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No One Knows Everything

You do not know?” The young girl felt so disappointed with me. She had sought me, asking why God isn't married! In her opinion, adults should be either smart enough to decipher such enigma or must have inside track or special insight into such mystery.

I couldn't blame her. She didn't know that there are countless things we don't know and understand. And her puzzle was way beyond my mind's shallow grasp. Whether God is married at all, I don't even know!

As a young boy, I thought that everything on this planet can be broken down to a simple mathematical formula or equation. Or axiom. That somebody somewhere has a theory that could explain everything. I thought I saw teachers in elementary and high school who carried backpacks of ready information or answers to my questions.

Now sitting atop piles of unsolved mysteries and other unexplainables, I know better.

And now I'm bothered when we pretend to know everything and claim to have every explanation of everything under the sun.

Consequently I feel awkward when some of us find it hard to accept some facts of life. One such fact is that we do not know everything there is to know even about an insignificant speck of a planet called Earth in our vast solar system.

Surely we've gone a long way in our search for knowledge, but there's still a long, ever-lengthening way to go. We've acquired so much knowledge, yet there's still so much to know.

Tell me, among other things. How come dogs chase cats? Will computers soon think like humans do? Will the sun ultimately burn itself out? How does a tree bring water from its roots up to its trunk, branches and leaves? And how can a tree defy gravity by growing vertically? What is the real theory of everything (TOE)? Is there such theory at all?

Somewhere somehow, there's probably one omniscient human being who has the answer to these and other baffling questions still begging for satisfactory answers.

But then again, there's probably none. If so, why can't we be candid enough to admit our inability to grasp the complexity of things? When challenged by some inexplicable quirk of life, why can't we just say, “I don't know”?

I understand that some of us have learned, when confronted with tough puzzlers, to look up at some white ceiling or some blue sky for some celestial flash of inspiration. But many of us would simply keep eerily quiet - a crafty tactic of hiding one's ignorance. Better to keep one's mouth shut and let people think you're dumb than open it and confirm all doubt. Good advice, that. But that's not being man (or woman) enough to admit that we don't know some things. I mean, many things.

Only those who haven't sailed some of life's seas know everything, or at least believe with all their heart that they know everything.

Experience at a sea of knowledge makes you feel small, humbled, lost. Riding on the crest of a big wave lets you see an endless ocean. The farther you go out to sea, the more you know that there is more to know, and that you really don't know.

This probably explains why kindergartners, among other people, know everything. Or so they think. Try going to a kindergarten class. They can answer all your questions; they can perform with brimming confidence everything you ask them to do. The very young have still to sail the seven seas.

Surely they know some things. But what they know is just a drop in an endless ocean of knowledge. You can't hardly fault them. Like many of us, before them is a small basin of water to explore. So now a little girl asks a poor, dense adult like me about the marital status of God. Had she asked me that question when I was 3, I could probably have had given her an excellent, comprehensive answer. But now, well, I'm sorry I really don't know.

When I was a child, I knew everything.

Now I know nothing.

Honest.

Arts | Fiction | Short Stories


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