The infinity of things: Knowledge

Bookstore shelves

The more you know, the more you left unknown, consciously. That means that for every little thing you know, there are many you don’t, some of which you become conscious of once you start knowing the first thing. That is, knowing something means you start knowing the fact that you don’t know some other things.

For each question, an answer. For each answer, several questions. For each zone revealed in knowledge fields, many species of flora and fauna are seen; few are known, the rest are now known to be unknown. We don’t know many things; we don’t even know how many things we don’t know, but we are absolutely sure we don’t know many things. But what about knowing the unknown?

We know there are many things we don’t know. We know which are some of those many things (like whether or not there is life outside earth), but we don’t know many of the many things we don’t know; we know some of what we don’t know by knowing the question, the X’s name. But the rest are invisible X’s: We don’t know the fact that we don’t know them!

Picture a really big box containing everything (nothing is outside of it). In the box is an eye with a certain field of vision. Many things are on the box; there are black things and white things, but the box’ walls are black, so no black things can easily be seen.

The eye is special: It radiates some light, to be able to see better. Its field of vision is filled with a dim light, making white things clearly visible, and black things present (the eye can see there are black things, but their shapes mix with each other making it imposible to count them in any way). The eye, thanks to the light, can distinguish details on white things due to the shadows casted by to eye’s light. Yet in black things no shadow is cast, so no detail is visible.

In the box are white and black things. Many are visible to the eye. So much more are not. Some white and black things are in the field of vision, making the eye aware of their presence; many white and black things are not in the eye’s field of vision, making the eye unaware of their existence.

The eye can only see what’s in front of it. The rest exist, but the eye doesn’t know it.

The eye in the human race or a single person. We are aware of a large quantity of knowledge. We know a lot of it, white things, but are still wondering about the black things, trying to make the light cast shadows or paint them white. We want details, and we find details, but at the same time the eye opens more and more, making us capable of seeing a wider universe, more things, white and black ones, that were hidden outside our minds.

Society thinks like a single person. Each of us knows some things and ignore others. Society works that way if you understand the combined mind: Many more things are known, and even stored in paper, computers to prevent the loss of the knowledge, but still many things remain ignored.

You can think, and realize, that you know many things. So many you can’t count them. Now think about the things you don’t know, and realize you’ll never know it all. Why? Because time exists, and it doesn’t seem to be infinity’s brother. Many things are known and unknown. “Many” meaning “infinite”. We can’t count them, and are unsure of a quantity, or the existence of it. For now, they reamin infinite, like the universe. Meaning not that it is infinite, but that borders are irrelevant once you realize all of it will never be explored.

Photo by Kenny Louie.

2 Thoughts

  1. Thought provoking post. Sounds similar to the 4 levels of unconscious incompetence, conscious competence etc. Might be something you’d find interesting if you haven’t looked into it already,

    • That’s the whole point with my articles: To make people think (So, great!). It sounds quite interesting and I’ve already looked it up (wikipedia…) and while it’s something I’ve thought of before, I had not divided the idea in stages yet (ironic?). Thanks for the tip!

Have some thoughts about this? Share them!