- The things I know that I know
- The things I know that I don't know, and
- The things that I don't know that I don't know.
Now when it comes to the things that I don't know that I don't know, well I can't give an example for the simple reason that if I could, it would be classified in the one of the previous two categories. The point of that expensive self-help program was simply that the key to unlocking your potential lies in your ability to be open to the things that you don't know that you don't know. It kind of messes with the mind a little but if you think about it, it actually makes good sense.
But I have been pondering some of these thoughts in the last day or so and I think I can add a new category to the list:
- The things I think I know that I really don't know
We are living in the so-called information age. Information is available to us like never before in history and is being continuously expanded on at a break neck pace. As a consequence, our brains have developed keen filtering processes that help us partition up information and navigate our way through. Some things we accept on face value. Other things we examine more closely. But having reached a conclusion about something, we rarely revisit it unless we perceive that some other piece of new information warrants a rethink.
But what if we never receive that new piece of information? What if we continue on our way thinking that we know something when in fact we don't? We are actually in a worse state than absolute ignorance. We are trapped in an erroneous paradigm with no way to get out and no sense that we are in the wrong place.
To add to the deception, we often build on our conclusions. So conclusions that we have arrived at in the past will often form the basis of further conclusions that we make today. But what if our original conclusion is wrong and we don't know it? All of a sudden the house of cards starts tumbling down.
In the film "The Matrix", Neo is encouraged to free his mind; to not be constrained by what he thinks is real. In the Matrix, there are rules that are meant to be bent, and some which are meant to be broken. By thinking that we know what we know, we forget to question where our degrees of freedom lie. Because of what we 'know', we hinder our progress.