“To tell the truth” always requires a certain amount of fabrication! Lying is natural, comes of itself”
-Paul Valery, Monsieur Teste-
Enough is known to know I will not know it. Know what?, I am able to ask. What I don’t know. Enough is known to know that.
That’s leaving aside the forgetting and confusion. The shaky content of what I barely, and rarely, know (retain or recall) of what supposedly I “know” already. Ever slipping, fragmenting, recombining, sieving in and out of my “experience.” All mostly a matter of hearsay, of reading and listening, of the saying-so of others, of instruction, of my own perception and interpretive intrigue. Nothing known for certain, only “known” in certain ways, at certain times, simply operable and opportunistic, happenstance conflagrations, bastardized convergences. My “knowledge.”
On occasion, per occasion, one might say I “know” something. I must “know” to utilize paper and pen, a share in the language to be scribbling these terms, an awareness of others who might recognize them – words and marks to read and write, perhaps to say…
Per occasion, it sometimes seems to function – these words, these sounds, these marks and referents, inventions – at times, in places… per occasion.
Enough to know there is not much known, and that, occasionally.
In many situations even what is written above would be to no effect. Unknown or unknowable, misunderstood and mis-taken, discombobulating.
On occasion I have thought that I was coming to know. A thing or two. (“When the mind has put a thing through a certain number of transformations, it can only let go of it. A ‘thing’ is that which can undergo such treatments without becoming unrecognizable.” – Paul Valery). Some equation, expression, a certain order of words or section of world, apparent communicable system or game, even familiarity with so-signified “facts.”
Enough to know I did not know what I thought I knew. Per occasion.
Contradiction. Non-transference. Con-fusion. My “knowing” as some idiosyncratic amalgam of language and what is called “experience,” or moving about and within an environment, participant, (of which language constitutes such large part – whether gestures, ideas, dialect, signs or names – yet apparently also extending beyond and outside of language – the ‘unsayable’ – or so it is said – “We can do something to what does not exist: we can name it” – Valery), all of which, when tested by or combined with further, other, subsequent and/or prior language + experience… dissolves into significant doubt and is put into question (experience), per occasion.
In other words, what appears to be “knowledge” is a continuous process of revision, correction, and extension, according to occasions or events.
An example: a “fact” is announced: “2+2=4.” Ocean & mountains + Nathan & raft = 4. Ida & Oliver + Dad & home = 4. A snake & a number + a planet & drought = 4. A dead horse & winter storm + a beard & a fire = 4. Each designation unequal. Two persons, two environments, two numbers, two perspectives, two experiences (and so on…) 4 wildly differing worlds (experiences, occasions). Any pair of designated elements + any pair of anything else = factually four diverse realities. Experience and language are uncountable, as every portion abstracted to “count” or “measure” is untrue. The facts are counterfactual. It is said that in some realm or practice designations may be calculated as torn from experiences and occasions and language – as abstract systems. But in what “realms?” What realms do not arise in messy, fuzzy, occasional experience? In fact, there are no accounts, records, calculations, or reports – all such verbs and activities necessitating “occasions” and/or “experiencing” – to be.
It tempts me to say “nothing is known” (for certain) but that reads a lot like a statement of knowledge.
Dear daughter of paradoxes: is this a paradox? “If I have certain knowledge it is the knowledge that I know nothing for certain”? or, “It is certain that knowledge is uncertain”?
I am not sure.
4 thoughts on “A Possible Paradox for Ida”
I think I know this: been thinking about you today. Am thankful for you. Miss seeing you. Happy Thanksgiving, Friend.
Thank you friend. Miss you too. Happy Thanksgiving. I am thankful for you.
“The wisdom of insecurity”, as Alan Watts called it. Much of what we ‘know’ seems little more than a slightly desperate grasping at gaining a secure foothold on the world and ourselves?
Reading your thoughts, Nathan, sometimes reminds me of a Seinfeld skit. It’s pure comedic pleasure!!! And yes…so grateful!