You don’t know what you don’t know until you know it.

This may or may not be the greatest paradox of being alive, but it certainly leads the intrepid explorer on a delightful quest.

Meno’s Paradox (how can you inquire into a thing when you are totally ignorant of what it is?) invites us to look deeper into the nature of understanding.  It opens us up to realize that what we know for sure isn’t true, no truer than what we don’t know.

I would offer that what we declare we know inhibits knowing it.  Our knowing a thing is contingent on our belief in the thing we believe we know.  Those of us who consider such things are compelled to consider that the more we know, the more we know that we don’t know.

Like a dog chasing its tail, we reach a conclusion, a point, only to realize it’s not a point at all, but a portal to something deeper, illustrating that this point isn’t THE point.

Chasing a still point is engagement in perpetual activity.  An exercise in insanity.  Loco-motion.

Why?  Because its cause is without substance.  The still point is illusory.  Whether real or imaginary, it defies our attempts to grasp it.  Like air, we can’t grasp the thing…

We live within this paradox – a high-wire act, suspended on the tension between something and nothing.  Both means to an end are things that reason will not allow us to venture beyond.

However, the Unreasonables among us must venture beyond.  At some point, even what is, is not.  Then all becomes whatever it becomes. Admission into this realm requires the admonition that we don’t know what “it” is.

In these hallowed halls, we become mute – dumbfounded, confounded – because words become moot – tangled and confused upon themselves.

The New Normal – Paradox 2020

A new normal isn’t.  It is a contradiction.  In these challenging times we are faced with the ultimate paradox – we must learn to embrace the relevancy of inaction – of non-doing.  This is hard for us to reconcile with life, where our purpose is derived from doing.  Chasing our tail. 

Practical Alchemy…

Can we engage in practical alchemy – transmuting nothing into something?

Can we acknowledge that which inhibits as being the key to becoming?

Can we embrace this paradox, understanding that it is a paradox within a paradox?

We cannot embrace that which cannot be embraced.

Can we live with the knowing that what we don’t know holds the key to knowing it?

How much expansion of consciousness we derive from this crisis depends on our ability to embrace vulnerability – the age-old idea, as presented in A Course In Miracles, that we really don’t know what anything means.

The Philosopher’s Stone is as unreal as the thoughts that compose it.  All of our constructions, formations, ideologies and ‘isms won’t save us from their destruction.  This is the palace of Kali – where words dissolve to scratches on paper and bits and bytes, so worshipped for their relevancy in the modern world, resolve to less than nothing…rebooting mankind to a world in which none of us is immune.  This we must acknowledge.  What lies beyond is anyone’s guess and everyone’s epilogue.

In the wake of a global pandemic, what will become the “new normal?”  This is a paradox in itself because normal isn’t new, it’s a norm.  The new normal is such an enormous thought that we automatically try to compartmentalize it – like assigning meaning to a company of stars.  Our label does not add anything to it or alter its relation to us…but it does change ours to “it.”

Every time a beloved dies, our world decomposes and recomposes from its ashes.  This “same difference” is the essence of change.  Essential change embraces the paradox of different – there is no such thing in reality.

No-one or no-thing can shield us from our coming of age.  It is time to embrace a world in which paradox becomes the embrace.  Who will I be on the other side of my illusions?  What will save me?

What can I do?

Embrace this invitation to expansion.  Don’t resist assimilation into the unknown. The futility of that embrace is being realized now in our acute and collective suffering.

Will you continue to compose the present (and your future) from the ashes of the past?

Our fingers ache to let it go…

It takes conscious practice to release the past.  We have woven such a thick web around the present moment that we cannot let it go…but let it go we must if we wish to know what lies beyond it.

This is what is being presented to us – this intricate web – our profound connectedness – the dance of life.

I am you and you are me. 


I know what I know, and I know what I don’t know.
That pleases me to no end.

I believe I have arrived at a place where I, finally,
know what I know.
However, considering that may change,
I must concede that
I may be merely enjoying my own self-importance.

I encounter myself wrapped in my sensitivity to others’ rejection.
Embedded in their adoration…
I am hidden in the rapture of my gloom and graphic dissertations.
But most ’specially so,
when I am reminded that I am growing old.

Is this what I am?
An exercise in self-importance?
My sweetest indulgence,
obsessively strengthened by
the sound of my own voice?

I love to hear myself talk — I explain away my reason
and reinforce that which I value through a story
in continuous revision, swapping reason for reason.

My story is mine. I am afraid of it, because
I know Truth is not mine alone.
My telling story is unique, not true.

Am I engaged in an evolution, or a REVOLUTION?
It is an intense, detailed struggle.
I think I know why.
For the love of all that is holy, I must be right about something!
How can I grow if I accept that I am always, eternally, wrong?

This is the web of words on which my beliefs reside,
These tightly spun spider-webbed thoughts
crafted to be congruent, weighted…a fitting and presentable lure.

But how can I believe if nobody AGREES?

Searching, I have found no peace in words or concepts,
nor in courageous soliloquy…
No solace in the polished beauty of vocal gymnastics…

ITS absence is poignantly felt in the shy-smiled speaker
who SECRETLY loves
that one more person who applauded her words
and did not condone another’s…

Redemption has never been found in that one more friend
who found the path to her door,
or accompanied by that someone who has sincerely asked for her
“educated” opinion on matters of the heart…

And not when she felt others rush to her side,
their cool hands on her forehead,
as she cried out that the world is a
hate-filled, miserable place where the writhing come to die.

Not even then.

Here lay I, encased upon this web.
Stripped bare, wrapped in a world of shadows and smiles,
bone-wearily relieved of being searched and prodded
expectantly for blessings…

I lean in and whisper THANK YOU with naked, religious fervor…

I am nobody’s personal savior; most certainly not my own.
Is this enough to save me from this curse of words?


Published by Paula D. Tozer

I am a writer, poet and singer/songwriter. I am a Toastmaster, motivational speaker, personal creativity coach, and workshop leader. My most sincere wish is to share my words with others, and that we both benefit from the exchange.

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