So too with theorizing: the instinct is about staying alive, but the excess is about living. It enriches our everyday life (those happy-hour debriefs about the boss) and enables our most extraordinary achievements (that hoped-for cure for cancer).

Without it, we would be bereft of virtually all our hallmark human endeavors: religion, science, and storytelling; curiosity, exploration, and discovery With it, we are able to venture beyond the known world and toward the terrain of all that is hidden from us—the past and the future and the far-flung, the cloaked machinery of nature, other people’s inner lives.

It is the gift that beckons us beyond the eked-out existence of mere survival.

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