It's OK To Not Know
"I am the wisest man alive, for I know one thing, and that is that I know nothing."
--Plato (quoting Socrates), The Republic
I don't know what the next few months are going to look like. I don't know what my next few hours are going to look like. I've gotten relatively accustomed to that feeling. I don't know what the best health/political decisions are...I'm just trying to be safe and make sense of the world under its new rules. I let myself daydream, I give myself breaks from mainstream media speculation and heated online debate, and I let my mind ask questions. But I've noticed that too many assumptions or detailed predictions make me borderline insane in very little time. Express tickets to paralyzing worry are being handed out, often unintentionally, by everyone we know and follow, and I sometimes grab one out of habit.
I read an insightful essay by Charles Eisenstein called "Coronation", which makes a few important points, one of them being: what happened to it being OK to not know the answer right away?
This resonates with me deeply. The only real answer to avoiding 'fake news' and manipulative media spin is to allow ourselves to sit with a lack of true answers, however uncomfortable. Real answers take a lot of time, clarity, and collaboration to uncover. Many of us have been gifted quiet time to ourselves to seek our own clarity and find our why's. Many of us have been shown alternative options to the old norms: new patience, new habits, new perspectives. I have rethought almost every aspect of my life: family and love relationships, career, self-analysis, creativity, finance, and fitness, and each day it seems I'm not quite finished. Unexpected bits of art and communication open me up even further each day. And I have to be OK with that. I have to be OK with not knowing, and not assuming.
It's counterintuitive sometimes. I found out an old friend from the dance world passed away unexpectedly today... and so few details were offered. But now is not the time to play detective. It's a time to remember and sit with grief and ask what I can do to help. I'm tempted to turn on CNN and learn everything I can about the antibody tests, the vaccines, the government roll outs, the elections, but every time I do so I see the great swath of unknown being filled with mostly unqualified, unhelpful predictions and conspiracy theories. If we can't come at this ordeal with a little curiosity and openness, we will have a lot more trouble coping with the final results. Even my dependable news recap guy, Philip Defranco, had to take a break from covering the pandemic because the depression and uncertainty was weighing too heavy, another reminder that the unknown has to be OK sometimes.