Reflections on Not Knowing: by Peter London

Reflections on Not Knowing:  by Peter London

  • Not Knowing is the pregnant silence around which the world turns.
  • It is the zero point from which new things spring.
  • When all is empty, all is ready.
  • The new must wait until the past is gone to make its appearance.
  • Knowing what you do know is good.  Acknowledging what you don’t know is also good.  Appreciating where one leaves off and the other begins is very good.
  • Trust, not assurance, glides us past what we know, enabling us to tumble into the new.  When trust is insufficient, we still have faith to carry us further on.
  • Fear is the symptom indicating that great things are being confronted, the boundaries of what we take to be safe, real and good.
  • Fear creates a wall.  When confronted by a feared thing, we encapsulate ourselves, just as viruses and soldiers do when things are not going well.  With fear of the unknown compelling us, we break off contact with external reality and subcreate a smaller, safer enclosure, intended to be a temporary haven while the killing winds pass.  This is OK.  No one ought to be outside in such weather.  But when the weather lets up, and we still remain behind shuttered walls, that’s when problems arise.  No longer is it the harmful ephemeral “thing out there” that keeps us cloistered; now our memories and imaginations imprison us.  We forget that it was a passing storm that frightened us.  We then generalize from this episode and thus create a whole climate of inhibitions.  Finally we dwell there, sometimes for the rest of our life.
  • We must learn to discriminate between when the wind is blowing and when our memory is howling.  We must take courage to breach walls we have built to keep out the real dangers and test whether they are still present or have gone their ways.  And when it ceases to howl outside, we must have t he wherewithal to let it also go from our minds and turn to the new day.
  • Not Knowing need not engender fearful reactions precipitating the shutdown and withdrawal of our contact with the world.  Instead, rename it the pregnant silence, and in this way, lay claim to the place around which the world turns and makes itself new.

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