Knowledge Versus Perception. “We Don’t Know What We Don’t Know.” Socrates

Truth is…I don’t even know myself anymore

Anonymous

I have been thinking lately about this particular phrase: “I don’t know”, because it became such mantra imprinted in my own mind, that I realized some things I was so sure of in the past, I am not so sure anymore. Some things I felt strongly about six months ago, I no longer feel drawn to. It’s not a matter of sudden change of heart, but it’s more of disappointment or realization, that things can appear certain way for a while, but actually be something else. Once I see it, I cannot un-see it. So, what happened? Did we change suddenly and start seeing things differently ? Or perhaps things have always been that way, but we failed to notice their real appearance? Perhaps, a bit of both? I have heard this phrase that, things are never the way they appear. It’s a good practice to hold that thought and keep little bit of mental distance to events in our lives, even though it may be little bit uncomfortable. It’s a good practice, in my opinion, allowing that space of observing your own emotions, thoughts and feelings without completely attaching ourselves to them, as they are transient in nature.

I don’t consider myself a philosopher, but as I began writing this little essay, I remembered that nihilism movement had something to say about this way of living a life. Nihilism is the belief that all values are baseless and that nothing can be known or communicated. A true nihilist would believe in nothing, have no loyalties, and no purpose other than, an impulse to destroy it. Contrary to nihilism, existentialism believes that people have control over their choices and actions and that these restrictions inhibit free will and the development of that person’s potential.

As I said earlier, I am not a philosopher, and I wasn’t going to write about nihilism or existentialism, but that is the mystery of writing. You start this act of writing, and you just don’t know where you are going to end up. It is like going down the rabbit hole. I don’t know what I am going to find at the end of the tunnel. Hopefully, the light and not the dead end.

My life has become this one big thing: ‘I don’t know’

Anonymous

This blog is not even about the recent events either, but I just used it as an example, how things can shift for us overtime, from the moment we feel strongly about something, to doubting the whole thing few months later. In a sense, I feel nihilism may have some good points of looking at life this way, that nothing has real meaning in life, but we tend to assign meaning to things, that otherwise are quite neutral. I know it sounds so mean, cold and dispirited, and I just wish things were different. On the other note, I know nihilism has some very important points, even though I couldn’t align myself completely with this philosophy. I guess I am not a true nihilist.

I feel like we tend to romanticize life quite a bit, I know I do, adding meaning to things and events, and when we don’t live up to our own expectations, we get sad and depressed. Personally, I am not a quitter, and always try to see that silver lining, as this is the only way I can move forward and keep dreaming big. I am aware that people experience big disappointments in life, and still need to find their own meaning in life and heal the trauma of those tragic events, in order to move forward, and not just to survive but to thrive. For some of us, it may be long journey to healing, and for others, life may never be the same, and we will not be able to reconcile easily the past traumas.

I don’t know what I feel anymore

Anonymous

It’s just a reminder to myself or anyone who reads it and if it resonates with what I am trying to articulate, that in fact we don’t know what the world is for. While I may not know the meaning behind the world, I am alive therefore I have a purpose. I believe we can create our own lives according to our choosing, even though, sometimes, we may have to learn how to ride the wave. When I live my life with joy and purpose I am closer to the truth, the knowledge.

I looked up some song lyrics about artists expressing the uncertainty about this thing we call life, and these words are pretty bleak:

I get up in the morning now, I don't know
I've been waiting for the evening now, I don't know
I've been lookin' for what's coming' now, I don't know
Would somebody please, help me (The Sheepdogs)
I got crows at my window
And dogs at my door
But I don't think I can take anymore
What am I doin' wrong?
I don't know (Paul McCartney - I don't know)

I chose these lyrics of the songs, because they clearly mirror the essence of my essay, the fact is that we constantly searching for the meaning of our existence, when in the moments of defeat, we come to realize the truth, that full knowledge is not accessible to us in this form, and we finally admit to ourselves the famous phrase: ‘I don’t know!’

Empty spaces – what are we living for? Abandoned places – I guess we know the score. On and on! Does anybody know what we are looking for?

Freddie Mercury

The fragment of writing taken from A Course of Miracles (ACIM) on the topic of Knowledge versus Perception really speaks to me and actually explains why we keep asking the same question, over and over and only come to the same conclusion: “I don’t know”.

“Certainty does not require action. When you say you are acting on the basis of knowledge, you are really confusing knowledge with perception. (…) Knowledge is the result of revelation and induces only thought. Even in its most spiritualized form, perception involves the body. Knowledge comes from the altar within and is timeless because it is certain. To perceive the truth is not the same as to know it. (from ACIM)”

Perception can and must be stabilized, but knowledge is stable.

ACIM

It tells me, as long as we are entangled with the form, the body, we are only able to perceive correctly or incorrectly. It takes, lots of thinking, asking questions, answering, filtering, adding and subtracting, when we finally arrive at perception, what may feel true to us at a given moment. But real Knowledge is instant, certain and unchangeable. If the truth changes, it wasn’t true, it was a perception. That is all we are capable of achieving in life, perceiving. Truth is only partially available to the mind and completely unaccessible to the body. This is what ACIM is telling us, so don’t quote me on that. It resonates with me, but it’s ok if it doesn’t resonate with you.

Not sad. Not happy. I don’t know what I am.

Anonymous

Finally, a little poem of Rumi here:

If your knowledge of fire has been turned to
certainty by words alone, then seek to be
cooked by the fire itself. Don't abide in borrowed
certainty. There is no real certainty until you
burn; if you wish for this, sit down in the fire. (Rumi)

What does Rumi have in mind? What are you own views of knowledge and perception? Are we just doomed here, not ever being able to taste that apple from the tree of knowledge? 

I don’t know what happened. Honestly, I just don’t know

Eddie Dominquez




Published by Marianna Maliszewska

“I cannot live without love. Love is at the root of my being.”― Anaïs Nin.

4 thoughts on “Knowledge Versus Perception. “We Don’t Know What We Don’t Know.” Socrates

  1. Here’s another saying of Rumi: “I always thought that I was me, but No, I was you and never knew it”. life is like a Mirror we see what we see in Mirror! As Rumi says Truth was a Mirror in the hands of God, it fell down and broke into thousands of pieces and everyone picked up a piece looked into it and thought they have the truth. What if we are all part of a whole and we all are sma ll pieces of the Puzzle!
    I have been thinking about the cycle of Life and Death. Why do we come and then die and disappear as if we never existed.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you Palwasha for your comment, as I tagged you, because I remembered you identify with Rumi. I am following ACIM teachings which I find practically identical to Rumi’s poetry, it’s about non-dualistic teaching, so yes, there is only one of us, and in duality, it’s been reflected in separation. seeing myself as one body and others as other bodies, in short it’s an illusion of separation. Everything here is a distorted reality, including birth and death. Definitely, we are spellbound. It’s like we are in the world but not of it. Yes, the cycle of birth and death is great mystery of life. Thank you for your contribution!

      Liked by 1 person

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