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What Can Be Known

Updated on November 8, 2016
  1. If the pig knows that when it grows up it will be slaughter for food, will it still have a will to live?

  2. If the salmon knows that after swimming thousands of miles from the ocean to a river in the mountain just to spawn and die, will it still embark on this perilous journey?

  3. If the rat knows that it is man’s public enemy number one, will it still try to eke out a living amongst man’s dwellings even if it is underground.

  4. If a person knows that one is going to die an agony death due to cancer later in life, how will the person change how one lives?

  5. If a person knows one can accomplish only certain goals and play only certain role in life, will the person be still optimistic, hopeful, and full of dreams?

  6. If a person knows there are many uncommon problems that one has to face and many of them cannot be solved, will the person still be confident and think that nothing is impossible?

    It is obvious that if a living thing knows more than what one is supposed to know, life will not work the way Nature intended.

Nature’s Ecosystem

Most of the living things are born with their unique survival skills. Their learning capability is limited in scope and usefulness. All they need to know is how to find food to grow into maturity whence they can find mate to reproduce. Pig is one such animal that we can capitalize on to farm it as a source of food to keep us alive. The salmon sole function is to get fed in the ocean and return to the place of its birth to mate, reproduce, and to perish. At the end of its life journey, its decayed body will nourish the surrounding land as food for the wild life and nutrient for the plants. We consider rat a pest because it eats anything and everything, multiplies like rabbit, and spreads disease. Despite our tireless effort to exterminate them, the rats have been able to survive under the most adverse conditions. Any living thing that can survive Nature’s merciless obstacle courses becomes part of Nature’s ecosystem. In it, each member knowing what needs to be known ekes out a living in a well-defined region with specialized skill.

Human’s Ecosystem

We, the human species, as a whole can live anywhere on Earth with seemingly unlimited skills in finding more energy and food to support a continuously expanding population. But, individually, each person knowing what one is supposed to know lives in an area defined by the person’s special skills. In a densely populated and well-developed society, all kinds of people with specialized skills are needed to make it work. There are doctor, educator, administrator, construction worker, trucker, janitor, accountant, etc., each playing a part in the man-made ecosystem. The doctor treating the sick in the hospitable depends on:

  1. The janitor to clean the place,

  2. The accountant to balance the finance,

  3. The construction worker to add extra clinical space,

  4. The educator to inform the public of a healthy life style,

  5. The administrator to organize and run the facility,

  6. The trucker to supply the necessary equipments, etc.


There are literally countless living species that are able to stake out a relatively small territory somewhere on Earth as habitat to carry out their simple ways of life; they only know how to survive and reproduce and they will fight to the bitter end to do just that. We, the human species, are the only one that is able to claim the whole Earth as habitat to enjoy a life style as we desire. We will deploy all our resources and fight with all our energy to get what we want and protect what we have. But, we are also operating on certain limitations:

  1. A person can learn how to write. But, without a fertile imagination, the person can only write about every day happenings instead of out of this world fantasy.

  2. A person will not be contented to work in the assembly line if the person is good in management.

  3. It is unwise to hire a carpenter or electrician to do the job of a mechanic.

  4. A person can have all the coaching and training to prepare for a life in the professional sport. But, without the necessary physical and mental attributes, the person can only watch the professional sport on TV.

Knows Just Enough

As each person starts one’s journey of life, one does not know if the journey is going to be long or short, smooth or rough. The only things one knows are to follow the path to its completion and to carry out the functions that one is born with. No one knows and can control what role one is to play – good or bad, main character or stand in, the disruptor or facilitator, the hero or coward, etc. Everyone knows that one feels comfortable if one does what one is good at. It is the society’s value system that judges whether a person’s action and intention are beneficial or detrimental to the public as whole. In a free society, numerous laws have been setup and enforced to restrict people’s bad behaviors and to encourage constructive ideas and prosperity to take hold. No one knows everything and can be anything. Our society is filled with people from all walks of life. Each one knows just enough to find one’s place in it. No one knows where it is taking us and we are hopeful and willing to work together for a better future.


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