About knowing and belief

I’ve become interested in the big questions – even, the Big Question, if there’s only one. I used to feel cowed and embarrassed in discussions of these, because I hung out with some heavy thinkers, and I know serious people have done much better work than I on the big ideas for millennia; have, in fact, seen with a clarity that makes my efforts silly. I’m aware how little I know; how foolish I sound.

Suddenly, I’ve arrived. The big questions matter because they apply to me, too, and I’ve got the only answers I’ll ever understand.

For decades I’ve been emphatic that: ‘I don’t know anything. I believe what I choose.’ My belief has been more than idea, though, it’s been a ‘living’ presence in my experience. I’ve acted on it, or felt judged according to when I’ve acted against it. It’s a special type of idea: unless I pay attention, I behave as if I know it’s true. This alarms me, and I re-emphasize: ‘I don’t know anything.’

Then, it occurred to me, perhaps I do know something. Perhaps I know a lot. I simply can’t know what things I know are true. Not knowing doesn’t invalidate, it just makes me ignorant. How can I clarify my semantics?

I just tried, ‘I don’t believe anything – I hope!’

Plunk that down into old fashioned Christianity and let it soak for a few minutes.

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