How to lack wisdom in style

I think it is human nature to fill in the blanks. If one reads the writings of ancient Rome, or China or anywhere for that matter, one does not get the impression they felt lacking in knowledge of how things work: on the physical level, psychological level, spiritual level–they seem to have felt they knew it all. Millenia later, so do we.

How often we get up in the morning and subsist on style. We don’t really know what effect our proposal, if implemented, will have on the company, but we have our suit on and a certain manner of presenting and speaking. We talk about the motives of people and predict their actions based upon a variety of templates. After the election or latest economic report, we talk with erudition about why things happened precisely the way they did, and it feels right because it’s on TV and in blogs and in whatever medium gives us confidence and comfort. I have myths about myself that make sense to me, and who can forcibly change my mind regarding what is interior to me?

But so often what we have is phlogiston and calx, a model of things that is not completely wrong but nevertheless very far from the truth. How many papers are there in the world, written by great minds in lucid prose, arguing for things now proved wrong or recognized as irrelevant?

Peering beneath the gauze of myth, of the comforting style of life, is both disorienting and frightening. To do so is to move away from the things that make life safe and ordinary. All the while, the media are pulling you back, even blogs like this one are calling you back to the false home, for the MSM is corn-fed choice beef and blogs like this are a spritz of lemon on your grouper, if not the fish itself.

We do know a lot. We know a lot more than we used to know. But our hearts are going to beat despite the universe of ignorance that remains for us, and our brains are going to fill in the blanks to make stepping out into the streets of NYC in 08 as “of course” in feeling as was strolling the Roman forum in 08.

The soul of knowing, therefore, is to realize I do not know. I lack wisdom. I have a fraction of the answer but not the answer itself.

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