Imagine for a moment the year is 2000 B.C. and you’re a fisherman living along the coast of what is now Southern Europe. Like any other morning, you’re fishing when suddenly a powerful burst of energy enters your body. It creates a tingling sensation in your fingertips, a flutter in your heart and warmth in your belly. You know it’s not anxiety or a heart attack because it feels comforting and fulfilling.
You put your fishing pole down and sit at the water’s edge. You reach down and splash a handful of cool water up onto your face. It is here, in this quiet moment, that you have an epiphany. And while you are unable to explain how or why this epiphany is coming to you now—you haven’t done anything out of the ordinary to receive it—its message is crystal clear:
The Earth is not flat. The Earth is a sphere. You can visualize it revolving around the sun in a predictable orbital pattern. These visualizations also reveal that the Earth is part of a solar system of eight planets separate from other stars in the night’s sky and that these other stars follow similar predictable patterns of movement. There is a whole uncharted universe out there that nobody else is aware of.
Once the magnitude of your epiphany settles in your mind, you begin to sweat from nervousness. Because while the small seaside village you live in is peaceful, there is little tolerance for outlandish ideas and theories like the ones that just rattled your brain. If you were to tell others about them, the nobles and town leaders might interpret it as a direct threat to the cultural stability of the community, and the rest of the villagers would likely think you’re crazy. You could be exiled!
You decide that you must handle your business as usual and leave the deep visions and epiphanies to the witch doctors and nomads who dwell in the forests on the outskirts of civilization. These people have already decided that the world they grew up in doesn’t hold the answers they are looking for. They are the ones who should convey these outlandish ideas to the world. Because they have nothing to lose. At least not as much as you do.
So, you don’t tell a soul about your epiphany. Days roll into weeks. Weeks roll into months. And you imagine, each day, that you are better off for having kept it a secret. But you are also aware that keeping this secret is eating away at you from the inside out. You have distanced yourself…