Know Nothings

I try to avoid gender-specific observations, but it seems to me that many of my brothers are cursed with the belief that we are required to know everything—or, if we don’t know something, be clever in disguising this humiliating fact. About the time we leave college, the words, “I don’t know,” can be as hard to cough up as, “I love you.” Where this began I don’t know, but it is as useless a habit as you will find. That it forces us to learn clandestinely is only a fraction of the problem. The position of having to know eventually extends beyond the reach of mere facts, as our omnipotence must insidiously come to include the future itself.

The great irony is that the position of not knowing is far more powerful than that of knowing. By which I mean, all creation is the act of allowing in the new, or the unknown. What it is you are creating is known, but only an abstract, felt knowledge—if you knew exactly what its created form would be, what it was going to look and sound like, you wouldn’t really need to make it.

This is why the first step in all creation is settling into that place of not knowing. And since all of life is creation, from your first cup of coffee in the morning to your good night kiss, this is a position we must maintain on a constant basis. Horrible. But, I should say, once accepted, a great burden is lifted. Trying to know what is existentially impossible to know is exhausting and time consuming. Your energies are so much better spent focused on bringing forth that which you do not yet know.

But as I said, we always know something, and we know this something always. We know it from the first moment we crack our eyes to the world, before we even know there is a word for it. We know not so much that we are loved, but that we are love itself, and when we make things, it is our own attempt to share that love that we have always known. So perhaps this is why we men think we must know everything. We already know all we really need to know, and in some ways, "I don't know," and "I love you," mean much the same thing.

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