on foresight and flying: a rant

I HATE not knowing things. Hate it. Hatehatehatehate. And yet I know I can’t know more than I already know, or I’d lose my mind, and I know that can’t happen, because I gotta hang on to that thing no matter what.

This is what I can’t stand about not knowing: NOT KNOWING. “More will be revealed,” say folks in A.A., but to me this aphorism begs the question: about what, exactly? YOU WANT TO GET SPECIFIC, PEOPLE? I find myself repeating the line myself, over and over and over, barking out a truism designed to drive everyone nuts. And yet, on hearing it, we all cross our arms and nod not-knowingly, saying, AHHHH, YESSSSS, THAT’S SO WIZZZZZZE. And it is indeed WIZZZZZZZE. I am so so super-glad I never knew most of the shit that’s happened to me before it happened, especially the really bad shit; and the worse the shit, the more relieved I’ve been about not-knowing it.

That said, I’ve always been impatient. I’ve always wanted to grab exclusive sneak-peaks into the future, especially any future involving exam results, Christmas gift contents and cute boys. Although, if I had my pick of godly Marvel superpowers, I’d probably choose flying over foresight. It’s what I do when I find myself in a dream: I realize, Hey! Yay! Excellent! I’m not awake, so I can fly! and then I just flip open a window and bomb around the sky in my pajamas. Flying PLUS foresight would be really cool, because then I’d know exactly which direction to head in for the most exciting Christmas gifts and cutest boys. Whenever I have another lucid dream, I’ll have to give that a whirl.

This not knowing: It makes me feel like a kid again, a dizzy one wearing a blindfold whose purported caring friends and purported loving parents have spun her around and around and around and then pointed her in the wrong direction, saying, “Go ahead and pin the tail! Ha ha ha! There’s the donkey! Ha ha ha!” knowing damn well the poor wee thing will never find the donkey in that state. Ignorance is such an essential part of the human condition that we make a game out of it at our children’s birthday parties. At least we used to in the 70s. But we were so much more sadistic then.

So I’m in the dark. You’re in the dark. Everyone’s in the dark. We wander around in the pitch black, blind as bats without the aid of echolocation, following each other’s voices, bumping into each other’s butts, chasing after pin-pricks of light in the distance. And somehow we get from point A to point B and point B to point C, although we have no idea how far up the alphabet we’re supposed to progress. And which alphabet? What if I’ve been using the wrong one? What if it’s, like, cyrillic?

I guess that’s why they call it faith. I guess that’s why we’re here. So I guess I’ll just have to keep groping blindly along, crashing into whatever butts I meet en route to wherever I’m going. A girl can hope.

7 thoughts on “on foresight and flying: a rant

  1. I feel the same way. Felt much less so when I was younger even though in reality the younger you are, the less you really do know. At our age, we have a lot more longitudinal data to know how things will go. (For instance, I now know that I will never have an organized, decorated and neat home.) I guess it’s because as you age, you realize how little in control you really are.

    I worry about my kids and sometimes wish I could see whether their odd little selves will end up OK. But then again, maybe not. (My spouse once said that our son will either go to MIT or live in our basement playing video games in his underwear. Not sure I want to know that outcome yet. Although, as I type this, I’m thinking it is possible that he could do both.)

    • I think that’s exactly right, Susan: It’s a matter of understanding just how little we can actually control in life. All we can control is our response to what happens to us. I think, when we’re young, we regard ourselves as the authors and agents of our own lives. And maybe we are agents, but only in the sense that we choose how to respond to events and in which direction to head in. Paradoxically, I am most able to cope — most likely to head in the right direction — when I quit fighting and just abandon myself to forces outside my control. Strange.

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