Frank Herbert published the first of his epic sci/fi series, Dune in the late 1965. Ask anyone remotely interested in the sci/fi genre, and they will (or at the very least, ought to) point you to the Dune series as the landmark trilogy that started it all. Filled with politics, ploys, assassinations, worldviews, and existential questions, the Dune series does not play around, except with just about every philosophical notion plaguing mankind.
Why do I bring this all up? Well, for one reason, I freaking love the Dune series, and everyone should try to read the first novel. I know it’s not for everyone, but everyone ought to give it a go. Secondly, I’m bringing it up as an introduction to an example that will introduce this blog’s topic, found in the title. Yes, it’s a roundabout way of doing things, but stick with me, it’s gonna be great.
In the third novel, The Children of Dune, one of the main characters, Leto, poses a question to his protector and father-like figure, Stilgar, as they are arguing over the way a government or society should be run. He says, “Have you noticed, Stil, how beautiful the young women are this year?”
The chapter ends, and the one immediately following details all of Stilgar’s thoughts as he considers the nature of tradition and its place within a societal structure. Stilgar begins to reconsider his own position and calls into question some of his most fundamental beliefs about how things should be, all from a silly little question: “Have you noticed, Stil, how beautiful the young women are this year?”
I would not be writing this blog post, much less using this example from the book, if I had not experienced an exactly similar interaction with a friend of mine. We had gone for an easy run around the block, and I had gotten caught up in explaining to her the nature of G.K. Chesterton’s beliefs about optimism, pessimism, suicide, and how one ought to go about changing the world. After making my point, she responded, “So what do you do with all this knowledge?”
I was so taken aback by the question, I paused for a step, two steps, four steps, then ten steps, and eventually replied with, “I sit on it.” Wow. Great answer, Seth.
As I sit and consider the question now, “So what do you do with all your knowledge?”, I have come to a conclusion or an epiphany, if you prefer that word.
To speak frankly, I don’t share my knowledge/insights/experiences with people very often. For several reasons. Maybe, I think, they won’t be interested. They might hear what I have to say and consider me an overzealous nerd, who gets excited when I talk philosophy or worldview or science or religion. Perhaps they would prefer to talk about easier things, such as the latest Netflix show, or someone’s Snap Story that day (Look, I get it. I’m not saying it’s dumb to talk about those things, but how much effort do they require? How much meaningful conversation comes from discussing snapchat?)
I might not want to share with someone, because, honestly, I don’t want to talk and would prefer to be introverted and keep to myself. And perhaps they may rather keep to themselves and not talk. Who knows?
But why shouldn’t I share with someone a topic or an idea that gets me excited? Have you ever seen someone who knows what they’re talking about (not in a arrogant and pretentious way) and they get excited about it? That’s infectious. Some of the best teachers I’ve ever had have been the one’s who get excited about the material. Now that’s something worth talking about it, a passion, an idea that gets you out of bed in the morning.
And I guess that’s where I’d like to land with this post. What kind of knowledge do you possess that others could benefit from? What thing do you get excited or passionate about, that’s hard to stop talking about? Maybe, that is the latest Netflix show. It certainly could be. Find someone who gets you more excited about your passion. Find a group of people who encourage you to continue in that passion, especially if your passion and idea brings benefit to others. Take a moment to consider others ideas and passions (even if it is Netflix shows or Snap Stories), and give them the chance to share their passion with another human being.
“So what do you do with all this knowledge?”
In response to the question: I will ask the awkward questions to get people thinking. I will talk, and get excited, even if it’s weird to show interest or passion sometimes. (The cool, detached, indifferent vibe is rather popular these days.) I would highly encourage you to do the same. After all, my passion is not about me. It’s about seeing others catch on to that passion and watching them grow into their own ideas and beliefs, and seeing that process repeated. It’s not about me or my ideas, at least if it were, it would be a lame world to live in.
I believe that this life is so much more than just what we see day to day. Something deeper is going on all around us, and all we have to do is take the time to step back, switch off the auto-pilot and think. It’s not about us. See, there I go, getting excited about something. If you’re wondering what that something is, check out some of my other blogs, namely The Story of My Life and Relational Gospel.
As always, shoot me an email or a text with your thoughts.