I feel like I’ve been in school a very long time. And really, I have. From kindergarden to now, I’m at 17 years of school. At age 22, that means about 77% of my life has been spent in some sort of formalized education. (I’d like to think that 100% of my time has been spent “learning”, but I’ll leave the deeper education topic alone for now).
During that period, I’ve met more people than I can remember, with a hundred-fold more theories to match. And that’s a very fortunate thing. An essential component of the educational process is learning how to assess and eventually decide for yourself which of those theories are worth attention. A more complete picture via knowledge is never a bad thing.
Perhaps if you’re lucky in the process, you might directly face the deepest questions of life — who we are, why are we here, and where are we going. But if you’re like most people, it more likely hits you at random points with its full intensity. I’m nowhere near qualified to answer those questions and probably no one is truly able to. Regardless, I feel life gives you picosecond glimpses at its deeper meaning for one to catch. Some would say its the process of catching those glimpses that is in itself the most important part. I’ll leave that up to you to decide.
As an engineering student, we’re trained to look at a product or even just a concept in high clarity, and if you’re a cost-conscious engineer, you to try to eliminate as much detail as you can within the necessary design parameters. Some will recognize this as the K.I.S.S (keep it simple stupid) principle. Why? Elaborate details are simply harder to compute, grasp and produce — not to mention expensive. So we design and build around those “complications” that become constraints.
But if you look around in the natural world, things are hardly simple. In fact the reason all of life works is because of balances in the smallest details.
Throughout history extreme conservatives have often worried (and hated) science for its explainations of traditionally devine topics, fearing it would cause those already sceptical of a higher-power at work to dismiss it. In essence their fear is/was that “explaining the trick takes the magic out of the show.”
I’ve found quite the opposite to be true. In fact, the further I proceed in engineering, the more I’ve begun to appreciate “the magic”. For example, queuing theory in systems engineering is ever present in the neurotransmission at the cellular level of our bodies, that happens at a theorized over 200mph. Not to mention this system is self-diagnosing, self-repairing, and self-leaning through fundamental waste-reduction. Consider how within those neurotransmissions, there are built-in quality control functions to correct and repair “bad transmissions”. Big manufacturers hire fleets of engineers to try to come close to the standards our body has. Or better yet, how did it happen to begin with, that these particular cells are manufactured in the first place via encoded data in our fundamental DNA passed from previous generations. That’s just a small component of the human body with millions of neurotransmissions per second, comprising all of us.
And yet, most of it we don’t understand.
So naturally one wonders if such lack of understanding is the reason we as humans search for something higher than ourselves. But I don’t believe that’s true. For me it is the fidelity required to engineer such a beautifully balanced system so close to perfection, so complex, so far beyond everything that we can synthesize, that makes it more illogical to believe in chance, than not just an intelligent designer, but rather an intelligent engineer.
Of course I share this thought with you before proceeding to analyze the production flow of an aircraft, most of which share a design modeled after broad-wing, gliding birds, originally engineered by — well, not “us”.