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  • Michael Greenspun

The Art of Not Knowing

Updated: Aug 17, 2020


We like to know things. In fact, the more informed we are, the plans we make and execute, the resourcefulness and wisdom we gain through just living our experiences is how we survive. Yet, often we do not know what will happen next or if we do know, we don’t exactly know how it will happen. This is not esoteric.

From the most serious--how will we come through the worst pandemic in a century, put food on the table, keep our shelters, maintain or find employment, be provided healthcare, keep our sanity, not give up hope—to the less immediate but nonetheless important questions of finding joy, contentment, even some sense of “normalcy,” not knowing feels hellish.Yet, even in pre-pandemic times when the market was way up and there seemed more reason to be content, if not even happy, much was not known.

There are many things I wish to know. It helps me plan and execute, there is a logic that seems sane. There’s order. But that’s often not how life works. John Lennon was quoted as saying “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.”

Planning. Working at it. Goal setting and execution. Carry on. And yes, have hope, faith, the muse, the sense of being of and part of the universe, anything that helps during this time when we simply don’t know when the pandemic will be conquered, when employment opportunities will be vast, when we can hug our extended families and friends, feel connected and together, and know in our hearts we can face anything, including not knowing the future.

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