Question Everything

There’s an interesting article on NewScientist.com relating to Xiao-Gang Wen’s and Michael Levin’s theory that the universe is composed of a string-net liquid. What jumped out at me was the following quote.

"Wen and Levin’s theory is really beautiful stuff," says Michael Freedman, 1986 winner of the Fields medal, the highest prize in mathematics, and a quantum computing specialist at Microsoft Station Q at the University of California, Santa Barbara. "I admire their approach, which is to be suspicious of anything – electrons, photons, Maxwell’s equations – that everyone else accepts as fundamental."

While their theory still has to be fully proven, this is a great example of pioneering innovation. Basically the quality to ignore the fundamental known, question everything, and look at things from as many different viewpoints as possible. In other words, see beyond the paradigm shift.

I mean a few weeks back I was in a couple of conversations where people said what’s the point of someone coming out with another search engine or creating new content management software when Google "can’t be beat" and there are a lot of great CMS solutions to choose from. I chuckled to myself when I heard this. These are people who accept the fundamentals, that aren’t interested in seeing the "next step" in the evolution of these things. There’s nothing wrong with that, especially if these things meet your needs. It’s just that I don’t think you can say "it can’t possibly be evolved anymore".

After all, life is in a constant state of change and evolution. What we know today, may be replaced by something else tomorrow or may only be a fraction of something larger. Actually if you read a lot of history on innovation and breakthroughs, you’ll find that many times the discoveries that change the way we think are often made by those with little or no experience in the particular field of study. It’s often an amateur with a passionate interest in something that has little knowledge of the complete fundamentals of the field of study. Thus they have no preconceived notions of these "fundamental" boundaries and instead experiment to discover the boundaries on their own which in turn leads to these new discoveries.

Therefore if something doesn’t feel quite right in your life, even though others may tell you it’s "normal", question it and determine for yourself if it is right or wrong, useless or usable. You might be surprised at what you discover.