Not hoping to know…

By not knowing, not hoping to know and not acting like we know what’s happening, we begin to access our inner strength.

Pema Chödrön (b. 1936)

To live not knowing…

I think it’s much more interesting to live not knowing than to have answers which might be wrong. I have approximate answers, and possible beliefs, and different degrees of uncertainty about different things, but I am not absolutely sure of anything. There are many things I don’t know anything about, such as whether it means anything to ask “Why are we here?” I might think about it a little bit, and if I can’t figure it out then I go on to something else. But I don’t have to know an answer. I don’t feel frightened by not knowing things, by being lost in the mysterious universe without having any purpose – which is the way it really is, as far as I can tell.

Richard Feynman (1918 – 1988)

24 thoughts on “Not hoping to know…”

  1. In a way it’s all conjecture. I’ve never understood the idea that it not ok to change your mind. That’s what learning is all about. It’s one thing that really bothers me about cancel culture. Why must we forever be defined by our past mistakes? You can’t learn from mistakes if you’re not allowed to make any. (K)

  2. I note that Feynman just can’t resist postulating that the universe has no purpose, because he couldn’t seem to find one. A distinct departure from the idea of “resting in not knowing.”

    1. He qualifies it with “as far as I can tell.” But sure… I can see why somebody would want to highlight that part of the quote. Does the following quote make you feel more comfortable?

  3. The certainty of uncertainty leads me to the exercise of acceptance. I have to accept what i cannot know or what I cannot understand. If i fret and worry, I’m no closer to an answer and much further from inner peace.

    1. It leads me to acceptance too, Muri… the acceptance that not everything has to make sense, and the acceptance that fretting and worrying won’t make things better – so I don’t. That’s just where my internal process leads me… but it’s also a form of acceptance.


  4. Instant fail for me on the first quote. 😂😂. I instantly wanted to know what it was I was better off not knowing. But as I read further I realized that they weren’t suggesting ignorance… only openness. A very lovely aim.

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