"Clearly there is a lot going on deep in the Earth that is completely unknown to science." So concludes this fascinating article in The Economist on, of all things, carbon.
Did you know, for example, that although carbon is critical to life on earth the scientific community has no idea of how much of the stuff actually exists on Earth? Ranges estimate anywhere from between 0.07% to 3.2% of the planet. That's a huge discrepancy for such a vital element.
I was also surprised to learn that while I had grown up believing oil and natural gas are formed near the Earth's surface from the fossilized bodies of living organisms, some Russian scientists believe petroleum is "abiogenic" and that the Earth's temperature and pressure convert carbonates and water into hydrocarbons. I don't know enough to render an opinion on this topic but I do believe in remaining intellectually humble and staying open to new possibilities; and, if the Russian scientists are correct, oil and gas could be much more prevelant than we had previously believed.
Lastly, I was surprised to discover still other scientists estimate that up to half of all living matter on Earth may resides at depths of 5KM below the surface. If true, that's a whole lot of life about which most of us are completely unaware. (It is also yet another item that I need to add to my notebook of things I don't know.)
It is also a fitting metaphor for unlearning — There will always be so much more that we don't know than what we do know. This simple fact should remind us that we must always be open to — and prepared for — unlearning.
Interested in a little unlearning quiz about carbon? Check out this old post:
Perhaps you'd like to see another visual metaphor for unlearning? Try this old post: