kindergarten cosmology

“Logic: The art of thinking and reasoning in strict accordance with

the limitations and incapacities of human misunderstanding.”

-Ambrose Bierce

Kindergarten is a common word around the world, from the German, translating as literally ‘children’s garden.’ Cosmology comes from the Greek, a composite of two words, cosmos which is translated as ‘world’ in it’s broadest ordered sense, and logia translated as ‘discourse.’ Kindergarten cosmology is a discourse about the world order fitting for a child in a garden.

The striving to understand our place in the cosmos is as old as is the mind of man, which evolves. Understanding expands. From simplistic cosmologies the mind matures and grasps more complicated orders of the world, not unlike a baby growing into an adult. Gradually, with natural maturation, a greater sense of belonging emerges along with a greater sense of awe for the larger cosmos is ultimately much more comprehensive than any logic can grasp or express. Kindergarten cosmology is that set of understandings applicable to the young mind and often presented as myths or fairy tales. In most situations, these myths and fairy tales originate from peoples who themselves are still trying to figure things out. The history of humanity is one of figuring things out.

When not knowing is the abhorrent reality, to make up something or grasp at slivers of wisdom serves to sustain the perception of knowing. Even partial valid knowledge is….not knowing, for it is incomplete. Complete knowledge is a journey without at destination. Or, as has been said, the journey itself is the destination. Observation of a young child who without knowing they don’t know, is fully engaged in learning, is seen more often than not as joyous. Most adults who know, or think they know, are, more often than not, seen as miserable. The attitude of ‘life-long learning’ goes a long way in supporting a joyous journey. The general health and well-being of a people represents the cosmology under which those people live in the world. You may not be conscious of it, but you harbor a cosmology that frames the order of your mind.

Even when there is knowing, that knowing can be intricate and complex, thus requiring the need to simplify for the sake of understanding and transmission to others. Many cultures through time around the world have creation stories, which is a cosmology. Some stories suggest ‘creation’ while others promote ‘evolution’ while yet others emphasize ‘seeding.’ Some stories imply arising out of the slime while others lean towards being planted by aliens. Some are quite simplistic, others extraordinarily sophisticated. What modern man may consider primitive peoples had a cosmology that sustained them for thousands of years, if not longer. The cosmology of modern man appears to be flawed in that it yields excessive amounts of poverty, illness, alienation and violence.

Young cultures will naturally have more kindergarten cosmology than advanced cultures. Kindergarten cultures will also have a fair amount of absurdities, such as when a child asks where do babies come from, the answer that children are delivered by a stork is….of course, irrational, illogical, absurd and ridiculous. And yet, it does suggest that a larger natural force is involved in delivering us, from where ever we were. Diversion can serve to avoid the discomfort in not knowing. The question is not who delivers babies, but where do babies come from? That is a valid cosmological question. Where do we come from? Where are we now? How did we get here? Where is ‘here?’ How do we get to where we want to go? And, of course, the age old adage to ‘know thyself’ is of cosmological significance for this self is an integral part of the cosmos in the same way a tree is an integral part of the planet. A tree is as much an expression of a cosmology as is a worm, a microbe, or any living form within a planetary whole, including you.

The logic of the cosmos is more inclusive, more comprehensive, than all the other logics of man-made investigations into the organization of some aspect of the whole cosmos, such as the logic of bios, or psyche, or socios, or geo, or techno, or eco, neuro, patho, chrono, mytho, astro, theo, etio, paleo etymo, electro, anthropo, etc., etc., etc., There are so many logics!  The study of, for example, biology, or geology, or any ‘logy’ is the endeavor to understand the whole of it.

The ultimate questions harbored in the mind and heart of mankind are cosmological. Cosmologic is the big picture, all the other logics are segments and aspects, pieces and fragments, if even holographic, of the largest organized whole. You are an aspect, a segment, a piece, a representative, a holograph, of that largest organized whole whether or not you believe or accept that in much the same way water is a configuration of hydrogen and oxygen atoms if even perceived as just wet liquid. Logic in any area is the application of reason to acquire understanding. There are layers of understanding. Kindergarten understanding, kindergarten cosmology, is applicable for kindergartners only. College level cosmology awaits and is attained through natural maturation. By way of analogy (another one of those logy words), kindergarten cosmology is like monosyllabic words and college cosmology is polysyllabic words. A monotheistic order is simplistic whereas a polytheistic order is complex. As the mind expands, so does the conceived cosmos, and various ways of expressing that understanding. 

To aim for full understanding is admirable, but rarely achieved without the realization of not knowing as the very basic foundation of all knowing. Until we know we don’t know, knowing is blocked, obstructed, prevented, by it’s own surety. Once we know, or think we know, certainty becomes a limitation, a restriction. In the context of self-knowledge, the quest for this understanding is internal. The questioning and challenging evident in the reasoned approach to knowing is directed towards our own beliefs, conclusions, assumptions and fabrications, our own calcified and condensed thought, all that has been taught and learned, in a time-bound cultural setting which, by definition, is limited. What you think you know about your self is but a grain of sand on the vast expansive cosmic beach. What you don’t know is boundless, without limits. Reclaim this not knowing foundation and become open to that which is fresh.

“Not knowing when the dawn will come I open every door.”

– Emily Dickinson

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