reVoice

Riva Capellari

[email protected]

Located in Brookside in the heart of Kansas City


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“I Don’t Know”

Three small words we hesitate to say for fear of being thought ignorant or weak. In our society, certainty about things makes us feel safer, comfortable, even superior. But Rilke’s admonition to “live the ques-tions” may make us rethink how certain, after all, can we really be?

Cognitively, humans may be limited in their ability to comprehend all – that there will always be some mystery surrounding our lives and our world. We see and learn about only a fraction of our reality, i.e.,the “final strata of all there is”.

Instead of being satisfied with a life where all we know is enough, allowing ourselves to admit to not knowing opens us up to unthought of possibilities. By embracing uncertainty, we “venture into the wilds of the unknown”. Not knowing can arouse and inspire our creativity and imagination, set free curiosity to root out new information, generate fresh ideas, bring about unexpected results.

Reading these articles about the power of I don’t know”, I thought how this applies to my teaching. The old “the more you learn the more you realize you don’t know” maxim came to mind. As teachers, we all have our own unique toolbox we dip into to help our students. Sometimes I need to peruse it more thoroughly- finding old vocal exercises or information I recorded in my brain at one time, that had been pushed to the back of the brain cell closet. When the tried and true doesn’t work, figuring out a new and different approach, not knowing if it will work, is an essential part of teaching. I expand my experience and knowledge every time I step onto an untraveled road in search of a hoped for result. But sometimes the best and most honest answer to a question is “I don’t know”.

We are surrounded by things we don’t understand. We can’t see and know “all behind the curtain that hides the infinite”. To accept what we don’t know, provides us a space to fill with our hopes and unpredictable creations, expanding our reality.

Art takes us beyond science, from what we know to explore what we don’t. Through their work, artists (including musicians) strive to explain and share the inner world we all inhabit. In a society and culture that stresses the supremacy of certainty, we need to make sure our sense of adventure and the fire of our passion for going beyond what we know, is never extinguished. We need to continue to revel in a reality that is a ”shifting mosaic of ideas”

www.brianpickings.org/2015/02/02/the-island-of-knowledge-marcelo-gleiser/; 2017/04/19/marcus-du-sautoy-the-great-unknown/; /2017/03/27/wislava-szymborskwww.brainpickings.org/2015/02/02/the-island-of-knowledge-marcelo-gleiser/a-nobel-speech/; /2016/12/12/making-not-knowing-ann-hamilton.

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