The Power of ‘I Don’t Know’

This past year I celebrated my 11th year as a Satanist. Near the anniversary I planned on writing a post about what I had learned and how my views had changed over that span of time. After working on it for a time, I began to realize that I don’t really like to write about what I “know.” Instead, I always find myself much more comfortable speaking to what I don’t know.

I think this is because I try to always remind myself that I could be wrong about anything I believe, at any time. This does not have to apply to the magical or occult. We all know the sky is blue. But the sky is only blue because of the way the atmosphere interacts with sunlight. If anything about the atmosphere changes, then the sky can be a completely different color. When we look at a sunset, we see a red and orange sky because molecules in the atmosphere have scattered the blue light out and away from our line of sight. So really, the color of the sky depends on our position in relation to the sun (time), and our line of sight. Knowing this, is the sky really blue?

Well, it depends.

And that is my point entirely. Reality is really nothing but our individual perception of reality. Accepting this principle makes it much easier to entertain and explore ideas without having to accept them as fact. This ability is paramount to ideological pluralism.

Ideological pluralism is something this country is supposed to be built upon. The ability for each man and each woman to believe what they want, practice what they want, without interference of any kind. Acceptance for all under the stars and stripes. We may have the mechanics and laws in place, but our citizenry does not employ acceptance and pluralism as a daily practice. We take attitudes of right and wrong, rather than that of Mine and Yours. We ask each other if we believe in <X>, whether that be God, or Satan, or Magick. But the answers we give are in the form of knowledge, not belief. This may seem like a small thing, but as a writer I put a lot of weight in the meaning of words.

Know: to perceive or understand as fact or truth.

Believe: to have confidence in the truth, the existence, or the reliability of something, although without absolute proof that one is right in doing so.

If we honestly answer that question of “Do you believe in <X>” then by definition we have already admitted that we do not know for a fact. So why is it that anytime someone offers a differing opinion, we must cry havoc and let slip the dogs of war? Why can’t we simply smile, listen, and then go about our merry way? Until we can do so, collectively as a race, I fear we will never be capable, or worthy, of true advancement.

And this is the power of ‘I don’t know.” It’s a simple statement, and yet people are so threatened by it. By accepting the fact that we don’t know, we are freed from the fear of being wrong. There is no right; no wrong. Just belief.

Because what do we really know?

Is the sky blue? I don’t know, but I believe.

Does Satan exist? Does magick? I don’t know, but I believe.

 

MM

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