I Really Don’t Know

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© — As I get older, I know more.  And I know less.  Just so happens that I now don’t know much at all.  The more I know, ironically, the less I know.  As time goes on, I know less and less.  I now know very little.  I figure I know almost nothing of what there is to know…as a human.  What I know from direct, firsthand experience is de minimis.  And I’m alright with knowing almost nothing.

Ancient wisdom, along with contemporary psychology and medicine, tells us this: we see things through a mental filter developed since conception.  This filter is created from what we perceive through our senses; it is recorded in our brain through perception.    We use these perceptions to develop mental constructs, that is, a way to safely understand our world.  This is simply a survival tool, and a true gift, as it allows us to make it through life as long as possible, develop, reproduce, etc. We are blessed.

We put effort into extracting value…wisdom…in what little we do know through science, religion, and within society as laws and customs. This framework allows us to build and operate a functional society.  It’s not perfect, but it does allow progress, and the ability to survive and grow.  By having concrete mental constructs, we can make rational decisions that work in many situations, but also can cause desperate mistakes, and mistakes that can harm oneself and others.  The “knowing” we have as humans can be problematic.

Still, the pursuit of knowing has been spectacular. We’ve developed language and science.  We drive cars and pilot computers.  We raise the perfect beagle and tangerines without seeds.  Nutrients that used to only come from foods can now be readily found in small capsules.  And we actually put a huge telescope in space for the sole purpose of knowing more.

When I don’t know, I hear birds singing through clear air that harbors thousands of years of practice.  When I don’t know, rain falls as water from oceans 10,000 miles away. When I don’t know, the stars bring billion-year-old bring messages that touch my planet with grace.  When I don’t know, the 7-11 offers six different kinds of peanuts because they can.

Quite frankly, I really don’t know.

Bob Hansen

Copyright – Robert W. Hansen – 2012

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