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The Gift of the Unknown

The unknown not only inspires fear but is itself a great gift, manifesting with a stunning variety of features and forms: losing yourself in the loveliness of a lilting, unfamiliar song, not knowing the language or meaning of the artist’s words, consoled to your very core by the composition nonetheless; spectating at a sporting event on a Sunday afternoon, not knowing all the rules of the game, enthralled in your enjoyment of the play even so; the power and privilege of the blank page, not knowing what you will write, a birthplace of creativity, the emptiness an opening to the beyond; forgotten, innumerable moments of your life, lost in the seedbed of time, this unknowing a hidden grace, the darkness dignifying and illuminating the memories you have still, indeed the very memories you are.

Sir Francis Bacon’s assertion knowledge is power is at best a half-truth. Knowledge has never been power. Not where power really counts. Not where power means something personal. Socrates’ maxim know thyself? Why not forget thyself? Effacement of self is both cornerstone to compassion and freedom from the frivolity of numerous neuroses. Knowledge in the evolutionary scheme of the universe is a rather new phenomenon, its value greatly exaggerated, the vast majority of space and time ruled not by reason but the primordial. Death is perhaps the ultimate unknowing, a foreboding ocean of loss, and the haunting question of a shore on the other side to the destiny of your disappearance. Yet the promise of the undoing of everything you are holds within it a pearl of great price: the simple and most exquisite affirmation—BE HERE—for it is possible there is no other time or place you will ever be again.

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