26 September, 2009

I don't know what I know...

So, I made a remark to Anne which was, "I don't know what I know." Life with me has these interesting moments for her which include me making some out-of-left field comment where she has no idea what I'm talking about. Luckily, for me, I found a wife who is blessed with a great deal of patience, but I could see that "what is it this time?" cloud pass over her eyes.

This time the answer was short and easy. I'm studying for exams. And in a way, I'm going in blind. The subject/course of study is new territory for me, so I'm at a disadvantage. I'm ten years out of school and am not used to this feeling of going into a exam not quite sure if I studied for it properly. (When I was a Religion major in college, well, I'd been studying/talking about religion and philosophy for a number of years. So it was easy to fall-back on what I already knew. Not so now.)

So, I don't know what I know. I think I do. I think I get it when I'm reading the assigned material, but until the proof is back in the form of the exam grade, well, we'll see... I might be wrong. I might not have as good a grasp as I think I do. I might be blind to pitfalls eluding me. But then that was kind of a fun thing to think about. We'd just had dinner, and candlelight, and wine... so I fancied myself waxing profound. Usually I'm mistaken at those times.

Memory and thought in Norse mythology were two ravens called Huginn and Muninn. Each day

More to the point, our minds are not hard drives. If they are, they're certainly corrupted (Yes, I'm talking about you). But the handy thing about hard drives is looking at how much room you've used up! I seem to be losing more and more file space every day... ("Just like your hair," my lovely wife proclaims.)

So, this made me think of one of my favorite "poems". A few years back, when Tivo was still new, there was the Poetry of Donald Rumsfeld. It soon became "my favorite thing ever" as I considered Rummy not as a war monger or a charlatan, but as a Zen master or Sufi wiseman. That's interesting too. A little formatting, a little less context, and presto:

The Unknown
As we know,
There are known knowns.
There are things we know we know.
We also know
There are known unknowns.
That is to say
We know there are some things
We do not know.
But there are also unknown unknowns,
The ones we don't know
We don't know.

—Feb. 12, 2002, Department of Defense news briefing


  1. My head hurts. You confuse me but I still love you! :D

  2. That's awesome! I didn't know Rummy was a Zen master! LoL
    I remember that known unknowns "poem" when he gave it.
    They didn't have to change anything to make it a poem. He's a poet but didn't know-et. I also dig the "that's life" series.

    My memory not being what it was, and it never was... I kinda wish I had a cybernetic implant or a bird recalling things for me too.