half the size of Yosemite National Park.
(Assuming my calculations are correct. I was working with some strange numbers here.)
And that's very generous in favor of consciousness. Modern research casts doubt on Nørretranders' numbers – what you're aware of is probably only a fraction of that. But let's take it as a given.
Imagine having an planet planet to explore, but only spending time in one large city. You could live a full life there. There's enough for you to grow up, work, study, learn, fall in and out of love, and go on wild adventures in this city.
Then imagine if you left.
What if you chartered a plane and just left. You took off to chase the horizon, only returning when you wanted to.
No one could ever see it all. You might find a favorite shoreline and spend your time exploring that, or you could always be on the move. Either way, you've never run out of things to learn.
This world inside of you is vast. Like the Earth, it's finite but beyond any human's lifetime. And, like the Earth, it holds treasures beyond what the first explorers could imagine.