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What is it Like Not to Know?

What is it like not to know

Without facts, fantasies and theories swarm into tortured minds – or just curious ones – to pick over. The disappearance of flight MH370 has taught us that modern life is not beyond mystery, that our gird-mapped, super-connected world is less graspable than we thought. It has reminded us of a timeless agony – what it is not to know. – Janice Turner, The Times London

It’s been over 13 days from the time Malaysian flight 370 went missing with 239 people on board. Twenty-six nations are in the search process. Families, friends and loved ones are hoping for some answer or confirmation of MH370’s whereabouts.

In a world such as ours, with all the interconnectivity and satellite communications, there is silence – dead silence.

What is it like not to know?

One friend of mine said it this way – “If you don’t know, then your happy. But if you know that you don’t know, then you’ll be frustrated. The Human mind is curious since creation.” Knowledge is vital to our existence. We need to have the right knowledge in the right time to make the best use of it. I personally hate not knowing what I need to know.

“The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing.” – Socrates

Even as I take a step back and see the bigger picture, this is definitely not the first time we have not known things. I googled the blog title and Google gave search results like, – What is it like not know who your father is? , What is it like not to have a mom on mother’s day? . Search results like this gives us an idea of how personal this question is, ‘what is it like not to know?’

To every person his or her situation and circumstances seem the most difficult of moments. I can feel the pain and agony of the family members of MH370, not to know whether their loved ones are alive or dead. Not knowing is like a vacuum where it sucks you dry from within.

A family member of one passenger made this comment,”I hope the search operation data is being shared between all 26 countries.” Information is power. Knowledge and education is every human right. But getting the right knowledge is important. Sometimes we need to sort out facts from fiction, but in order to do so we must know how to do just that. In the search for truth we look for points of reference to anchor our information, to convert them into facts.

We may know ‘A B C D E F G H J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z’. But in order to know where it’s true or not, we need a point of reference. In the illustration I have purposely left out alphabet ‘I’ –  if you did notice it, you would have had the knowledge of the right order of alphabets in order to know there’s a missing letter. We need a point of reference. The reason I brought this up because of the many rumours and presumptions about MH370 are going around in the media. It’s only by the right point of reference can we be sure of which direction to pursue and each direction needs to be verified.

Knowledge is one of five disciplines that comes together to give us an expression on what ‘Truth’ really is.

The five disciplines are:

  • God (theology)
  • Knowledge (epistemology)
  • Reality (ontology)
  • Empiricism  (sciences)
  • Morality (ethics)

Some other time I shall speak about the other disciplines. In closing let’s look back at the 20th century during the second world war Germany was at the height of knowledge. They had the best of scientists who would use their knowledge to make weapons of warfare (ref: Operation Paperclip). Somehow in their pursuit of knowledge they found it alright to exterminate a part of their own populace.

Knowledge on it’s own and at it’s fullest; is sitting on the crossroads of Liberty and Oppression.

Let me end by asking two questions:
Do we have a right point of reference in our thirst for knowledge? or Are we misusing knowledge for our own agenda?

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