Discovery Day!

Discover – verb/disˈkəvər/: 1. Find (something or someone) unexpectedly or in the course of a search. 2. Become aware of (a fact or situation)

Monday, October 10, 2011 is Discovery Day!  Well, actually it is Columbus Day, but hear me out.

Each Columbus Day, I write a short blog commemorating Discovery Day.  Discovery Day is a retooling of Columbus Day holiday that celebrates, not just the discovery of one man, but of discovery in general.  It is my hope that someday this “holiday of spirit” will find the popular and financial support it needs to become a widely recognized event.

I already know some of you may be ready to argue that fact that Columbus’ voyage changed world and “why the hell would we want to stop recognizing that?”  Look, we’ve all read Charles Mann’s 1491 and 1493.  I understand Columbus changed the world in several different ways, and a very large portion of those changes were not for the better.  However, underneath all the death and destruction is one very important principal element: discovery.

My point is, why celebrate one man?  What Cristóbal Colón (Columbus) did pales in comparison to the millions of other exciting discoveries made throughout human history.  Discovery Day detaches itself from the accomplishments of one individual and opens the door to celebrating an endless assortment of firsts.  Consider the first bands of settlers to migrate into America roughly 20,000 years ago.  If anyone should get credit for discovering the New World, certainly it should go to them.  Or Leif Erikson who is currently regarded as the first European to arrive in the America’s (what now, Columbus?).  Sure he has his own holiday, but how many American’s actually know when it is? I’ll save you the trouble of looking, it’s October 9th. What of Jacques Cartier and his explorations of the St. Lawrence River or Abel Janszoon Tasman’s exploration of Australia in 1642?

Take a step away from earthbound discoveries and consider the work of Galileo. Consider all of the discoveries in astronomy, the hundreds of thousands of galaxies discovered by the Hubble Space telescope in the past 21 years.  Hell, there aren’t enough days in the year to commemorate what has been discovered since NASA was established in 1958. Think of the countless findings in chemistry, earth science, mathematics, genetics, medicine, physics, and biology. Think of archaeology! Think of evolution! Think of all of these wonderful fields of study, of the countless individuals whose hard work and dedication have made our current way of life possible, and understand the need to commemorate it all.

On October 10th, I ask you to discover.  Read a book about something that has always puzzled you, raise your hand and ask a question in class, observe the spider in your window rather than squashing it, take a new route home from work; the possibilities of discovery are endless!  In lieu of your discovery, share one exciting discovery with the world; be it a fact or a photo, a morsel of knowledge.  You be the judge!  Just get out there and discover!

Feel free to visit the Facebook page and post your discoveries for others to share.

Happy Discovery Day!

“All truths are easy to understand once they are discovered; the point is to discover them.” – Galileo Galilei


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