How Do I Know The Ocean?

Imagine growing up inland. People have talked about the ocean – you’ve seen photos, watched videos, read books. But you’ve never seen it in real life.

Do you know the ocean yet?

You take a trip … for the first time, you stand on a golden sandy beach, gazing out over an expanse of blue that reaches as far as you can see.

Do you know the ocean yet?

You walk towards the water, and feel it lap against your toes … you keep walking, gradually immersing yourself … finally, you take a deep breath and dive beneath the waves. For the first time, you feel the cool salty sea on your entire body …

Do you know the ocean yet?

Perhaps you then take up surfing or sailing, free diving or fishing … all of these [and more] will show you another aspect of the ocean.

I’ve lived by the sea for most of my life … I’ve been turned upside down by powerful waves … I’ve kayaked straight out as far as I dare … I’m sitting next to it as I write this …

And yet – I still don’t know everything about the ocean. Not by a long shot.

The same is true for you, of course. Your connection might be to a forest, or some mountains, or perhaps a city. We also have connections with people.

What matters in each case is our experience.

Watching a film about surfing doesn’t make me a surfer. Building a house in the metaverse doesn’t make me an architect. Using AI to create an image or write a story doesn’t make me a photographer or a writer. A chatbot is not the same as a friend.

Are all of these tools useful? Certainly. But let’s not get confused.

How do we know the ocean? [How do we know anything?]

By experiencing it.

Not a clean, safe, digital reproduction from the comfort of our sofas.

Instead, we throw ourselves into the messy, risky, analogue reality.

This post was inspired by the ‘Mary’s Room‘ thought experiment.



Weekly [digital] email to help navigate the [analogue] world …

Weekly [digital] email to help navigate the [analogue] world …