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I Know Nothing!!!!

'I know alot, and I know alot ain't shit.'

This is a catchphrase that I began using in the 80's when people would
go on and on about audio engineering and music sequencing and
such as being 'genius'. Folks throw the word around like it's commonplace.
Once they're impressed by something you know that they don't, it's hard
to convince them that the skill at hand is not a feat of epic scale.

Most people look at an audio recording console and are mesmerized by
all the knobs and amazed that you know what each one does. Really,
most of them are rows of the same thing. The hard part is remembering
musically whats on each row, but the machine is so daunting that the
average guy will think you're smarter just for running it. This goes for
most technical or skill related jobs or hobbies. Hence the comeback-
'I know alot, and I know alot ain't shit.'

Which invariably draws out the 'deep guy' who pundits - "why don't
you just say 'I know nothing?'"

Few social combat skills are as popular as the 'Zen Strategy'.

Pseudo-intellectuals have been throwing this verbal roadblock at poor
unsuspecting folks ever since George Harrison told us Zen was cool.

Oh, and it's a certain burner, too. Sometimes it can be the only way to
shut down a real blowhard. Just as often, though, the jerks use it to try
to make themselves look like the geniuses.

Well, that's all well and good when it's all in fun or saving the conversation,
or if you're actually talking about a Zen level of thought or behavior.

In the quest for enlightenment, one must accept the sheer size of the cosmos
and their own place by comparison. It is very big and we are very small.
Considering this for it's own sake, 'I know nothing' is an understatement.

When walking around on the planet in daily life, 'I know nothing' has an
entirely different ramification.

It amounts to announcing -'hey, I'm stupid!!!'

People are basically animals with huge egos. We require a certain level
of knowledge and confidence. The more you know, the more confident
you are. The more confident, the more you appear intelligent and strong.

Not that folks need that, right?

Sure they do. We all need to feel good about ourselves and the tasks we
perform. We want credit for what we know. That doesn't mean we don't
think there's more to learn.

Comparing yourself to the vastness of the cosmos is one thing. Of course
you come up as infinitesimal in relation to everything there is. Einstein
comes up at close to zero under those terms. And he knew it.

Zen Budhhists did not intend 'I know nothing' to mean a headful of empty
neurons or an IQ of zero.

Down here on the human plane, some folks are smarter than others.
Some do know alot and still realize how much there is to learn.
Still others know little and act it up big. We're nowhere near being
a Zen society.

Until we are, we need to get credit for what we know as well as our
desire to learn more. It is this balance between the confidence our
knowledge gives us and the humility our curiosity demands that
keeps us evolving.

'We know alot, and we know alot ain't shit.'

copyright 2000 Pegwood Arts all rights reserved 

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