You guys, I don’t know much. I’m serious. Now, I don’t know nothing either, but I surely don’t know much.
The things I do know:
- Cooked carrots have the consistency of baby vomit.
- The smell of cooking kidney beans makes me queasy.
- A destroyed toenail will always take longer than anticipated to grow back in.
- No matter how many times I think staying up until 3 am is a good idea, my body will rebel the next day.
Other than those four things, I think everything else I’ve ever said, felt, done, or thought is open for debate. How are Americans viewed by the rest of the world? What an embarrassing concoction of blame and privilege… What the word “artist” means? That changes in direct proportion to how much academic theory I’ve been reading versus how much Backstreet Boys I’ve been listening to. How to maintain a nurturing, intimate relationship? Holy crap… that’s what the Self-Help section of the Barnes & Noble is for.
It has been my experience that the more I read, the more people I meet, the more and more I delve into the world’s beautiful and overwhelming complexity, the more I realize how little I know.
Luckily, other people are more eloquent than I:
‘The more you know, the less you understand.’ — Lao-Tse (Tao Te Ching, The Book of the Way and its Virtue, 6th C. BC)
Oh, I’m sorry – I almost missed the perfect 90’s music reference moment. Cue “the more I know, the less I understand…”
While in Cape Town, Jennifer, a wise sage, told me while picking up broken glass out of a burnt out building in preparation for an impromptu art exhibition:
I don’t want somebody coming in here and saying, ‘Oooh chil’, let’s leave…’
If I take that advice to heart and decide that, “Ah, yes. I don’t want someone coming to my blog and, in a flash judgment, saying, ‘Oooh chil’, this girl doesn’t know anything,’ ” the best way to prevent this may be to admit up front that I don’t know anything.
So, I will say it again:
I don’t know much of anything for certain – about politics, about global history, about social infrastructure, about travel writing, about “fine art”, about you, about me.
But in the midst of our inability-to-know as individuals, by sharing our intimate, vulnerable selves and strengthening our creative bonds to each other, we can pool our sparks of experience to make the world a warmer, more compassionate place.
(Oh, I should probably add to “The Things I do know” list – how to pick up shards of glass without gloves and without cutting myself even once. Jennifer and I were an indefatiguable duo. I know I want to be as awesome as her when I grow up.)