“But, I suspect, and who can say anything for certain about the unknown unknowns, that the most exciting revelations are going to be simple observations of something that people perceive a need for, but didn’t know it, and didn’t know how to get it, and yet when it appears they suddenly think, and say, that is obvious, and I knew it all along.”
I wrote that a few weeks ago in the post What Might An Unknown Unknown Look Like, and didn’t realize at the time I was then composing the perfect example of the idea for my upcoming six-minute talk, A Thanksgiving Tribute To Women. It is a fine example, because I was thinking about the subject of obvious things that existed before the eyes of every normal human adult that ever lived. That is some one hundred billion people who could have made the observation I presented in that sermonette, and anyone at any time in human history could have presented it to a local audience, and they would have smilingly agreed that it was valid. And yet, to the best of my knowledge no one ever made the simple statement I made. Briefly, – Women accelerated human perfection by discussing with their friends which men to marry. Charles Darwin and Alfred Russel Wallace a hundred and fifty years ago recognized the problem that natural selection couldn’t create human beings, because there were too many non-selective factors to have been created in a geologically brief time. The answer to their problem was obvious, and yet they didn’t see it.
This is an obvious observation of still operating selective factors for human evolution, and I had made the simple observation, and posted the idea in the past as Eveish Selection, but, and this is the point, that this is an example of reaching into the unknown unknowns, and it went unobserved by the very mind that was searching for examples. I had posted the assumption that there were probably many examples of unknown unknowns readily available to everyone, and then I went off on a couple of weeks of writing about camouflage, veils, fogs, walls, etc., and realizing that it was an explosive field of inquiry just exploring the factors obscuring information. However, I failed to recognize an obvious example of the very hypothesis I was proposing. It is for that reason it seems obvious that by understanding those factors obscuring a clear vision of information that new things will become so obvious that it will be impossible for them to remain unobserved. When observations are written up and published they become available for other people to make connections which we have missed, and after they are published we ourselves become more objective viewers of our own thoughts and discoveries.
To perceive some unknown unknowns we need only look and verify.