I was reading a really good book one night, it was one of those times when you can’t put down a book because it’s so good but you know you need to put it down to avoid sleeping on the job later in the day because as it turned out you have been reading till the early hours of the morning. But I couldn’t put it down, I was enjoying every word and even though my head felt so full with words and information I just couldn’t put the darn thing down. Then it so happened that I got late to work and was caught dozing off late in the afternoon, but I remember that as I was preparing to leave in the morning of that day and obviously blaming my leaving late on reading too long into the night, I couldn’t help but wonder how much information and knowledge there are out there.
Has anyone ever felt like she/he is being smacked left, right and centre with information? Like you’re literally being chased down with knowledge on so many topics that are the same or different depending on the perspective? It’s everywhere, on twitter, Facebook, blogs, amongst our friends and family, etc; some we seek out but others we encounter because they are freely shared by the authors or speakers. We all feel the need to create a better society, better relationships, better marriages, better and improved interactions, to become well informed and purposeful individuals, plus to share needed new ideologies and opinions that seek to debunk old cultures and traditions that have no relevance today. It’s obvious that the onslaught of knowledge and information from different platforms is what helps us grow and evolve as humans but sometimes I wonder, how much is too much information? How do we know who we are as individuals if we are perpetually changing all the time?
Sometimes my sister calls me up to ask questions on certain life issues, most times I have things to say and other times I point her to a platform where she can get all the info she needs, but I never fail to tell her that in learning new things or unlearning old ones it’s important for her to discover for herself what the right information or knowledge is and this can only happen when she already has clearly defined values, principles and beliefs that guides who she is or she would be blown all over the place by every wind of opinion, information or teaching which in itself may not be fully formed, prejudicial, or biased and may not have universal truth or humanistic value.
What we learn most of the time is transformative, but we don’t always know or think we know what is on the other side of that transformation. Love, wisdom, grace, inspiration….these are positives, in addition there are lots of negatives that are learned everyday which are things that make us extend the boundaries of the self into unknown territory. But the question still remains, how do we know who we are if we’re constantly changing? Sometimes we feel lost, maybe something happens that shakes the core of who we think ourselves to be and then we panic because at that moment we can’t say for sure that we know who we are, or we’ve gone with the “flow” for too long and we can’t remember how we got to where we are or where the flow is leading us, in some cases we come full face with what we’re capable of as human beings and we question our very existence and purpose because we never thought that this person ever existed within us. I think the reason for the panic is because we love control, we tend to believe strongly in the stability that comes from knowing who we are, we love the idea of being in charge of our lives, and the thought that we’re living within the boundaries of our existence even when said boundaries weren’t set by us gives us a certain comfort. But one thing I’ve observed is that whenever a person feels lost, that usually means that something new is on the verge of being born in that person, I read something once that said “have patience with everything unresolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves…..it is possible to live and not know”.
So I think the answer lies in the questions, the unknown, the unfamiliar, the uncertain, the unforeseen, the edge of mystery and the role they play in our lives and in the lives of the people around us and how we respond to them, plus even as the unknown quickly becomes the known once it’s mystery is uncovered…..the beauty of it is that there’ll always be something new to be uncovered, known, or found, and this I think is where life happens, now whether what lies at the other side of the mystery or question is good or bad is what we have to decide depending on our level of understanding, curiosity is what grants us intimate access to minds and experiences beyond our own.
Paul’s letter to the Colossians 2 vs 8 says: “See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the elemental spiritual forces of this world rather than on Christ.” I know what informs the core of who I am, but sometimes it gets tricky and the boundaries of my conviction seem unclear, but I’m not afraid of learning new things, I’m learning to live consciously with my mind, arms, and heart wide open for it’s in fullness that I overflow. Something is always born out of excess: great art is born out of great terror and suffering, great loneliness, great inhibitions, instability, and it always balances them; beauty out of the ugly. I think perhaps that is one of the reasons couples work, that balance, if it seems that one moves in a world of certitude, the other, par contre, might move in a world of mystery or they may be on that place of mystery together and this makes everything interesting.
But my question is should personal convictions determine how knowledge/information are perceived and are used? If so, then isn’t it in itself a limitation to our growth and evolution? Where does knowledge end and personal conviction begin? How do they work with or against one another?
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