"A good scientist has freed himself of concepts and keeps his mind open to what is."
~ Lao-tzu, Tao Te Ching
"Not-knowing is true knowledge. Presuming to know is a disease. First realize that you are sick; then you can move toward health."
~ Lao-tzu, Tao Te Ching
"The ancient Masters didn't try to educate the people, but kindly taught them to not-know.
When they think that they know the answers, people are difficult to guide. When they know that they don't know, people can find their own way."
~ Lao-tzu, Tao Te Ching
"I know that I know nothing" is a saying derived from Plato's account of the Greek philosopher Socrates. Socrates himself was never recorded as having said this phrase, and scholars generally agree that Socrates only ever asserted that he believed that he knew nothing, having never claimed that he knew that he knew nothing.
This saying is also connected or conflated with the answer to a question Socrates (according to Xenophon) or Chaerephon (according to Plato) is said to have posed to the Pythia, the Oracle of Delphi, in which the oracle stated something to the effect of "Socrates is the wisest person in Athens." Socrates, believing the oracle but also completely convinced that he knew nothing, was said to have concluded that nobody knew anything, and that he was only wiser than others because he was the only person who recognized his own ignorance.
"...One of the most significant phases in the the unfoldment is to deeply acknowledge to oneself that no one knows anything for sure. Not me, not you, no one. Ignorance is a strange thing to come to terms with in a world that pretends to know most things. Close on the heels of that realization is the further recognition that it's okay that we don't know anything. It is totally fine. In fact, it is a prerequisite for deep spiritual realization that we become comfortable with a state of unknowingness. Still, many people struggle with this. They think that it's better to look like you know what you're doing, even if you don't. For those who can't quite bring themselves to that level of theatrical chicanery, they instead choose to jump on someone else's bandwagon of belief, assuming that that will excuse them from the personal imperative to know. It does not . Everyone is accountable for their own choices, whether they like it or not. Just because that accountability is not necessarily hovering over our heads every day, does not mean that it's not real.
The sooner we realize that we have assented to a covenant of amnesia, the better. Rather than constantly wondering what's going on and what it's all about, we begin to appreciate that we can't know what's going on, under the terms of our pledge. It would spoil the whole thing; the virtue and integrity of the teaching would be lost. The reason for coming in blank, without any sort of foreknowledge whatsoever, is to ensure that everything we attain in life is a personal attainment, because everything can only be arrived at through the discernment of our own freewill. The only real answers arise from within ourselves.
By not having access to the secret architecture of life, by not having any kind of prior knowledge of our overall conscious or spiritual trajectory, we are compelled to focus instead on the living truth of whatever we find before us. We watch the compass needle move and we move with it. In so doing, we exercise the divinity of our freewill and we proceed with as much honor, heart and gracefulness as we can. This is the mission of the providential." ~ Neil Kramer
Tao Te Ching (Stephen Mitchell adaptation)
The tao that can be told
is not the eternal Tao.
The name that can be named
is not the eternal Name.
The unnamable is the eternally real.
Naming is the origin
of all particular things.
Free from desire, you realize the mystery.
Caught in desire, you see only the manifestations.
Yet mystery and manifestations
arise from the same source.
This source is called darkness.
Darkness within darkness.
The gateway to all understanding.
We join spokes together in a wheel,
but it is the center hole
that makes the wagon move.
We shape clay into a pot,
but it is the emptiness inside
that holds whatever we want.
We hammer wood for a house,
but it is the inner space
that makes it livable.
We work with being,
but non-being is what we use.
A good scientist has freed himself of concepts
and keeps his mind open to what is.
When you have names and forms,
know that they are provisional.
When you have institutions,
know where their functions should end.
Knowing when to stop,
you can avoid any danger.
In the pursuit of knowledge,
every day something is added.
In the practice of the Tao,
every day something is dropped.
The mark of a moderate man
is freedom from his own ideas.
The ancient Masters
didn't try to educate the people
but kindly taught them to not-know.
When they think that they know the answers,
people are difficult to guide.
When they know that they don't know,
people can find their own way.
Not-knowing is true knowledge
Presuming to know is a disease.
First realize that you are sick;
then you can move toward health.
The Master is her own physician.
She has healed herself of all knowing.
Thus she is truly whole.