It’s OK not to know

It’s OK not to know

Knowledge precedes comprehension.

Unfortunately, all too often we stop trying before getting to step two.

Instead, we just make stuff up.

It’s how we get gods who throw thunderbolts and roil the sea, beasts that steal children and alien abduction, demonic possession and angelic intervention, conspiracy theories and hidden agendas.

Because knowing is easier than not knowing.

Confidence is more comfortable than uncertainty.

Blame is more convenient than taking responsibility.

Anger is more satisfying than compassion.

Having an explanation for things, knowing something for certain, even if it is demonstrably wrong, helps us cope.

LAST WEEK:

Of course there are times—most times in my estimation—there are things that are incomprehensible.

There are things we know, things we think we know, things we know we don’t know and the things we don’t know we don’t know. For me, it seems, the longer I’m around, the more I learn, the less I truly know.

If I think about knowledge and comprehension as a pie, there’s this tiny sliver that represents the things I know, a slightly larger slice for the things I think I know, slightly larger again for things I know I don’t know and a vast overwhelming chunk representing the things I don’t know I don’t know.

As the tiny sliver grows, it doesn’t take up more of the pie, it just expands the entire pie (which makes it feel like it’s actually shrinking).

I tend to spiral into these philosophical whirlpools particularly at this time of year. It often seems kind of arbitrary. After all, January 1 is just the next day after December 31. Another year is simply a continuation of the old one. Life proceeds inexorably toward death with no regard for human inventions such as clocks and calendars.

Compartmentalizing life into discreet units of time—minutes, hours, days, weeks, months—creates order from the chaos. It helps us cope with the fact nothing is certain or permanent.

The New Year tends to bring on bouts of reflection. It’s a combination, I think, of downtime, the absurdity of the rampant consumerism and the age-old tradition of making resolutions.

MORE BARKING AT THE BIG DOG:

Tiny living not getting bigger and that’s OK

Forewarned does not necessarily mean immune

As a rule, I generally don’t make New Year’s resolutions, but looking back over 2019, the best thing I heard this year was a quote from Mark Manson, author of The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F___.

“The desire for more positive experience is itself a negative experience. And, paradoxically, the acceptance of one’s negative experience is itself a positive experience.

One thing you find in the newspaper business, particularly in the age of social media, is there are a lot of angry, bitter, anxious and/or fearful people in the world.

One thing I know for certain is my life is infinitely better when I am not angry, bitter, anxious and/or fearful.

Another thing I know for certain is usually when I am experiencing those emotions it is because I am desiring a more positive experience I can’t have or not accepting a negative one I do have.

At the risk of making a resolution, I guess it would be to keep reminding myself: It’s OK not to know; it’s OK to be uncertain; it’s OK to take responsibility; it’s OK to be compassionate.



editor@interior-news.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

B.C. Finance Minister Selina Robinson outlines the province’s three-year budget in Victoria, April 20, 2021. (B.C. government video)
B.C. deficit to grow by $19 billion for COVID-19 recovery spending

Pandemic-year deficit $5 billion lower than forecast

The Quesnel RCMP Detachment is one of seven northern police buildings which can now connect directly to Prince George for daily bail hearings. (Observer File Photo)
Bail hearings going virtual in B.C.’s north

A court pilot project will see virtual courtroom cameras set up in seven RCMP detatchments

FILE – Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs have agreed to sign a memorandum on rights and title with B.C. and Ottawa, but elected chiefs are demanding it be called off over lack of consultation. (Thom Barker photo)
Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs, Lake Babine Nation get provincial funding for land, title rights

Government says it’s a new, flexible model for future agreements between Canada, B.C. and First Nations.

The property on which a residential school (pictured) that was torn down years ago in Lower Post is to be the location of a cultural centre. (Indian Residential School History and Dialogue Centre photo)
Lower Post residential school building to be demolished, replaced with cultural centre

Project to be funded by federal and provincial governments, Daylu Dena Council

FILE – NDP Leader John Horgan, right, and local candidate Mike Farnworth greet one another with an elbow bump during a campaign stop in Coquitlam, B.C., on Friday, September 25, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. won’t be using random individual road stops to enforce travel rules: Safety Minister

Minister Mike Farnworth says travel checks only being considered at major highway junctions, ferry ports

A man pauses at a coffin after carrying it during a memorial march to remember victims of overdose deaths in Vancouver. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. announces historic half-billion-dollar funding for overdose crisis, mental health

Of it, $152 million will be used to address the opioid crisis and see the creation of 195 new substance use treatment beds

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Children’s backpacks and shoes are seen at a CEFA (Core Education and Fine Arts) Early Learning daycare franchise, in Langley, B.C., on Tuesday May 29, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. budget to expand $10-a-day child care, but misses the mark on ‘truly universal’ system

$111 million will be used to fund 3,750 new $10-a-day spaces though 75 additional ChildCareBC universal prototype sites over the next three years.

Mak Parhar speaks at an anti-mask rally outside the Vancouver Art Gallery on Sunday, Nov. 1, 2020. Parhar was arrested on Nov. 2 and charged with allegedly violating the Quarantine Act after returning from a Flat Earth conference held in Geenville, South Carolina on Oct. 24. (Flat Earth Focker/YouTube.com screenshot)
Judge tosses lawsuit of B.C. COVID-denier who broke quarantine after Flat Earth conference

Mak Parhar accused gov, police of trespass, malfeasance, extortion, terrorism, kidnapping and fraud

Ambulance paramedic in full protective gear works outside Lion’s Gate Hospital, March 23, 2020. Hospitals are seeing record numbers of COVID-19 patients more than a year into the pandemic. (The Canadian Press)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection rate declines, 849 cases Tuesday

Up to 456 people now in hospital, 148 in intensive care

Christy Clark, who was premier from 2011 to 2017, is the first of several present and past politicians to appear this month before the Cullen Commission, which is investigating the causes and impact of B.C.’s money-laundering problem over the past decade. (Darryl Dyck/Canadian Press)
Christy Clark says she first learned of money-laundering spike in 2015

The former B.C. premier testified Tuesday she was concerned the problem was ‘apparently at an all-time high’

Most Read