Tuesday, November 27, 2018

What, Really, Do We Know?

by John Boodhansingh of Zero Mindfulness

The way we’ve been taught to think about the information presented to us in life can generally be summed up in the following 2 ways:
  1. Either you know it or you don’t;
  2. Either it’s true or it’s false.
  3. And you damn well better get it right.
Oh. I guess there were 3… Whatever the case, this way of thinking is very closed-minded.

We learn things we’re told are “true,” and then we say, “I know.”

Even though we learn countless things later on that cause us to see that what we’d learned prior was false, we still go on saying, “I know.”

Even though there are countless theories that we only have partial explanations for, we still go on saying, “I know.”

Even though there are countless ideas we hear second- or sixty-second-hand, we still accept them and go on saying, “I know.”

The question begs to be asked, What, really, do we know?

The purpose of this blog post is to show that so-called "knowing" doesn't actually afford us the value we've been led to believe. I’ll show this by explaining what I see as the two types of knowing: one I refer to as “knowing,” in quotes and with a lowercase “k”, and the other as Knowing, with a capital “K”.

By the end you should be able to see, at least intellectually, why knowing something is often no better, and many times worse, than knowing nothing and simply letting all information flow and using the best available in any given moment.


The first type of knowing we can label as “knowing.” This is maintained with a lowercase “k” and has quotes around it because the foundation on which it rests can be mildly to outstandingly unstable.

To explain, let’s look at a few different categories and examples of each.

Egoic “knowing”
Egoic “knowing” enhances a distorted sense of self. It provides us with a sense of being “better than” so that we don’t have to feel the pain of our subconscious beliefs of being “less than.”

This “knowing” contains all self- and other-identity information that falls under fear, judgment, criticism, gossip, etc.

When invested in blame, he-said/she-said, and things of this nature, we obviously believe our own beliefs about “who I am,” “how it is,” and “how people are,” and we also easily fall prey to believing others’ ideas of the same. These things must necessarily be false because they are so strongly based in negative perception.

Worldly “knowing”
Worldly “knowing” pertains to the information we get from “authoritative” sources. Whether of business, politics, or whatever, we’re told whatever drives profit.

If it’s profitable to drill for oil when far cleaner and cheaper energy sources exist, then research, articles, data sets, and so forth are going to be skewed to fit the agenda. If it’s profitable to create ever more regulations and laws in order to increase taxes, fines, and fees, then the politicians will do just that.

“Authority” avoids what does not increase profit. This means that our “understanding” of “how things are” are not truth-driven, but profit-driven.

Scientific “knowing”
We have some theories that are arguably correct; we have some theories that are arguably incorrect. We have some theories that we can’t resolve; we have some theories that in order to figure them out we’re going to have to overhaul foundational theories we’ve long accepted as “true.”

Almost every side has scientific evidence to support it (or so it’s skewed to be so); almost every side has scientific evidence to debunk it (or so it’s skewed to be so).

What we can actually say we Know scientifically is utterly miniscule. Again and again we learn something and say we “know,” yet with time and further observation and experimentation, we learn new things that trump the old.

It’s all fine and good to use the best information we have in any given moment, but it’s not good to identify with that information and hold it as irrefutably true (and regularly bash those who say otherwise) when it rarely ever is.

Religious “knowing”
Dogma and doctrine and the like are sets of concepts about “how things truly are.” These are formulated by religious leaders and must be accepted unquestionably as true. Yet every last religious sect has slight or major differences from every other.

Then there are varying (cherry-picked) scriptures upon which any given religion is based. And with the Bible, for instance, there are as many translations as there are languages, and within each of these languages there are countless versions. Furthermore, some argue for 100% literal interpretation, some argue for 100% metaphorical, some argue for both, some argue for whatever is convenient to a given argument, and so on.

At least in this context, what good is religion when everyone effectively has their own and the one each has is designed for organizational preference?

School “knowing”
This grouping is for what might be described, more or less appropriately, as “pointless intellectual information gathering.”

People are forced to learn a whole lot of stuff about this and that of which they’ll build on in later schooling but most of which they’ll never use again in their lives. (All the while, they learn virtually nothing about practical life skills such as first aid, cooking, health, emotional balancing, house ownership, financial planning, sexuality, and so on.)

Also in this category is, for example, the endless garbage learned by “professionals” such as doctors who go to any of the many medical schools that are bought out by Big Pharma companies. Obviously, as a mega-billion-dollar industry, Big Pharma is going to provide pro-Pharma textbooks and offer grants only to scientific studies that fit its people-must-be-sick-for-us-to-profit business model while skewing to their gain any research that doesn’t result to their benefit.

The only possible outcome to such biased chicanery is decades of research and education that is largely junk.

Memory “knowing” and the Mandela Effect
Being aware of our past experiences—as memories—are useful things, but they’re also prone to error.

Time and health degrade our memories; stress, beliefs, and fears skew our memories; and our minds are generally open to suggestion of things which had never occurred. (Hence, as it is said, why he who controls the present, controls the past.) In fact, it’s possible to recollect a past event wrongly just by our attempt at recollection: since the mind “needs” to know, it may fabricate false details simply to fill in the blanks.

Then there’s the Mandela Effect. This became popularized when a woman, who had vivid memories of Nelson Mandela dying in prison in the 1980’s, found out that not only did Mandela “actually” die in 2013, but that many people shared her same, apparently “false” memory. “Tank Boy,” the man who’d stood by himself in front of the column of tanks in Tiananmen Square in 1989, is another one. There are people claiming to clearly recall the tank running him over and seeing his gored body on the street—yet what we “know” currently is that the man had never been harmed.

There are plenty of these that I can attest to remembering what is apparently “false,” as well. To name only a few:

The department store, “J.C.Penney.” When I was a kid, I’m virtually certain it was “J.C.Penny.” I can’t say when exactly the second “e” began appearing in the name, but I’ve long had the subtle sense that the name has looked elongated and somehow different. Another is the kid’s show, Looney Toones. I know that when I was a kid, both words had a double “o”. Well, apparently that doesn’t exist anymore except on webpages related to the Mandela Effect. Now, it’s, Looney Tunes. Or Mr. Rogers singing, “It’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood.” Apparently, it goes, “It’s a beautiful day in this neighborhood.” Not in my childhood.

Recently, my sister brought up a picture on her computer of her, our cousin, and I at a carnival from only a few years ago. We haven’t yet asked my cousin about it, but the rest of us are utterly baffled because none of us remember where it was, when it was, or actually being there—we remember nothing about it. My mom says she “sort of vaguely” remembers taking a picture, but that’s it. And for all the pictures both my mom and my sister take, it’s the only picture we have of the event. It’s as though a glitch in the matrix allowed the picture to flick in from a parallel universe.

Examples of this effect, and there are hundreds, if not thousands, in the US alone, suggest that our memories are, well, not quite what we think they are. For the Mandela Effect to occur means that there must be parallel universes and alternate timelines over-laying the one we perceive to be “the only” but which we fluidly shift into, out of, and/or merge with without ever overtly knowing.

This can potentially make memories pointless in arguing over because some people really might know different from others yet all could be correct. Attempts at debunking can be equally useless because, one, in some instances there is evidence that strongly suggests multiple, simultaneous realities, and two, it’s simply not possible for anyone to place two or more parallel universes side-by-side to draw a definite conclusion.

“knowing,” Summed Up
While “knowing” can certainly play a useful role, in all cases what is “known” is bound for change, and quite often it’s just a database of information that’s false or irrelevant to a given “knower.” Sometimes the reality of the information is anyone’s guess.

That said, we would do well to choose what we “know” wisely.


The second type of knowing is Knowing. This knowing we’ll denote with a capital “K” due to the solidity of the information.

What we can Know is much less than what we can “know,” yet it is vastly more important. Here are two major categories:

Laws of Nature and Existence
What applies to this first category of Knowing are the laws of nature.

This is not to be misinterpreted as, for example, the scientific laws of nature. To say “scientific” too much implies mathematics and research and the like. What is meant here is the simple awareness of “how things are.”

For instance, we can Know with profound confidence that if we roll a bowling ball down an alley, we will, assuming we’re not a terrible shot, hit at least some of the pins set up at the other end. We can Know, at least with some degree of self-realization, that when we hurt others, we hurt ourselves.

In life as we know it, there are certain rules that determine how our existence operates. Once realized, we can say that we Know these because they are witnessed through direct experience and their happening has no bearing on whether or not we are in any way aware of their intellectual theory.

Intuition is what could be described as “Knowing without knowing.”

When we’re walking down the street and get an unexpected urge to turn right at the next intersection rather than the one after as we’d intended, this would be intuition.

Perhaps in doing so, we’d avoid having to backtrack because the street we’d intended to turn onto was blocked off. Or maybe nothing at all would appear wrong, but those guiding us from the Other Side had seen a near-future potential that we’d be hit by a biker should we not have taken a different path.

Although the how or why may not be clear, intuition is a Knowing that is very true but also quite personal: if someone doesn’t “get” intuition, it cannot be explained to them; there is nothing to prove. Indeed, many people say the claimed intuitive actions of others, and even of themselves if acted on unconsciously, are “just a coincidence” or “a matter of luck.”

Knowing, Summed Up
Knowing is solid. Either it’s based on foundational principles of life, or it’s born of higher, personal truth.

This type of Knowing, though it may change, is sourced from personal experience and inner awareness.

There’s Always More, So Don’t Hold On Too Tightly.

Virtually everything we can know will change.

Of “knowing,” this should be self-evident: If information is not outright garbage, the law of life is change and so there will always be some new piece of information that overwrites the old. “knowing” can therefore only be temporary, at best.

Of Knowing, we only Know what we Know. What, for instance, are the observable laws of physics in another star system or dimension? It’s silly to think that what we count on as true here on Earth is true throughout the All. Or for the one who has an intuition, the thing they Know to do today for a positive result could be null or even cause trouble if delayed until tomorrow.

Knowing, any type of knowing, is a temporal thing. By all means, yes, learn. After all, learning is what life is about. We’re here for discovery, of self, other, and existence. But ultimately we must accept that there’s a higher truth to everything... and a higher truth beyond that… and a higher truth beyond that… and, well, you get the idea.

In letting information and awareness flow, we can easily reject and/or detach from what may be harmful, utilize the best information available in any given moment, and always remain open to the newer and better.

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