I did chuckle when I saw this saying above: “To understand nothing takes time,” because I remember thinking as a junior in high school that there couldn’t be ANYTHING new to learn that I already did not know, so what was the point of my senior year? Ha-ha. (Yes, I actually said that.)
It’s hard to pinpoint the moment when I began to realize how little I actually did know about workings of the world (as opposed to what I thought I knew), but it probably started at the beginning of my SENIOR year when all my previous LIFE assumptions and expectations began to implode in on themselves.
But hey, that’s how we really learn—through shattered expectations and busted delusions. It’s a little hard on the ego, but that’s a natural part of our intellect’s evolution process.
In time you’ll find that LIFE is seldom what you think it should be, and if anyone ever told you that LIFE would be ‘fair’ with you, well, they were definitely pulling your leg. LIFE has nothing to do with fairness—only education.
Long ago I read something (likely in a Castaneda book) that said there are three types of knowledge: 1) that which is KNOWN, 2) that which is UNKNOWN, but knowable, and 3) that which is UNKNOWABLE.
At the time I arrogantly thought “What could possibly be unknowable?”
I mean, how can you even fathom such a thing as ‘unknowable-ness’? How can there be ‘things’—concepts, considerations, possibilities—that we are forever unable to grasp or comprehend or document in some way even as our minds expand and our collective experiential databases increase?
As the years ground on for me, I began to better realize that with each passing day, I learned something that I had not previously known, so I was definitely in the ‘KNOWABLE range.’ But still I could not comprehend what could possibly be UNKNOWABLE to me in time if we constantly accumulated more and more information and experience every hour of every day?
Then a few years back, I began to focus more on how we humans established ‘context’ in our lives.
One of the books I ran across when I was doing research for my Honoring the Hermit—Building A New World book, was The Production of Reality by Jodi O’Brien and Peter Kollock—it was a social psychology book of essays describing what reality is to some individuals due to their unique perspectives. The most important and unifying factor of tracing those perspectives had to do with establishing and assessing the CONTEXT of how each person’s personal reality was created. Here are a few quotes from the Preface on the books intentions:
(p. 5) “A person’s reactions to the world depends on how he or she defines the situation. The definition of the situation can differ from moment to moment, depending on what the person is inclined to see. People may appear to be perfectly reasonable in one situation and then appear the opposite in another situation. Indeed, a great deal of human behavior appears unreasonable and illogical if viewed out of context.
“Cultural rules dictate what is ‘real’ and what is ‘not real.’ The trick is to figure out the rules. They are not necessarily based on logic or sensory perception. This book is about how human beings come to know the rules for determining reality in various situations. These rules enable us to organize and make sense of our experiences.
“When people interact with one another, they do so according to cultural rules. The result of this interaction is a set of meaningful patterns that we think of as ‘society.’ It is important to note that these rules are constructed by human beings and that they are meaningful only within the specific social context. In other words, behavior is contextually meaningful. Taken out of context, many behaviors appear contradictory or silly….
“…This ability, to distinguish between contexts and to behave in accordance with social expectations, is a defining feature of humanness….”
(p. 9) “According to the theory of symbolic interactionism, ‘truth’ and ‘reality’ are determined by the context in which they are practiced.”
That was a lengthy intro to my next thought but perhaps necessary to consider, because when you try to conceptualize that which is “UNKNOWABLE” you become CONTEXT dependent. And if you are dependent on society’s concept of what constitutes REALITY, then you are limited in your understanding of any broader meaning.
“To understand nothing takes time.”
It takes a lifetime to realize that the human brain has limitations—even our eyes can only recognize electromagnetic lightwaves within the ‘visual lightwave spectrum’ unless we utilize other lower and higher frequency sensing devices to gauge them.
To think that we CAN understand all there is to know about the Universe that we inhabit or what may exist beyond that limited universe or in multi-dimensions beyond that which we inhabit, is as arrogant and delusional as I was in my junior year of high school.
At my current age I now know that I understand absolutely nothing about our human existence or any other possible existences, despite my often thinking that I can catch glimpses of ‘those other existences’ during moments of extreme higher-awareness exploration.
We are simply too ‘context dependent’ in our current earthly existence; and venturing beyond that earthly awareness throws our every earth-based sensor and comprehension comparability, out of our ‘knowable’ context.
I can guess at a lot of things—I can speculate based on what I’ve seen, done, and intuited; but to say I understand some of the experiences that I’ve had during more unusual states of awareness, would be a lie.
So at last I can declare with all humility, that I ‘understand nothing.’
And leave it at that.