Sunday, February 20, 2011

Who Knows

I have to be honest and say that this week I had absolutely no idea what to write about.    Actually I still don’t know what I’m going to write about even now.     But it did make me think what it means not to know things and not to have the answers to things.     What it means to be unsure or to say those shame ridden words, ‘I don’t know’.     From the very beginning we are taught to know; what our name is, how we spell it, the names of parts of our body, what are parents names are and so on.     We get tested on these things way before we get to school.     From the start we are told, universally, that knowledge is good and lack of it is bad, worse than bad that it’s somehow shameful to be in this world and not know things.   But in reality we obviously can’t know everything and there’s plenty we don’t know and will likely never really know and to a large extent that is also universally understood.          

Knowledge seems to have a radius of acceptability; the further away something is the less likely we are expected to know about it i.e. the economic climate in Papua New Guinea, though it would be highly revered if our knowledge did stretch that far.     By the same token we are expected to know exactly what is going on closer to home, not just in the countries in which we live but within our own lives right from the time they start.      We’ve got to know what subjects to choose at school and later want to study at university.     We’ve got to know what sort of job we’re looking for and how to go about getting it.     We’ve got to know who to love and how we want our lives to be with that person.     The expectations come hard and fast from nowhere in particular and everywhere at the same time.     Basically we’ve got to have it all figured out like a bunch of know it alls.     How conflicted then we feel when we don’t have the answers or when we just don’t know what to do.    

I remember once having a conversation with someone and telling them how confused I felt about something.      I was really surprised when they responded by saying how useful it is to be confused and perfectly perfectly okay.     For some reason I didn’t get a chance to ask why being confused could be regarded as useful but that didn’t matter because since then permission to not know has been granted and what a huge hook to be let off from.       

Sometimes things don’t tie up neatly and are never really finished, they linger on in memory and dreams like building sights that go on and on.     Like the time I broke my leg and lost my memory....