The Need to Know

We humans are uniquely endowed with both the capacity and the desire to understand ourselves and our world.

Leonard Mlodinow - The Upright Thinkers

Our need to know may even exceed our drive for food as my guest this week, on most of our PBS stations, emphasizes in his latest book The Upright Thinkers.

The renowned physicist Dr. Leonard Mlodinow, is the co-author of The Grand Design with Stephen Hawking and author of The Drunkard's Walk, Sublime and others that explain the universe and world we live in and the role we play with in it.

Our conversation of this primal drive to know is divided into two parts. The first episode airing this week takes us from our primitive ancestors who lived in trees to Sir Isaac Newton. In Part II, which airs next week, we go from the wisdom of Newton to the most current knowledge we have about our universe.

However, what does it really mean to have knowledge in our current "Age of Information?" With nearly an infinite amount of information at our fingertips it seems that our focus on knowledge is too often usurped by trivial data and an overall lack of deep insight into the real concerns of our time.

"Where is the wisdom we have lost in knowledge? Where is the knowledge we have lost in information?" -- T.S. Eliot

Unlike T.S. Eliot, I do not believe we lost the wisdom or knowledge but that it is hiding from us amidst the vast oceans of information and it is up to us to go deep sea fishing and reel it up from the depths of some very choppy waters.

There is no doubt in my mind that we have the will, the capacity, and most importantly the desire and need to do it. As Dr. Mlodinow writes: "The odyssey of human discovery stretches over many eras, but the themes of our quest to understand the world never vary, as they arise from our own human nature."

It is within our very nature from our most primal beginnings to pierce the darkness and shine a light on the mysteries of life. After all, we chose to eat the fruit from the tree of knowledge even over the fruit from the tree of life.

One bright light that has been shinning on us for the past 90 years has now shifted its beam to another plane. Just a few months ago I was blessed to have the iconic folk singer Theodore Bikel on our show.

This past week the great Theo left our stage but his music, his love for mankind and the joy he spread throughout the world will leave an everlasting glow for generations to come. The last song ever written by
was done specifically for Theo when he created the role of
Captain Von Trapp
in the play
The Sound of Music
. That song was

Edelweiss, Edelweiss
Every morning you greet me
Small and white, clean and bright
You look happy to meet me
Blossom of snow may you bloom and grow
Bloom and grow forever

You will bloom forever in our hearts dear Theo.

Enjoy the show and have a great week,