I know nothing. And it’s sometimes hard to take, sometimes hard to admit, especially to another. Of course what makes this even worse is knowing that you know nothing. I love the idea that ignorance is bliss yet I can’t bring myself around to agree with it. I can’t pretend I’d like to be ignorant of knowledge, happy in not knowing, blissfully unaware of anything outside myself, other ideas, the history of place, identity, the search for who I am and why I’m here and as I get older I often wonder why I don’t know more. Wish I knew more.
Some people seem to get out of the traps early. Know what they want, are focussed, go after it and by the time they’re in their late thirties are experts in their field, masters of the universe. I on the other hand have surfed my way through the last twenty years, twenty years! bloody hell. Yep, that’s me, catching a wave and seeing where it’ll take me; either falling off due to lack of focus or the wave I was cruising on suddenly lost its energy and I’d stop and catch another one. I’ve been surfing for many years now (not proper surfing you understand – I have two left feet, am clumsy and not really the action type) and am getting to the stage where I have doubts.
My lack of real indepth knowledge about anything means that I have had to develop skills in pretence. In other words I’ve become really good at pretending to know what I’m talking about. Fortunately for me it helps alot in my day to day working life –working in the arts is all about the art of bullshit. I somehow manage to get by on knowing miniscule fragments of subjects; football, dance, Schezuan cooking, art history, witchcraft, prevailing winds, fishing, blowing glass, pattern drafting, brewing…I think I could even have a bash at curling (saw it in tv once), astrophysics (am totally ignorant in the science department) and cars (I can’t drive and have absolutely no interest in them).
Having said all that I am interested in everything I don’t know. I get a real thrill listening to and learning from people who have knowledge I don’t have. I get terribly bored talking to people who I agree with, who know what I know, interested in the same subjects as me, feel the same, vote the same, act the same. It all just seems so tedious. That’s why I’m not a master of the universe, that’s why I didn’t get out of the traps early, that’s why I know nothing. I was too busy looking around, trying to understand. See ultimately for me it’s learning that’s important, the process, trying to fathom, articulate the world about you, the forest of things and signs as Jacques Ranciere so eloquently put it in his book, The Emancipated Spectator (a subject I’d like to come back to at a later date). And it is only by venturing into the forest of things and signs that we truly learn and that is why today I continue to walk blindly through the forest of my life
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