What I Know

We’re all ignorant, and that’s okay. It’s impossible for any one person to know everything or really most of anything. We all have our natural limits, but some of us just give up or subjugate our thinking to others. The truly intelligent among us understand these limitations. They’ve put their toe on the edge of the precipice and seen the vast abyss of ignorance. Many people quickly withdraw from the edge out of fear and respond with unwarranted confidence. Others pull out a flashlight and try to shine some light into the great, dark unknown.

What I know is based on my on attempts to learn, to explore the endless depths of knowledge, but that’s a journey akin to trying to swim to the bottom of the deepest part of the ocean. Like everyone else, I will barely make a dent in the universe of knowledge by the time I return to dust. I will die ignorant.

Some of what I know is earned through experience, but experience is a nefarious teacher, a duplicitous beast that both broadens and narrows my thinking. That’s why it is often so hard to see someone else’s perspective because your experience is inherently different from theirs.

That’s also why the truth, whatever that is, is so fungible. There are very few absolutes or certainties in life; gravity comes to mind but very little else. Despite this reality, humans are horrible at dealing with uncertainty. Just look around you right now with the coronavirus pandemic. The reactions range from absolute panic to head-in-the-sand, both of which are defensive reactions to uncertainty. No one is immune to this range of responses.

As humans evolved from the age of consciousness 70 thousand years ago, we created constructs that give the illusion of certainty or absolute knowledge. As a species we decided we needed some semblance of certainty no matter how flimsy because our new-found consciousness demanded it. All the while, we ignore the fact that we know relatively little in the grand scheme of the universe and that we will die knowing so little. Some of us like to hide behind a shaky facade of knowledge or heightened relevance among the billions that inhabit this planet, but one peek behind the curtain reveals the truth. It’s ugly. That’s what I know.

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