Knowledge is a wonderful thing. The universe is filled with an unimaginable array of information. Any one individual can only ever hope to grasp a minuscule slice of that pie. The more I read and the more I learn, the more aware I become of how much I don’t know and the more intrigued I become in how the world works.
Today I was cutting a pineapple and as I performed this always humbling (my edible yield is always quite depressing) yet always rewarding task I started to think about the evolutionary process of this round and pointy fruit.
I believe in evolution as I believe in gravity but I can’t pretend to be an expert on the subject. The extent of my knowledge of evolution is a rough collage of facts and ideas copied and pasted from the few pages of some textbook I read in middle school, the conversations involved with befriending an ecologist, and having dated a girl who would have stalked Charles Darwin had she been lucky enough to be waiting on the dock when The Beagle returned home. In short, I don’t know much.
Despite my lack of understanding of the subtleties of the evolutionary process, as I tried to salvage as much of my pineapple as possible I was pretty certain pineapples hadn’t evolved for human consumption. As I’m sure you are now, I started wondering about the exact evolutionary path pineapples took to end up on my counter, frustrating me with its needless complexity (for my purposes at least). With the internet not at hand and my knowledge based only on a few likely out-of-date pages and a dozen half-forgotten conversations I wasn’t able to develop any ground-breaking theories of pineapplean evolution.
But that is the great thing about knowledge! Someone, somewhere out there knows the evolutionary process that pineapples took, and if nobody does, there is likely someone who at least has a theory or someone who is trying to figure it out.
When I think about all the knowledge that is out there to learn I sometimes get overwhelmed. Think about all the things you’ll likely never know: how many grains of sand in a teaspoon, the exact material composition of tile, how CERN gets those particles moving so damned fast (magnets are involve…right?…wrong?). And on top of that when we do learn we are apt to forget. I’m sure most of you at one point knew the atomic number of iron or the quadratic equation or the birthday of your second boyfriend or girlfriend only to now have forgotten (don’t know, don’t know, June 14th…booya, memory! 1 for 3 ain’t bad).
But as my memory proves, we remember the important things, the things that matter to us. I don’t have much need to know iron’s atomic number or the quadratic equation, but I’m still friends with my second girlfriend and I want to remember to call her and wish her a happy birthday when the middle of June rolls around. I read recently that the more we study a subject the more likely we are to remember new information about that topic. Maybe that’s why I did better in my economics classes than I did in my general education classes (maybe I’m just more interested in economics than Caribbean literature). When it comes down to it I didn’t enjoy the pitiful amount of edible product I wrestled from the grasps of my withholding pineapple any less because the specifics of its evolution remained a mystery. (I’ve been told pineapple grow on bushes that only ever fruit once… though I can’t confirm that claim enough to promote it beyond mere hearsay.)
So, we’ve covered two of the subjects in the title and I’m sure your itching for the third: changes. I briefly mentioned in my last update that there is a chance I could be moving. I’ll stay in the same town, but I’ll be moving houses. That’s still likely to happen though there has been no progression toward the actual move. The other big change that has happened is that my counterpart Sekouba is being transferred to another CAFODEC office in Guinea. He’s leaving this week and will be replaced by a supervisor from another town. I’ve met this new guy a couple times now and I can’t say quite yet whether the change will be for the best or not, but I’m maintaining a positive attitude. That’s not to say that these changes haven’t been frustrating or stressful, just that I’m trying to remain flexible and open-minded during the transition.
Stay posted for more soon… 🙂