The Difference Between Knowing, Not-Knowing and Experience

As human’s, we like being right and dislike being wrong.

We typically don’t like paradoxes. We want to make them facts. We want to make them real, controllable and submissive to the “free-will-soul” that we all crave and KNOW is out there somewhere. And it seems the more we grasp for a free will soul, the more its air whistles in our fingers. Look for “free-will” with the tools found in Neuroscience and we get a whole lot of nothing.

We scream at the void, “I AM.”

And the void whispers, “No.”

And then we cry at the void, “I AM NOT.”

And the void whispers, “No.”

And then we shout triumphantly to the void, “I AM AND I’M NOT.”

And the void whispers “No … REALLY!”

It answers “no” to pretty much everything. And not just “no” to the question but “No, both your answer AND question are wrong.”

Zen teaches one not to run from paradox but to embrace it through experience itself and not as “fact” or “not-fact.” To feel paradox means to let it detach your feelings. To taste it really means to let it eat you. To try to know paradox ends up letting it un-know you. Eventually, you get to no words, no books. and no teacher. Just paradox experiencing paradox without the ego getting in the way.

Paradox isn’t the problem. It’s the liberator.

So is paradox the truth?

No. There is NO TRUTH to hold onto in a paradox – that’s the gag.

You can’t know a paradox. You can’t not know a paradox. But you can experience it experiencing the forgetting of your self.

Ever notice how when we are in flow that the self disappears? It’s like … PARADOX ITSELF is creating and acting. It’s us and not.

And that happens after much practice. And then we fail all over again. But somedays we get it right.

And eventually you let some paradox forget you. And when it forgets you, it’s like paradox found.

And that is an experience. It’s not knowing – it’s experience. It’s not not-knowing – it’s experience. We don’t gain and we don’t lose. It’s experience experiencing experience.

It’s delightfully unimportant and the whole freaking point at the same time.

32 thoughts on “The Difference Between Knowing, Not-Knowing and Experience

  1. hehe, I’ve been ranting this for a year now… worked it out on my own but interesting to see (as usual) that there isn’t an original thought within me.

    “Paradox isn’t the problem. It’s the liberator.”

    It’s the blatant inconsistency that points to the counter intuitive solution. Good post.

  2. No KG, not from me… Lots of people must use this. Just because you forgot where you got it doesn’t mean you got it from somewhere else. Maybe you just worked it out. To me, it seems this would pop up pretty quickly when a person studies logic.

    • Agreed Chris.

      But it seems to me that people don’t really enjoy them. And there is much to enjoy there.

      Paradoxes IMHO free us from the problem of Cognitive Dissonance Theory. They FORCE us to suspend value and listen to the clashing ideas grate on us like fingernails on a chalkboard. By virtue of their essence they deny the consistency we all long for and make us look.

      And the grating is the music if I train my ear to enjoy it. As long as there is paradox …

      All will be right/weird with the world.

      Because haste makes waste an he who hesitates is lost!

      • There are THOUSANDS of meditation practices. But Koan practice for the most part stays only in Zen. It’s the embracing of paradox that separates Renzai Zen from the world.

        The body metaphor for the koan “Mu” is that it “Gets stuck in your throat.” We choke on it. It rails against our tendencies to resolve cognitive dissonance.

        In other words, instead of me rejecting the paradox, it’s more like pounding down shots of whisky. It burns. It messes with my head.

        But I say that in ignorance. I’ve never done shots. I’ve been drunk all of 4 times in my life. And three of those in the last 10 years.

        Needless to say, I had a misspent youth.

      • That’s really a pity. Two days ago I found a t-shirt in my youngest daughter’s cabinetm she’s getting 18 in september, with the writing :

        My idea of a balanced diet is one beer in each hand … 😀
        So much for parental guidance … 😀

  3. Paradoxes are an acquired taste. Working on them stretches my imagination and helps me ask better questions. You and I seem to both enjoy a good metaphor. I like to imagine (in a dilletante sort of way) that phenomena that we can observe also can represent phenomena that we can’t observe. For instance, watch these two videos from Wiki… that show Coronal Mass Ejection.

    [video src="" /]

    For a lark, imagine that these CME are what it looks like when “God” creates Individual Thetan Beings, like us. Little pinched off pieces of God encrusted or encased in their considerations like Jimmy Dean pork sausages. This is my current view of myself as a little pinch of consciousness encased in meat and pretending to know anything about life and the meaning of existence.

    • Uhuh, like being either hyper-sensitive (then you observe the high frequent changes but not the loooong trends) or the contrary – very insensitive (where you really only notice the extremely loooong trends, not the rapid changes) ? 🙂

      Also to me paradox indicates that OK, I know a few things but not everything and the solution to the paradox lies in the things I don’t know … 🙂

      • So do you guys believe that no paradox is unsolvable?

        I think there are paradoxes that cannot be solved – ever. I can’t prove this mind you at this time, but it certainly has me wanting to look into the subject more.

        Wow. Epiphany occurring in my clattering keyboard ..

        If a soul actually exists perhaps it is a paradox that cannot be solved.

      • One cannot square a circle. It’s impossible. That’s an unsolvable PROBLEM.

        So there are things that are UNSOLVABLE.

        The Liar’s Paradox is a classic paradox and there are dozens of others.

        The question may be “can a paradox be solved with completely different answers depending upon the mathematical system that evaluates it?”

        Can there be more than one “correct” system of number?

        If there are more than one “correct” systems of math, and therefore more than one “correct” answer to a paradox, is the paradox actually “solvable” in an absolute sense?

  4. A lot of people talk about OT phenomena, ghosts, spooks, being able to see invisibility, etc.,. I am curious about delusion. I am curious about illusion and I am curious about reality. I wonder if any of these are any different than each other.

    • Kraus got me thinking about other places in the Universe where life may exist but where stars are blotted out because of gasses. We are REALLY LUCKY to be on the edge of the galaxy where we can see things.

      For life on other planets obscured by clouds of gas they don’t have so good a picture. If they exist and can actually do science, they have a hard time looking.

      DELUSION: “There’s a monster under my bed even though I’ve looked.”
      WRONG CONCLUSION: “The sky is a blank canvas. We are the center of everything.”

      I guess, the question to ask is “How do we want to be wrong and then become less wrong as we go along?”

  5. I haven’t heard back from anyone trying my TR0 / KHTK on Television snow. I think I might have raised some smirks but little else. It grew out of my desire to understand or at least observe something similar to collapsing the wave function. To the best of my understanding, the wave-function is a mathematical placeholder which represents the un-manifested potential of the universe. I chose television snow because I think it is random. Sitting and watching it with interest or with nothing, I try to make nothing of what comes up but just allow my mind to any automaticity that might be in place to simply run. This is as close as I’ve come to observing my own mind make something out of raw material without my deliberate interference. This probably isn’t good science, it is just stuff that I do.

    • I think it’s a great tool to do just as you describe – to observe the things the mind produces on its own.

      You also get to observe the Big Bang radiation. Not all of the snow is from the big bang but some of it is.

      So in a sense, you are staring at our creative burst. As you know from Kraus, this “snow” will go away at some point and those behind us who evolve into science won’t be able to use this data to determine the origin of the Universe.

      The future looks stupid for some. Question is, “How stupid are we now that we don’t know?”

      Talk about a million dollar question, huh? I may try it and see what comes up.

      • Stupid, eh? haha. Yes, but I estimate, based upon proportions, that we are in excess of 99% stupid. I think we are so stupid (in your context) that we are barely awake at all.

        The snow? Yes, do it just for fun. Just to see . . . calm body, just let mind do what it will and try not to interfere…or whatever. I am curious what you will experience.

      • hahahaha – 99.9999999999% “ignorant” (being generous).

        All the technology and refinements in life are supplied to us by a few people who are enlightened. The rest of us worker bees support them. We work and pay bills and try to have extra enough for a 6-pack on Friday night, pray for forgiveness on Sunday, then do it all over again on Monday. We do all this using 0.00000000001% good knowledge of the universe.

        Not trying to be “ignorant” or even “negative.” Trying to state how big and little the universe is outside the meager little frame in which we exist.

      • THE AUDACITY PRAYER – By Katageek

        “I grant myself the audacity not to accept the things that I cannot change.
        The grit to change the things I can and want to
        And the damned fool’s arrogance to laugh deeply at that which overwhelms me.”

  6. I got this “future stoopid” thing from Lawrence Kraus in his talk on YouTube “A Universe From Nothing” He shows how in scientists in the far future will not have the leftover radiation from the Big Bang or an observable expanding universe to support discovery of the theory.

    He demonstrates that beings evolved on future stars will get stuck in the cosmology we had in 1900. One’s galaxy will appear to be the entire universe as all other galaxies would be expanding faster than the light their light heading toward us through space.

    M51 GALAXY SCIENTIST: “Yup. Our universe is steady state. Here’s the data. You big bangers are effing daft bitches.”

    What’s a Scientist to do? Answer: Be wrong with really, REALLY good measurements.

    Yikes! Really?

    Makes me wonder what we are ignorant of now?

    Ignorance IS a better word than stupid and more what I meant Tor. But I like using “stupid” cuz it has a sharper edge to it.

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