In a conversation on the necessity of and incompleteness of all systems of thought Whitehead makes explicit the need for humility in these adventures of ideas. Though longer, you can hear an echo of one of my favorite Whitehead one-liners, ‘Seek certainty and distrust it.’ Check it out below and then relax when someone does not go along with your whole system.
‘Any system of thought based on this earth of ours is extremely limited in its conceptions, either theology or philosophy, and most of them have been. We know now that our earth is an insignificant planet swinging round a second-rate sun in no very important part of the universe. The response to that knowledge of first-rate people talking together as you and I are talking, assumed,’ he said smiling, ‘that we are first-rate people, should be immeasurably larger than it is. I see no reason to suppose that the air about us and the heavenly spaces over us may not be peopled by intelligences, or entities, or forms of life, as unintelligible to us as we are to the insects. In the scale of size, the difference between insects and us is as nothing to that between us and the heavenly bodies; and , who knows?, perhaps the nebulae are sentient entities and what we can see of them are their bodies. That is no more inconceivable than that there may be insects who have acute minds, though,’ he smiled again, ‘their outlook would be narrower than ours. My point is, that we are part of an infinite series and since the series is infinite, we had better take account of that fact, and admit into our thinking these infinite possibilites.’