It's such a pleasure to not know everything. I really mean that. Just imagine how boring everything would be were we to know everything, if there were nothing left to learn or discover. I can't imagine what a dull existence is the fate of an all knowing creator, if such an entity exists. We humans however are far removed from having to worry about that.
One of my favorite things to do is to gaze into the night sky, as it never fails to give me a deep sense of wonder and awe. Just to see those twinkling little lights, and to realize that some of those lights took billions of years to reach my eyes, when light travels at the ludicrous speed of more than 300,000 kilometres per second, makes me feel tiny and grand at the same time. For me, it's the stuff that's farthest away from us that makes me feel connected most with everything and everyone. It also makes me realize that there's so much we do not yet know. And although the unknown is also one of the main drivers of fear, gazing into the great unknown depths of the night sky never makes me afraid, just curious and connected.
The same can't be said, for me at least, about that other ocean of mystery, the one beneath us. As a teenager my mother took my sister and me on vacation to Spain. I don't remember the place exactly, only that it was near the coast of the Mediterranean Sea, and that the water was warm and clear. There my favorite thing was to put on a snorkeling mask and just swim away looking down at the colorful coral and fish which were easily seen as the ocean floor was just e few meters below. One day however I had one of the biggest scares of my life. Each day I ventured a little bit farther away from the beach until one day I went too far; suddenly the water became freezing cold and beneath me there was nothing anymore, just blackness. I was so scared that I immediately turned around and swam back to the shore as fast as I could. That was the first and only time in my life that I was confronted face to face with the unknown depths of the sea. Thinking back, my reaction wasn't rational at all. It's not as if I would have fallen down; I was floating all the time and never even went deep enough to submerge my breathing tube. It was just that the abyss and the freezing cold water were there all of a sudden. I didn't know this, but there's even a name for intense fear of deep bodies of water: thalassophobia.
Now that I've shared with you my personal experiences with the Great Unknown above and below, I's like to focus for a moment on the latter. We're curious creatures, and most of our efforts and thoughts are spent on exploring space. Even in fiction there's a lot more attention for space than there is for the depths of our oceans, while we know so little about 71 percent of our own planet's surface. Our planet is mostly covered with water, 71 percent of it. Do you know what the deepest place is in our oceans? Don't be ashamed if you don't; no one does. We can only say for sure that the deepest place in the known oceans is the Challenger Deep and is located beneath the western Pacific Ocean in the southern end of the Mariana Trench; that's almost 11 kilometre beneath the surface! Like I said, that's the deepest place we know of; more than 80 percent of the ocean has never been mapped, explored, or even seen by humans! There are so many new species to be discovered, maybe countless remnants of our own past sunk and are waiting to be rediscovered. So I'll leave you with this nice video about thalassophobia and about the mysteries of the deep ocean; I hope you'll enjoy it as much as I did :-)
Thalassophobia - How Deep Does the Ocean Really Go?
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