We know much less to be true than we think. But what does it mean to truly know something? Is merely reading it in a book enough?
Nowadays, people walk around thinking they know everything.
For some, that's not a hyperbole. They cannot admit to not knowing something. But even for most of us, we think we know many things for a fact. This false sense of knowing keeps us close-minded and unwilling to be open to new ideas, which ironically keeps us from knowing the truth.
You think you know how something works, but until you've experienced it directly, you can't know for certain. How can you know something if you've never experienced it directly, with your own senses?
I can tell someone that I know how a combustion engine works. I can study up on it, read books about it, and even use one while driving a car. However, if I've never seen the internals of one in action, if I've never seen the science at play with my own eyes, how can I be certain that my knowledge is factual?
Think about it. Let's say you read a history book. You now know what the book said about a particular time in the past. You probably think you know what happened in the past, now that you've read the book.
You're now comfortable telling your friends about this topic, without even questioning the truth of what you're saying. But how could you know - truly know - if you weren't there to experience it directly, with your own eyes?
You've only scanned over some ink on a piece of paper and put together a few thoughts in your head. Apparently, this is enough to "know" something. Think about how dangerous this can be.
By the way, you might be thinking, okay, if I don't know what I read to be true, are you saying it's not true? Are you implying that history books are wrong, or that combustion engines don't work like the books say they do?
Let's not be foolish. To unequivocally say that what we read is wrong would be the same as saying it's true. The point is, do we truly know one way or another?
We can come pretty darn close to knowing without actually knowing. Albeit very marginal, there's still a difference between thinking we know something, and actually knowing it.
So that begs the question, what do we actually know for a fact?
The only things we truly know are the things we've experienced directly, with our own being.
Our own thoughts, our own emotions, the energy within our being - these are all things we can truly come to know, because we're in here, in this body, directly experiencing these things.
You know what it's like to be inside your body. You know what it's like to feel a cool breeze on your arm. And you know what it's like to feel discomfort. You don't even need to think about these things in order to know them. You intuitively know what they're like, because you've experienced them directly, within your own being.
So why does it matter if we truly know something or just think we know?
When we believe something to be true, it creates a firm position in the mind. This position reinforces itself over time, adding on new layers of protection in the form of more beliefs.
Our opinions seek out similar opinions, creating a pattern of self-reinforcement. This happens throughout our lives, to the point where it's very difficult - seemingly impossible - to disentangle and unlearn something.
The result of these seemingly indestructible belief structures is disagreement at best, and war at worst. The very reason we see families torn apart and nations in dispute, is due to this false belief that we know something.
We are convinced, without a shadow of a doubt, that what we have in our minds is the absolute truth. Why would we question it, when it's the truth?
The problem is, most often it's not the truth. How can it be the truth, if we never experienced it directly, fully, with our own being?
If you believe something to be true, you don't know the truth of that something. To know something requires no belief whatsoever.
We must come to learn that there's very little in this world that we know. With this perspective, we can be open to not knowing. When we're open to not knowing, we're open to learning. This creates unlimited doors of possibility, of pathways to positive change.
The only things we truly know are the things we can experience directly, with our very being. Everything else is just speculation and belief.
Live with substance!