Excitonium. Never heard of it? Guess why. It was just discovered. You can read about it in the 13 December 2017 issue of Newsweek, which begins with: “After 50 years of theories and thwarted attempts, scientists have finally proved the existence of a new form of matter. The never-before-detected condensate is called excitonium.” You can also Google-search it and be presented with over 400,000 entries to peruse.
You might not get all excited about the discovery of a new form of matter, but physicists who study such things are singing the Hallelujah chorus while dancing the samba. It’s NEW . . . and it remains to be seen how understanding and using it might affect life on planet earth.
Discovery. Learning. Newness. Human beings seem programmed to pursue knowledge . . . either for practicality’s sake or for the simply joy of knowing. My mother used to say with relish and appreciation, “I learn something new every day.” It might be a new recipe or the fact that Sana'a is the seat of government of Yemen (and one of the oldest inhabited cities in the world). My observation is that discovering new things generally gives people pleasure and often invigorates their lives.
While we sometimes learn things accidently, the learning process most often needs to be intentional. Books (the library, even), educational TV programs, formal courses, and now the internet all lay the world at our feet. Individual interests, of course, vary considerably. But having no interests and being content as an intellectual sluggard makes Jack a dull boy and Jill a dull girl.
Be curious. Be bold. Be determined. Study the life cycle of sockeye salmon . . . or investigate the history of the women’s suffrage movement in the U.S. . . . or, whatever might draw your interest. Such exercises will enhance your own life, will give you interesting things to talk about with friends, and just might enable you to affect some positive changes in our world.