Thursday, 20 September 2007

The Problem of Knowing

Information has always been, in some form or other, a currency of prestige. It is the material from which we spin our reality, but more importantly it codifies the focal point around which that reality radiates, a sense of self, the I in the face of the universe. We use it to tell us who we are and it both sustains and illuminates the cultural geographies that frame our hierarchies of social status.

More importantly, though, are the politics of visibility that validate those geographies. In a real sense, it isn’t what we know as who knows we know it, not what we know reveals about ourselves, but how it portrays us for others, and what they choose to do with that which counts, and now becomes knowledge in confrontation with their own focal points of knowing.

I can wrap information around myself like camouflage or I can filter everything I know through the sift of who I want to be. I can’t know everything I know and be myself, the Self I choose to sell to others, to counter the self they will make subordinate to their own selves.

I have also learned now where ignorance cannot be disdained. Of course we punish this for reasons that can be entirely arbitrary; people who do not know have chosen not to know, not to live in some way which we see as vital to our own selves, and so they must have chosen not to be wise, not because they have validated other aspects of being, but because this in some way then signifies their spiritual laziness. But those reasons, in the main, have especial tendencies to self-serving agendas, so intrinsic and insidious, that we’ve forgotten the reasons we punish for not knowing, and for not being as we see being.

It is neither wrong nor especially reprehensible to be ignorant of certain things, even things that are supposedly ‘commonly known’. It is however wrong to express disparaging opinions, opinions which have not drunk from knowledge, which have not partaken of the selves of others and stewed in that rare wisdom, compassion.
That is not autonomous being, as I have attempted to qualify it; it is crudeness. Not because it is spiritually lazy or even self-involved, but because it is violence without purpose and without being. It is not human, and it is not animal; it is base.