The Power of Not Knowing

There is great power in accepting that we never know. Yes, we can often speculate and suspect that we know something, but when it comes down to it, “we can only be sure of what is happening right now.” Our culture has been built on the premise that we are all “Knowers” to some degree. We have created specialized fields, and provide educational routes so that people can become experts in “Knowing”. These are the people we look up to in times of need: doctors, police, firefighters, bridge-workers, celebrities, plumbers, spiritual gurus, etc. The list is extensive, and it is not exclusive, We idolize all of those around us, or conversely, we reject those who may “know” more than us on a particular topic.

This complex dichotomy has harbored a growing disease among us. It has created a hierarchy, and the grounds for the duality of, “superiority-inferiority” to reign. We lend our trust to bridge-workers, assuming they know how to build the bridge we drive on every day. We unconsciously trust them with our lives. We lend our trust to doctors, assuming they know what is best for our mind, body, and health. We consciously trust them with our health and vitality; our life. In short, we place others on a pedestal. It is the nature of our society. However, this also creates the potential for us to reject these experts, which generally comes with the unconscious (or conscious) thought that, “we know better than they do.” Whether this is a malicious thought or not, we are making the decision to reject “expert knowledge” based on the opinion that we know a better “solution” or “process.”

Well, the hidden danger in being lulled to sleep by this conditioned cultural behavior is that we are taught to believe there is always a “Knower” in any situation; the one who holds the emancipation from our troubled mind. However, this is a fallacy. We are expediting peace of mind by creating the belief that we are protected by the almighty Knowers around us.

Take, for example, extreme events like the Gulf Oil Leak to demonstrate when our humanness is exposed. For those worried about the consequences that this oil leak will have on the environment (which ultimately means, “the effect it will have on us”), this situation could not feel more frightening. “Where’s the president? Where’s BP? Where’s the back-up plan? Who’s to blame?” These are questions that stem from the belief there are Knowers: people who are specialized experts and live upon this Earth believing they know how to keep us safe, living apart from the natural world. And by living apart from the natural world I mean, “not living as animals do, or our ancestors once did, or the Native Americans did: subjected to Mother Earth and her natural cycles.”

Instead, we have created a complex infrastructure — and we add onto its story a little each day. In the last hundred years these small daily additions have lead to the evolution of the automobile (from Model T to Camaro to SUV to Hybrid), communication devices (from telephone to wireless phone to cell phone to computer), and even food production (from fresh food to fast food to packaged and processed food). This is only to name a few things. Each day we have furthered the story, making it more and more complex. Each day, we have created new roles to be played and require the Earth to provide us with more resources: oil, rare earth metals, water, rock/asphalt. And, in each field…each role we create… there is a Knower who is figuring out the best way to play his or her role. Successes are enjoyed, mistakes are made, and the knowledge is passed down to the next generation of actors.

The illusion of ultimate-wisdom is created, and re-created. The truth is, every person on this planet is making up there part as they go. Some are following the script they were given and not going outside its parameters, while others are pushing their parts to the extreme, exploring new frontiers. It is improvisation to the n-th degree! For this, there is no such thing as an expert who knows all. In fact, they are simply the experts of the past; experts of what has already happened. They can assess a situation based on what has happened before. And their “knowing” is highly dependent upon the predictability and reproduction of a specific event. Simply put, their knowledge is based on hindsight, which is always 20/20. If something new arises, they can only make assumptions and assertions, and until the “problem” is resolved, they won’t know the answer. And, even then, there is still the possibility that their actions had nothing to do with the end result.

Wow. So, we don’t know. We don’t know the best way to fix a deepwater oil leak. We don’t know how to cure cancer. We don’t know what 2012 is about. We don’t know why we are here on Earth. We don’t know.




No. These are great fears of ours. Fears that surround the concept of “not knowing.” Not knowing what tomorrow will bring. Not knowing whether I will die from horrid incurable disease. Not knowing whether we will survive our own negligence. These are understandable fears. None of us want to die. None of us want to perish. We want safety and security. We want to know that we will be “okay.” That is why we pretend to know. We have thought this was the answer. We thought this was the escape from being subjected to the laws of nature. We took control, and decided to make up our own rules — our own ROLES.

And here we are. At a nexus point of our civilization, whether we see it or not. It is a clear opportunity to reflect on, “why are we doing this?” It is a chance to see that we have only created our own suffering, and that we have not escaped anything. The more we fight and struggle, working hard, 40-plus hours a week to maintain this complex story, the more we sink into this sandpit. Our death is inevitable, but that does not mean we have to suffer until then. We can find in our individual lives that we do not have to suffer, being driven by the tyrant that is our mind, our ego, our fears. We can step away from this suffering to live a life that is free of harsh thoughts and actions. Yes, in fact, we can love our life up until that inevitable death. We are no longer the knowers, but rather, the experiencers and the observers. We are here to feel, see, hear, touch, and taste our reality, rather than manipulate it. We are no longer the knowers. We no longer suffer, believing in the illusion that we are protected by experts: snake-oil salesmen of the fearful mind.

I am scared, too. Let us proceed into the unknown with love and compassion. We are free.


1 Comment

  1. autumnmichelle said,

    June 28, 2010 at 11:30 am

    you sound like a complicated daniel quinn 🙂 i mean that in a very nice way! always giving us so much to consider!!

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