We live in a time where the zeitgeist demands: You must know. Not only that, you must know a lot, instantaneously, and always. No matter what, you must never stop knowing. We are inundated with more information than we could make use of in multiple life times. Awash in a tsunami of information, images and new sources of output, we try and keep up. There is always something else to check out. There is always something more that we just have to see. Along the way, our sense of ease and well-being erodes. This is not just because of the content. And this is not just because of how much effort and time that this takes from us. The biggest impact lies in our knowing, way down deep, what a false and futile chase this is leading us on.
Despite our distorted need to daily run this never-ending treadmill, we know somewhere inside that we will never be able to do it. Rightly so. And yet, we soldier on. We tell ourselves how great it is. How advanced we are. How much better our lives are. And we are training entire generations to build lives on this lie. While the ego eats it all up, the health of our bodies, minds and spirits tells a different story. These parts speak the real tale of living with the pervasive, constant and ultimate impossibility of keeping up with all that is being generated by the machines. We are sicker than we have ever been, despite all of our “advances.” There is even a new mental health category: FOMO. Fear of missing out.
What would it be like to not know? What would it be like to not have every answer instantaneously? What would it be like to spend time with children puzzling something out as opposed to letting Google give them the answer right away? Without a sense of the unknown, we run the risk of believing the wrong things about ourselves. Without a sense of the unknown, we run the risk of believing the wrong things about how life and the Universe actually works. Without a sense of the unknown, we run the risk of believing that machines are more powerful than anything else. And without a sense of the unknown, we run the risk of believing that our lives are most fully lived in the pursuit of more and more information; reducing ourselves down to little more than zip drives.
Try this: Upon awakening in the morning, let yourself speak out loud some version of, “I do not know what this day will bring.” Say this despite knowing your schedule and how you need your day to go. “I do not know what the weather will bring.” Say this despite being able to pull up the 10 day forecast in a heartbeat. “I do not know what the world at large will do.” Say this despite the availability of live streaming into every nook and cranny of the world. With all of our ability to know everything, right now, we are masking something vital that we require as human beings; a relationship to the unknown. A way of being mortal that keeps truth, wonder, curiosity, connection to something Greater, along with the knowledge of our own fragility and vulnerability, alive and well. Do not be quick to annihilate this in your life. Do not be quick to obliterate this from your children’s lives. To do so, puts us in the position of believing the wrong things, leaving us at risk to perils that are heart-breaking, soul-sucking and health-depleting.
And while dread, uncertainty, fear and anxiety may arise in admitting just how much we do not know, these words are closer to the truth than any idea you might have about what is going to happen this day. Notice the possibilities that arise when you align with the unknown. Notice the burden that gets put down. Notice the ease that is allowed to come in because you have turned towards the Truth. When we can allow ourselves to turn to Truth, there is a peace that follows. As Swami Kripalu once said, “We are on a journey from the known to the unknown.”