Dealing with That Which You Might Not Know

Some thoughts to ponder, especially for people newly awakening to the sham of consensus reality on this planet:
It’s very tempting to jump from one certainty to a complete rejection of that “certainty” and replacing it with another rigid, absolute “truth.” I see this happen all the time. It’s one reason ex-smokers tend to be most intolerant of smokers and why ex-fundamentalist Christians so often become fundamentalist New Agers … or why people who find some conspiracy theories turned out to be true often run through a phase in which they knee-jerk reject everything mainstream and swallow everything alternative. This dynamic gets people into trouble and makes them easy pickin’s for manipulation and psyops. Learning to face uncertainty brings challenges, but “Knowing that you know nothing is the beginning of wisdom.”
“I spent a lot of years trying to outrun or outsmart vulnerability by making things certain and definite, black and white, good and bad. My inability to lean into the discomfort of vulnerability limited the fullness of those important experiences that are wrought with uncertainty: Love, belonging, trust, joy and creativity to name a few.” ~ Brene Brown
“It is in the admission of ignorance and the admission of uncertainty that there is hope for the continuous motion of human beings in some direction that doesn’t get confined, permanently blocked, as it has so many times before in various periods in the history of man.” ~Richard P. Feynman
I wrote to a friend this morning:
“It is incredible how certain and smug people are about their one little sliver of reality they just discovered. Multi-facets? Unknowns? Oh, no. They have the answers and they don’t even recognize how they’re all being played. Why is it so difficult for people to admit, “I don’t know all the answers to this. I realize there may be hidden factors off my radar, so I will prepare some contingency plans just in case I’m wrong in this moment of smug satisfaction”? Is it because if they admitted to themselves some things they don’t know they might get scared by the vastness of what they don’t know and fear (even healthy warnings) is against their new religion?”
As ironic as it is for me to quote Donald Rumsfeld’s much dismissed comment used to justify another bogus war, he was hiding the uncomfortable truth in plain view when he said: “Reports that say that something hasn’t happened are always interesting to me, because as we know, there are known knowns; there are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns — the ones we don’t know we don’t know. And if one looks throughout the history of our country and other free countries, it is the latter category that tend to be the difficult ones.”
“Unknown unknowns” can be used to shape all manner of public policies, wars, and protocols, because when individuals and/or entire cultures forget or dismiss that there may be unknown unknowns, they leave themselves vulnerable to blind spots and subject to the Hegelian Dialectic of problem, reaction, solution. When we befriend uncertainty, we discover that other options exist! Here’s Joanna Macy sharing the incredible freedom and rewards of uncertainty:

24 responses to this post.

  1. Reblogged this on Tania Marie's Blog and commented:
    Another insightful share today from Laura, which I resonate with. Like Laura, I see the same all the time with people holding on to rigid certainties and rejections that are black and white – refusing fear, uncertainty, and vulnerability, rather than embracing, exploring, and integrating them into something more expansive and liberating than an “either/or” reality.

    The short four and a half minute video of Joanna Macy speaking on “Uncertainty” is wonderful. Enjoy!

    Like

  2. Posted by Patrick on September 24, 2014 at 6:38 pm

    Anakin Skywalker: “If you’re not with me then you’re my enemy.”

    Obi-wan Kenobi: “Only a Sith deals in absolutes…”

    Liked by 1 person

  3. The all time favorite paradox: “The only thing you can know for sure, is that you can never know anything for sure.” And then we have the admonition: “Delight in the Mystery!”

    Back in the days of strategy gaming, we had a principle: “The moment you think you have a complete grasp of the game situation, you’re screwed.”

    Liked by 1 person

  4. This mindset was easier for me to inhabit before I had children. Now I am sometimes nagged about what will happen to them.

    Like

  5. Posted by Anthony on September 24, 2014 at 8:48 pm

    So, do you think you are a right-thinking person in that you know all there is to know about knowing you know nothing? Well then, here’s what Mony Python has to say about that:

    Graham Chapman: I think all righthtinking people in this country are sick and tired of being told that ordinary, decent people are fed up in this country with being sick and tired.

    All: Yes, yes…

    Graham Chapman: I’m certainly not! And I’m sick and tired of being told that I am.

    Not Sure?: Mrs. Havoc-Jones.

    Mrs. Havoc-Jones: Well, I meet a lot of people and I’m convinced that the vast majority of wrongthinking people are right. …………………………………………..

    Great insight! I think where most people get stuck is in identifying with their beliefs, when if you really want to get to the truth of things, those are the FIRST things one has to examine. The second thing is the need to learn how to separate emotions from thoughts. The third thing is being able to admit when the facts indicate that one might be wrong, even as I might be about the previous two sentences…though I doubt it 🙂

    Like

  6. Anthony, I love Monty Python, and no, I do not have an attachment to being a “right thinking person.” You’re onto something. 🙂

    Like

  7. Bo, we all need to do the best we can for future generations. Still, there are some factors so far off people’s radar that it’s wise not to get completely fixated on one and only one “solution.” If reality’s not “fixed” (as in immobile), then why would we go through life with only one, singleminded focus? We are certainly free to do so, but then it’s no surprise to get blindsided. I am grateful not to have children in this world, but I admire those who do and who manage to bring consciousness to their parenting. For the sake of future generations, I’m glad some goodhearted, reasonably awake people are still choosing to procreate. If they weren’t, then the future would look much bleaker than it does. Some of the souls coming in these days are just incredible!

    Like

  8. Agreed, Tim!

    Like

  9. Thanks, Patrick. That one made me smile. 🙂

    Like

  10. Thanks for the reblog, T! I do love Joanna Macy. She’s a wise, calm, yet passionate presence — an octogenarian with a huge spark of life in her, inspiring younger generations.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. i agree!! ❤

    Like

  12. Posted by Patrick on September 25, 2014 at 1:20 am

    🙂

    Like

  13. Reblogged this on Reiki Dawn and commented:
    The blessings of uncertainty. Thank you Laura.

    Like

  14. Posted by seattle72 on September 25, 2014 at 4:10 am

    Woah. The last two weeks I’ve used the phrase “We don’t know what we don’t know.” quite a few times. This concept has really been rolling around in my thoughts. Our experiences typically shape our world views and subsequent path choices but holy cow our experiences can really be so very limited! We don’t know what we don’t know, ya know?

    Guilty on drinking the alt news koolaid after my disillusionment from MS media. After a while I realized that sometimes its just the other side of the same coin and that putting full faith into any one source (leftover programming from the 20th Century I think) is folly, and, frankly, kinda lazy.

    More and more I get how important the moment is, and the choices we are making right now, what we are putting out there and what we are choosing to reflect. Be wise, prepare for the worst yet hope for the best, but don’t forget to live life and appreciate the beauty around us every day in every moment.

    I still get caught in the drama of control but these thoughts help me pull back out, at least for a little while. Its like a muscle, gotta exercise it to build its strength. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  15. […] “I spent a lot of years trying to outrun or outsmart vulnerability by making things certain and definite, black and white, good and bad. My inability to lean into the discomfort of vulnerability limited the fullness of those important experiences that are wrought with uncertainty: Love, belonging, trust, joy and creativity to name a few.” ~ Brene Brown “It is in the admission of ignorance and the admission of uncertainty that there is hope for the continuous motion of human beings in some direction that doesn’t get confined, permanently blocked, as it has so many times before in various periods in the history of man.” ~Richard P. Feynman I wrote to a friend this morning: “It is incredible how certain and smug people are about their one little sliver of reality they just discovered. Multi-facets? Unknowns? Oh, no. They have the answers and they don’t even recognize how they’re all being played. Why is it so difficult for people to admit, “I don’t know all the answers to this. I realize there may be hidden factors off my radar, so I will prepare some contingency plans just in case I’m wrong in this moment of smug satisfaction”? Is it because if they admitted to themselves some things they don’t know they might get scared by the vastness of what they don’t know and fear (even healthy warnings) is against their new religion?” As ironic as it is for me to quote Donald Rumsfeld’s much dismissed comment used to justify another bogus war, he was hiding the uncomfortable truth in plain view when he said: “Reports that say that something hasn’t happened are always interesting to me, because as we know, there are known knowns; there are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns — the ones we don’t know we don’t know. And if one looks throughout the history of our country and other free countries, it is the latter category that tend to be the difficult ones.” “Unknown unknowns” can be used to shape all manner of public policies, wars, and protocols, because when individuals and/or entire cultures forget or dismiss that there may be unknown unknowns, they leave themselves vulnerable to blind spots and subject to the Hegelian Dialectic of problem, reaction, solution. When we befriend uncertainty, we discover that other options exist! Here’s Joanna Macy sharing the incredible freedom and rewards of uncertainty: http://www.laurabruno.wordpress.com / link to original article […]

    Like

  16. Posted by Kieron on September 25, 2014 at 11:08 am

    “… I’m glad some goodhearted, reasonably awake people are still choosing to procreate. If they weren’t, then the future would look much bleaker than it does. Some of the souls coming in these days are just incredible!”

    You know, I honestly had not looked at it quite like that. Thanks for helping shift my POV just a bit. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Posted by James G on September 25, 2014 at 12:58 pm

    Quoting Pythagorus “The more I know, the more I know I don’t know”. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Thanks, James! That was actually the quote I was looking for to include in the post, but I couldn’t remember who said it or the exact phrasing. Good old Pythagoras, of course! 🙂

    Like

  19. “Be wise, prepare for the worst yet hope for the best, but don’t forget to live life and appreciate the beauty around us every day in every moment.” Excellent advice! Thanks for the additional comments and insights. 🙂

    Like

  20. […] brings us back to yesterday’s post about becoming comfortable with uncertainty and “dealing with that which you might not know.” We need to keep ourselves out of the […]

    Like

  21. Reblogged this on Forever Unlimited and commented:

    Dealing with That Which You Might Not Know
    Posted September 24, 2014 by laurabruno
    Tagged: Intention, Joanna Macy, Uncertainty.
    “Some thoughts to ponder, especially for people newly awakening to the sham of consensus reality on this planet:

    It’s very tempting to jump from one certainty to a complete rejection of that “certainty” and replacing it with another rigid, absolute “truth.” I see this happen all the time. It’s one reason ex-smokers tend to be most intolerant of smokers and why ex-fundamentalist Christians so often become fundamentalist New Agers … or why people who find some conspiracy theories turned out to be true often run through a phase in which they knee-jerk reject everything mainstream and swallow everything alternative. This dynamic gets people into trouble and makes them easy pickin’s for manipulation and psyops. Learning to face uncertainty brings challenges, but “Knowing that you know nothing is the beginning of wisdom.”

    “I spent a lot of years trying to outrun or outsmart vulnerability by making things certain and definite, black and white, good and bad. My inability to lean into the discomfort of vulnerability limited the fullness of those important experiences that are wrought with uncertainty: Love, belonging, trust, joy and creativity to name a few.” ~ Brene Brown

    “It is in the admission of ignorance and the admission of uncertainty that there is hope for the continuous motion of human beings in some direction that doesn’t get confined, permanently blocked, as it has so many times before in various periods in the history of man.”
    ~Richard P. Feynman

    I wrote to a friend this morning:

    “It is incredible how certain and smug people are about their one little sliver of reality they just discovered. Multi-facets? Unknowns? Oh, no. They have the answers and they don’t even recognize how they’re all being played. Why is it so difficult for people to admit, “I don’t know all the answers to this. I realize there may be hidden factors off my radar, so I will prepare some contingency plans just in case I’m wrong in this moment of smug satisfaction”? Is it because if they admitted to themselves some things they don’t know they might get scared by the vastness of what they don’t know and fear (even healthy warnings) is against their new religion?”

    As ironic as it is for me to quote Donald Rumsfeld’s much dismissed comment used to justify another bogus war, he was hiding the uncomfortable truth in plain view when he said: “Reports that say that something hasn’t happened are always interesting to me, because as we know, there are known knowns; there are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns — the ones we don’t know we don’t know. And if one looks throughout the history of our country and other free countries, it is the latter category that tend to be the difficult ones.”

    “Unknown unknowns” can be used to shape all manner of public policies, wars, and protocols, because when individuals and/or entire cultures forget or dismiss that there may be unknown unknowns, they leave themselves vulnerable to blind spots and subject to the Hegelian Dialectic of problem, reaction, solution. When we befriend uncertainty, we discover that other options exist! Here’s Joanna Macy sharing the incredible freedom and rewards of uncertainty:”

    Joanna Macy on Uncertainty

    Like

  22. […] Ebola in the first place? This dynamic was one of the inspirations for my post about “Dealing with That Which You Might Not Know.” Of course, that post applies to many things, not just this media […]

    Like

  23. Uncertainty is some of the most fertile grounds for self discovery. Delve deep because we are virtually limitless in our individual and collective vastness. Ever since 9.11.01 precognition dreams have guided deeper understanding of major events, Sandy hook, Santa Barbara shooting etc. Never underestimate the power of a centered and energetically connected population, and our profound affects on the collective consciousness! Fear can be powerful attractor, but love has a limitless ceiling, exponentially guiding the fluid reality we exist in. Much love and compassion to all.

    Like

  24. Thank you for this beautiful comment, Doright and fear nothing! Blessings, love and compassion to you, too.

    Like

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