Ignorance is not our biggest problem, however ignorance of our ignorance most certainly is! To be ignorant and to know one is ignorant is not too bad at all. This state of not knowing is actually one of the best states we can find ourselves in. Ignorance is not the same as stupidity, ignorance is full potential. Nonetheless not knowing your ignorance is stupidity. To be ignorant, to not know is in itself ok, but believing you know within this state of ignorance is extremely limiting, to say the least. However once we know we are ignorant we can start to learn, to see and understand more freely because we have created this open mind. It is more open because we do not know, we no longer guide ourselves with our ignorant knowing. Logically it is only when we free ourselves of this knowledge that ignorance can start to transform. It can only transform when we first really know we are ignorant. But we never really know this of course. The moment we discover ignorance we are shocked and we immediately reject this finding by filling our minds with knowledge, ideas, concepts, beliefs, more truths etc. Object consciousness is the consciousness that believes it knows while it is ignorant. We all believe we know because to know means to have concepts, to hold truths, to have ideas, to be judgmental, to be personal etc etc etc.
Is it not funny that we always give answers even to questions unknown. How often do we say I do not know and really feel this deep down inside. This is very rare indeed and for obvious reasons as well, our society does not value not-knowing. We are never comfortable with not-knowing. That is exactly the reason why we find it so hard to discover our own ignorance and it explains our meticulous capacity of denial of ignorance. To know one does not know must be the biggest discovery one can make. What a relief would that be. To believe one knows is to believe one’s concepts mistaking it for reality. To know one does not know is to no longer mistake one’s own concepts for reality. To be free of one’s own chatter!
To know not to know is to no longer hold truth. We always have so much truth yet we never realize this. We may talk about truth in an intellectual way but in the end all of our truths is the result of our emotions. To have an emotion is the same as believing the emotion and that explains why we are incapable of seeing the emotion when are in the middle of an emotion. Emotion equals truth, emotions are our truth. Intellectually we may understand there is no truth, emotionally we are obsessed with our own truth and at the same time completely unaware of this.
Not knowing not knowing is the problem
To be ignorant of our own ignorance is to believe we know while we do not know. Sometimes we are like wounded blind guides ready to guide people up the mountain, but how trustworthy can a wounded blind guide be? It is not safe for the guide nor for the one who is in need of guidance. The following metaphor may illustrate this more clearly. You are sick and you talk and teach about the medicine for your illness but you do not take this medicine yourself. Therefore you do not really know the effects of the medicine nor do you know the possible side-effects of the medicine. You do not live what you teach. Because you are sick of emotions your mind is troubled and disturbed. Because you are sick you are not safe for others to be with, you may contaminate others. As long as you do not take the medicine yourself you are not getting better. Then you may get disappointed, frustrated and all negative emotions may arise. The outside world, the world of object, once more has let you down. This is the way object consciousness reinforces itself.
This also explains why so called intelligent people can still act stupidly. This explains why intelligent people can still develop a burnout, can be depressed, feel lonely and be lost etc. We can only be affected by the disturbance of our emotion’s by the grace of not recognizing them as such. We can only make a start with understanding our emotions when we recognize them. Emotions keep us away from seeing the ignorance of our own mind. Ignorance is simply too frightening. The moment we start to discover our ignorance we are immediately inclined to learn new things and before we realize it we are off on a new crusade. Emotions transform everything that we learn into potential harm. Any teaching without deeply understanding the dynamics of our emotions will at some point turn sour.
Intellectual teachings without the deep understanding of the working of our own emotions make the world a rigid and unsafe place. Spiritual teachings without deep understanding of our own emotions will all become personal religions creating their own havoc. Emotions stop us from seeing our ignorance leaving us with no opportunity to step out of our ignorance. I believe it is very important that we learn to see we are ignorant and to discover our own resistance to see this. Only by being comfortable with ignorance can we let go of the emotions that drive us to take in more knowledge into this state of ignorance.
Questions change us
There is not a safer place then this place of not knowing. It feels actually good to not know, it is a safe haven. To take SRA with (not)knowing is to return to this safe haven.