A space of Not Knowing

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Over the previous couple of weeks I have been in limbo, a space of total unknowing. A space which I can only attempt to describe through trying to explain how I experienced it – how it felt:

It was like finding oneself sitting alone on the floor of a dark and unfamiliar room. The room is silent and still, the temperature and humidity such that you can hardly feel the air around you. There is no way to tell how big the room is, or what else is in it, although you suspect its pretty large and largely empty. It is the feeling of being totally lost, but also safe at the same time. Nothing about this room is hostile to you, at worst it is indifferent, but you dare not get up for fear of heading off in the wrong direction, you strain all of your senses constantly: looking, listening, feeling, waiting. I found it an almost a meditative state, it came with this sense of openness and acceptance. I was meant to be in this place. This place is part of my journey. Sitting. Looking. Listening. Feeling. Waiting. Searching. Scanning for a flicker of light – a glow worm, a firefly –a point of light to act as a reference. A distant star towards which I could walk.

I’ve shared this description of my experience with not-knowing with a few of my friends and peers and surprisingly many assumed that this was a negative experience – which it wasn’t. However, upon reflection perhaps conjuring up an image of a young woman lost and alone in the dark does tap into an inexhaustible number or horror movie references for people… It seems that almost all of us are afraid of being alone in the dark – afraid of the unknown. We have become habituated to a world flooded by light, a world where everything is clearly demarcated, mapped out and defined; A world with clear rules and a set order; a world where everything makes sense and where everyone has a place. Or so we like to think. Despite our preferences the unknown looms large and infant all around us. Some of us, brave or foolish, dare to step out into the darkness and into the unknown in a quest to know more. A quest for new knowledge. I am one of those people and I embrace this darkness in the hope of noticing a new source of light – however distant and faint.

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From Within My Fortress

work in progress

I am trying to be and become more nuanced in my relationship to the world and to others… I feel like the walls and sharp edges which have been my fortress are being slowly worn away, eroding under the weight of the infinite expanding unknown.

Certainties, binaries and ultimate truths which I still cling to more as a reflex than anything are now beds of quicksand – I step confidently and then sink. I know not where I’m going, I question everything and everyone. All the while a mask of confidence hides my face.

I know nothing other than that I want to go on.

Maybe I will find something? Something worth experiencing, worth knowing, worth my time, worth the trust that others have instilled in me… maybe not.

Or worse,

Maybe I will learn something, something shiny and new, but I will not find the means through which to communicate it to the world. Maybe my insight will be lost on others and as a result be lost? Maybe my work will be misunderstood or dismissed all together as beautiful but harmless.

Maybe what we know can only be known by us?