A vacuum for knowledge: Being a know-nothing

Isn’t it nice to have that feeling of “I got things figured out.
I got this.
I understand.
I get it.
I know what’s going on.
I know the lay of the land.
I know the way things work.
I have this whole thing figured out.” And it’s a very nice feeling to wear this kind of cloak of knowledge.
“I know.
I know.” You know, anything that comes at you, you’ll be like “Oh yeah, yeah, I know about that.
I know how to deal with that.
I know what that’s all about.
Nothing surprises me, you know.
I saw that coming a mile away.
I get what’s going on.” And this can be some kind of book knowledge, theoretical knowledge of how things work, and it can also be kind of a street smarts kind of knowledge of being streetwise, and like knowing “I know the way people are, and I know the way things really go down.” And it’s a very pleasant feeling to have.
I mean, maybe if it goes too far, it eventually can become boring, and you know, we want to be surprised.
But for the most part, it feels very pleasant and comfortable to know basically what’s going on.
Whereas the other side is maybe a bit less comfortable, like “Whoa, I really know nothing.
I have no idea what’s going on.
This is all unknown territory to me.
I have no idea what’s going to happen next, and I really don’t get anything.
I’m just very confused.
I know nothing.” Well, that is a lot less comfortable and a lot less pleasant.
It seems to be a little bit- maybe even have some fear to it, because you know, if you’re in a place where you have no idea what’s going on, you don’t even know if you’re safe or not, because you just don’t know what’s happening.
So it’s so much nicer to have this know-it-all feeling, and it seems like this is an easy trap that we can fall into.
Because yeah, you know, we all want to feel good, so OK, find a nice- just a situation where we can be pleasantly comfortable, that we have things figured out.
And maybe we have some kind of a shallow understanding, a partial understanding, and then we can say “OK, I basically know what’s going on.” And then “OK, I’m good.” The nice side of this is we get the pleasant feeling.
But the disadvantage is that now if we kind of feel we have things figured out, well it doesn’t leave us to be very open to actually learn anything.
Because you know, “I got the basics.” You know, “I’m not filled with a hunger and drive to figure things out, because I basically know.
I know the basics of what’s going on.
Sure, there may be some details to figure out, but you know, it’s not any kind of priority.” So having this know-it-all feeling, we just carry on and we don’t need to learn very much more.
But on the other hand, if we can tolerate this know-nothing feeling, this feeling of being confused, in the dark, saying to ourselves that you know, “Wow, I really have no idea what’s happening”: that leaves us open to be able to learn.
Because you know, if you’re wandering around in the dark, you know, there’s like kind of a drive and a hunger to figure out where the dangers are, figure out what’s going on, figure out “What do I need to know to be able to navigate through this situation?” From the position of knowing nothing, we’re just like this vacuum for knowledge to come in.
It’s like “Please, any source of- any clue.
Just give me a clue.
Give me any kind of clue about how I can get through this.” So it seems like with that attitude, we can really learn a lot more.
We can just be hungry for knowledge and just let it fill us.
But we have to pay the price of being know-nothings.
The price of looking foolish.
If we’re willing to look foolish and sort of have this, you know, dumb expression of “I have no idea what’s happening.” I really don’t get it.” And if we can stomach that, if we can accept not looking like we know it all, or even have a good basic understanding, but just look like we’re clueless: if we’re willing to accept looking clueless, we can then be open to so much more learning than if we think we have things figured out.
So maybe that’s a question to ask: is it worth it? When I describe it like this, it seems like OK, I’m suggesting that it’s worth it to have this know-nothing perspective.
But it’s not easy to accept looking foolish.
It’s not very comfortable.
So I’d be curious to hear how you feel about this.
Is it really best to have this attitude of know-nothing? Or is it really useful to have some kind of suggestion that we basically know what’s going on?

#knownothing #knowitall #knowledge

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