Throughout history human beings have claimed to ‘know’ the truth about things. We have developed stories and theories and ideas to explain our world, and when we come up with something we think is true we claim to ‘know’ what is real. Science is, at its core, simply a formalized process of trying both to ‘know’ and to communicate ‘knowing’.
The challenge with ‘knowing’ is that every time we think we have figured something out we are presented with information that either contradicts or expands what we think is true. We ‘knew’ the world was flat, now we believe it is spherical. For a long time we were certain the earth was center of the universe, then the sun, now scientists believe there may not be an actual ‘center’ as such. Until recently the atom was the smallest known object…now there are quantum particles. Energy and matter used to be separate concepts, now they are interchangeable. I could go on and on. The bottom line is that what we ‘know’ is in a constant state of change.
This is especially true with human relations. To ‘know’ another is impossible. We can only attempt to connect and to try to perceive their reality from our own perspective. We cannot be certain what is happening from ‘behind the veil’ of their existence. If we assume we know a person then we immediately limit who they can be in our eyes. Humans have claimed to know each other throughout history (especially in groups)…the result being division and misunderstanding.
If we want to expand our understanding of the world (and the people in it) we must first relinquish any claim to ‘knowing’ anything. We need to become humble in the face of our own limited perceptions. The only thing we can truly know is how we feel inside…everything else is a constrained by how much we can see in any given moment. When we acknowledge that we don’t know things we open ourselves to experiencing a larger reality. In fact, the greatest breakthroughs in human thought and creativity have come when the slate of ‘knowing’ has been wiped clean.