I do not know it all, and I regularly assert that.
However, on the flip side of this is actively knowing something. There are many times in life when we have to do this, as adults, as workers, as humans. A lot of people aren’t cued into the amount of knowingness they have, as they take for granted their ability to learn, discern, critique and reinvent constantly. This happens in the grocery store, while surfing the web, and while walking down the street. A trillion times a minute neurons in our brains are firing and synapses are connecting, choices are being made and knowingness is happening.
Have you ever spent time with people who actively did not know things they actually did know? It may seem as if they are choosing not to choose, deciding not to decide. This is inactive not knowingness, and it’s different from the other two scenarios I’ve painted. In this scene the character leaves behind their abilities to make decisions, simply suspending their judgment- better or otherwise- while not knowing they’re doing this. They may appear incapacitated or indifferent to the choices that face them, allowing their knowingness to dissipate or surrendering their knowingness to others.
The reasons for this may be myriad, oftentimes the outcome of traumatic experiences or other dynamic situations.
However, in our day and age I am concerned that young people themselves are being routinely subjected to mass incapacitation of knowingness, largely but not exclusively dependent on their socio-economic backgrounds. They’re growing up in homes where parents have assumed majority decision-making responsibilities throughout heir childhoods and youth, to the point where these young people become whole incapable of knowing what they know- or what they’re supposed to know. Then they attend schools that have reduced learning to rote memorization, devoid of critical thinking, and then they attend colleges where corporate foundations donate mass amounts of money to ensure curricula are devoid of resistance.
The few young people who do break free of these environments of ignorance become cynical of the culture and society that raised them. In turn, they abandon the democratic ideals that fostered their families’ ascendencies into middle class in the first place, and they join the growing mobs of anarchic thinking apathetic minorities. All because they didn’t know. They didn’t know what they knew, and when they discovered what they should’ve known they rebelled against not knowingness.
Where in your life do you actively suspend your knowingness? Where do you passively close your eyes and go along for the ride? Take a moment and consider your family, friends, workplace, neighborhood… We all do it, whether or not we’re aware of it. Where do you not know…?
CommonAction is available to train, coach, speak, and write about this topic across the US and Canada. Contact Adam to learn about the possibilities by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling (360) 489-9680.