State Of Unknowing

A state of unknowing is different depending on the person, the situation and the person ‘in the know’.

Because really, to comprehend the presence of a state of unknowing, there must also be the presence of the knowing one. Occasionally this can be oneself when your own lack of understanding is something that you are hoping to change, perhaps by pursuing a university course, a hobby or by exposing yourself to something in order to widen your view, such that which often occurs when you travel.

The opposite can also be true, of actively avoiding knowledge, perhaps to protect your feelings. “Don’t show me that, it will just upset me! I can’t change it.” When something is out of our control, is it truly helpful to learn something disturbing? Advertising campaigns for charities (in particular those against animal cruelty and for assisting developing countries) like to play on this. Most people know these problems exist, yet don’t help. So charities use this to target those whose sense of guilt and compassion will overcome them to the tipping point of parting with their money. Is it the best way? I’m not sure. I don’t like seeing these images – of course not, they’re supposed to be unpleasant. But I feel as if a more positive campaign would be more effective for me. I already know enough of the horrors.


When one is unknowing, it is often seen negatively. Arrogance, prejudice, lack of education, idiocy and foolishness. To all of these, a lack of knowing, of understanding is an imperative component. Even the example above where the purpose is protection from distress, is often interpreted as an act of weakness, an inability to face the truth. This happens every day. Hiding a post on Facebook, instinctively turning the other way when you see someone eating in a, shall we say, ‘enthusiastic’ manner. Why should we have to see or know these things when we don’t have to? Does it make us better? Does it change something significantly?


Further into the depths of despair… As age makes us more forgetful, some of us fall under the sway of Alzheimer’s disease. Degeneration, certainly. Painful for our loved ones, usually. But for ourselves? Could the memory loss also be a form of protection? Our death looming persuasively closer and closer, our body shutting down. I know that it can apparently be horribly confusing and distressing to go through this disease. Is it worse without the memory loss? It could also be that because so many of the institutions we trust to care for our elderly and unwell relatives are not appropriate environments for those with memory problems. Badly designed floorplans and lack of outside space is something which I believe definitely affects those suffering in this way. On the other hand, perhaps it is just as cruel and cold-hearted as it seems. Restricting us from recalling perhaps some of the most wonderful moments in our lives.


My thoughts leave me in a state of unknowing.


“Ignorance is bliss”
Bias / Prejudice / Racism / Sexism
Temporary vs permanent
Dementia / Alzheimer’s
Adam and Eve
Learning / curiosity

What do you think?

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