From the Unknown

I know what I know.  Sounds strong, I am not sure about it after I postulated it so confidently.  I don’t know what else is there to know.  I know there is something I don’t know.  I am definitely sure about this last statement.

The moment I discover something, or someone tells me about something, I had not known before, I now know at least some part of it.  I know it exists and maybe its name.  Then I know of it, a fact I didn’t know but now, it is not unknown to me anymore.

Is the Unknown an assumption?  Can I know it exists?  I can deduce its existence, but does this solidify its substance?  Standing on the edge of my paradigm of knowledge, I can see out there the unknown.

Seeing it reduces already its level of unknowing.  The moment I step forward, I step into the unknown (this famous moment).  Half of the step is already being partially inside the unknown, thus, as I am moving with consciousness and knowing further into the unknown.  It is not unknown any longer, now I know it to some minute degree.

I don’t know what lays out there for me, I don’t know what the future will bring, but then, is there a future?  There is no tomorrow, only a Now.  And when the future and the Now shake hands it is not future any longer.  Now is all that is happening Now, the existence, the experience, the creation of knowing and its development.

We assume knowledge is ever expanding, but it may not, even it sounds plausible, but so was the flatness of the Earth.  We think of everything as continuing until we are shocked by the end of something.  We run out petrol, of food, of money, and ultimately of life.

The knowledge of the past is history.  All knowledge is from the past, it starts now and accumulates in form of memories.  I have experienced with awareness, therefore, I can remember, which is knowledge.

Since there was a beginning, whenever we agree this moment was, there is a defined amount of the past open to being remembered, from then to now.  Three years, five months, seven days, eleven hours, nineteen minutes and… The end of the past is now.

It may be hard to imagine, one day we will know everything about the past, from a moment in the far past to a moment in the near past, but this is irrelevant.  What counts is the recognition: it is a finite amount.

And what about the future?  One end of the future is the Now.  Further up I wrote: “The end of the past is now.”  The now seems to have two limits, one is the past, the end where the now ends, and one is the future, the point where the now begins.

Everything having one end must have another end or one could call it beginning.  Important is, it has a definite length.  Could we, one day, arrive at the other end of the future?  The end, the limit of all that can be known.  Is there more than the discovery of life?  The creation of the universe?  Shaking hands with God?  Any other suggestions.

…Into the Known

So often we hear or talk about ‘the fear of the unknown’ and ‘stepping into the unknown’.  Let me introduce you ‘to moving from the unknown to the known’.  Sounds weird?  Let us follow this lively conversation:

“Do you know the song: La Paloma Blanca?”  “No, what is it”  “It’s a Spanish song about a white seagull.”  “How does it go?”  “I play it for you.”  “That’s nice.  I like it.  I want to learn it.”

You practice for a week or so and then, at a moment, when the future has touched the now, you know the song.  A week ago you were not even aware of its existence.  All needed to be were the opportunity and your decision.  The learning started even before the decision when you heard the name for the first time.

You moved from the unknown into the known.

We only know a small part of our life, the rest, we believe we know.  Most of our life, even the parts we have lived are very distorted by our perception.  It is all an illusion.

We fool ourselves into knowing because it is too frightening to live without knowing.  Realistically, even we believe we know, our past is as unknown, and so is the future.

Once we increase our awareness and we live more, more becomes known to us.  Again, we move towards knowing.

If the amount of choices correlates with the amount of knowing then, living in the unknown has no limits and the most choices.  While as we know more about something, the range of choices within this given realm reduces until we arrive at the point of no choice, when we know something completely, intimately.

Once more, we moved from the unknown into the known.


For thousands of years, people have collected knowledge and some have been able to grasp it all, let’s say in a particular field, and became masters.  They formulated a clear, condensed version of this knowledge for us to learn.  We haven’t got thousands of years to live.

As long as this knowledge is passed on by a master, and I am thinking of old fields of knowledge such as Yoga, Shiatsu, Tai Chi, Ayurveda and Shamanism, we can gain this knowledge through this master.  If there is no living master left, we end up with a religion and the knowledge is lost.

It needs to be rediscovered.

Knowledge exists, whether we know it or not, for its existence, it does not need us knowing it.  Like the Zen koan goes: “If the tree has fallen and no one has seen or heard it, has it really fallen?”

While we learn and experience we move towards knowing of all Knowledge, inevitably, ever so slowly.  And everyone keen enough can rediscover Knowledge and if we take the opportunity to compare, we find sameness, the character of Knowledge.  Residing in the realm of personal knowledge suggests, one does not know much, has not shared and or benefited from moving towards Knowledge.

Ignorance, apathy and fear may slow down or even stop this process, but there is no way of reversing it.  What you know, you know.  Once you have opened the door and entered into a room, you know what’s in it.  Even when you walk out and close the door, you still know.

But then, there is forgetting?  Yes, we may forget the path, on which we walked to arrive here, at this moment.  Knowledge is not like a bank account, the more money you deposit the bigger the number on your monthly statement.  Money has no quality, only quantity.  For knowledge, quality is the key.

It is like climbing a mountain for weeks.  You cannot remember every step you took, but still, we are here, at this position, right now.   Being here in the Now and aware, we experience and learn, always.  No choice, even if we deny it momentarily.


Wolfgang Köhler
23 March 2011

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