Wednesday, August 4, 2010

what's wrong with not knowing?

Without getting into a helplessness swoon about it, isn't it amazing how much hard evidence there is that we really don't know from one moment to the next and still we imagine we do know and are in control of our lives?

The hard evidence, for example, might be seen in the the black man in neighboring Connecticut who was caught on film stealing booze from his distributor's company. He agreed yesterday without complaint to resign, and then proceeded to kill eight people and injure two before turning the gun on himself.

OK, the tale is shocking and frightening, but how much different is it from whatever is going to happen five minutes from now? I really don't know, irrespective of the Korean Zen that can drum-beat "don't know mind."

Why do I insist on doing what plainly lacks complete or even particularly compelling evidence? Would I go nuts if I didn't know? Would it be too scary? Would I be somehow less? What's wrong with not-knowing ... people, places, things, thoughts, emotions? Since the evidence points to a much wider spectrum than knowing, why do I insist on the narrow and demonstrably untrue? Even when I do guess what's going to happen, it never happens precisely as I imagined, so I end up being satisfied with pretty good guesses or approximations. That strikes me as a half-baked kind of life.

As I say, no need to get your tail in a knot. But it does strike me as a curious matter.


  1. Just a comment: your reference to the tragic shooting in Connecticut referred to the shooter's race. Nowhere in your post did you tell us why his race is significant.

    I'm not judging, just curious about your choice of wording.


  2. Hi Anon -- The reason I referred to his race was that, according to the news story, he himself seemed to feel that he had been the target of discrimination...and his race was relevant. But you're right: Perhaps I should have expanded.

  3. Ah, I followed the link to read about the possible racial circumstances that may have been a factor in this tragedy. I had not heard this perspective before, so thank you.