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What Don't You Know? - How many angels can dance on the head of a pin. (Perspectives)

Updated on March 16, 2013
Idea go @
Idea go @

The Perspectives

MickeySr, Bravewarrior, Docmo, Marcoujor, Martie Coetser, Guest writer
MickeySr, Bravewarrior, Docmo, Marcoujor, Martie Coetser, Guest writer

‘What don’t you know?’

‘What don’t you know?’ is a mind-blowing question!

I don’t know what was in, or on, marcoujor's mind when she presented this question as a topic for the Perspectives to write about.

I don’t know if my perspective on this question would be of any significance to her or anybody on this planet.

I don't know what the future has in store for me.

I don't know what more do I still need to know.

I KNOW SOMETHING important to know.....

Vickiw: Guest writer, March 2013

Guest writer for March 2013: Vickiw
Guest writer for March 2013: Vickiw | Source

What/Who is the Perspectives?

The idea behind this series called Perspectives is explained in a hub published by MickeySr:

  • Perspectives: An Introduction
    What we think and how we feel about things is defined, not by the things themselves, but by our perspective of things. Everything that comes before us is filtered through our perception of things...

What do I not know?

I agree wholeheartedly with Socrates ~

Stuart Miles @
Stuart Miles @

There was a time in my life,

many moons ago, I felt incompetent when I was not able to answer a question.

In the meantime I have discovered two ways of having answers -

At a time in my life

I felt obliged to provide answers to all questions.

In the meantime I have realized that ‘I don’t know’ was an honest answer not to be ashamed of.

© Martie Coetser
© Martie Coetser

Macoujor wants to know

of what subjects we - The Perspectives - are ignorant of.

I don’t know about the others, but I can quickly provide about a tenth of the subjects I am ignorant of –

  • Abiogenesis,
  • Balneology,
  • Catabolism,
  • Debrezhnevisation,
  • Eclampsia,
  • Fluviology,
  • ....

Oh, this list has no ending!

And what exactly do I know about ENDINGS?

Is the ending of one thing not the beginning of another thing?

digitalart @
digitalart @

How many angels can dance on the head of a pin?

For reasons beyond my comprehension medieval scholars wanted to know how many angels can dance on the head of a pin. Though some argued that this topic was "simply a debating exercise" and not a serious quest for knowledge.

Today this is only a metaphor declaring the debating of topics of no practical value as a waste of time and energy.

There was a time I have dug even in the archives of libraries in search for information about reincarnation. Until it occurred to me that I cannot remember any of my previous lives – if there were any. So I asked myself why was I wasting my precious time on Earth gathering knowledge that I cannot use productively and effectively in my struggle to survive happily ever after?

© MartieCoetser

Copyright :: All Rights Reserved

Registered :: 2013-03-14 6:20:45
Title :: Perspectives: What don't you know? How many angels dance on the head of a pin?
Fingerprint :: 9e7f5796cbe868be09f66dc088f08e51b681a5892d2ae38b07679fdcd2f37b11f
MCN :: CY385-J1GSP-0D557

Conclusion and Tip

It is not possible for one person to know everything.

It is NOT a shame to be ignorant of irrelevant subjects.

We should, however, know what is important in order for us to survive as long and as best as we can.

Tip: How to know what is important to know:

Only when we have a good enough reason WHY we need to know something, we should acquired the particular knowledge without delay.

This is my perspective on 'What do you not know' -

And now I do want to know that of my fellow-perspectives ~


Because I am curious.

Curiosity is in my book a good enough reason for obtaining information of any nature...

© Martie Coetser
© Martie Coetser


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    • MartieCoetser profile imageAUTHOR

      Martie Coetser 

      6 years ago from South Africa

      Sannel, always-always good to see you in my corner. Well, I do know that I am so happy to know you, even though only in this virtual world, and I would give an arm and a leg to meet you one day in person. Take care and enjoy your day. BTW, spring in your country is as cold as our winters, but don't envy me. Hot, dry summers quicken the pace of aging.... This is another thing I know. Lol!

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      I know, I don't know nearly enough, but I know three things;

      1. I'm sooo late commenting on this hub

      2. You did a fantastic job with this hub!!

      3. You're beautiful, my friend!

      ohh. . . wait. . .

      4. I know that I love you!

    • MartieCoetser profile imageAUTHOR

      Martie Coetser 

      6 years ago from South Africa

      SilentReed – the question about angels dancing on the head of a pin reminds me of how many souls can fit in Heaven. Rather tell me how many potatoes can I plant in my garden, or how many bread pans can fit in my oven, or, most important, what should the size be of my coffin.

      Although I am a writer with a vivid imagination, I am also a pragmatist.

      I know a lady – actually quite a few people – boasting with several degrees, but they don’t use any of that knowledge. It may be true that education is what is left after you have forgotten what you’d learned, but gaining knowledge without the intention to use it in practice, reminds me of a obsessive-compulsive personality disorder.

      Don’t we learn more than ever about ourselves and other humans by merely observing the actions of babies and toddlers? I love ‘studying’ my grandchildren. The spontaneous development of a distinguished character/personality is absolutely amazing.

      Thank you so much, SilentReed for your most generous and enjoyable comment. I am boots and all on your page :)

    • SilentReed profile image


      6 years ago from Philippines

      I have it on good authority that 554,321 angels can dance simultaneously on the head of a pin. :)

      "What don't (do) you know?" is a straightforward question. But look closer and ambiguity appears. It's like the Zen koan asking " What is the sound of one hand?" Deceptively simple yet containing a myriad of possible answers. We are so consume with acquiring knowledge that our reasoning and logical mind assume the question is asking about the sum total accumulation of information gathered inside our brain. The kind of applicable knowledge that we utilize in our daily life. Or, it may also be questioning the quality of knowledge; wisdom gain from experience and understanding.

      I watch my carefree 3 year old grandson Zac at play. When he is hungry, he eats. When he is sleepy, he sleeps. Very Zen-like. :) His world is not yet tainted with the concept of "good" and "evil". This he will eventually learn and have to deal with as he grows up within his circle of society. In the Bible story of Adam and Eve eating from the tree of knowledge, the allegory is that "good" and "evil comes with the acquisition of knowledge. The question in this hub opens up another question, "how much of what we have learn do we really need?" We acquire the skills necessary for survival, but watching and appreciating a beautiful sunrise ( or a beautiful woman :) is something which we did not learn in school.

      In our electronic wired world, information can now be easily accessed. Because of the internet, knowledge from all over the world, both past and present are at our fingertips. We have become very proficient at information gathering. But how do we quantify much less measure the quality of knowledge? Consider the knowledge contain within the brains of a fortune 500 corporation CEO. What need or use is it for a person of an indigenous tribe living deep in the Amazon jungles? Yet both would be lost and bewildered if they suddenly find themselves transported into the other person's world.

      Present day knowledge may have provided us with more efficient ways of doing things, raise the living standard (as well as our taxes:) with new inventions and innovations. But where has our intellectual proclivity taken us? Looking at the world today; you find death and destruction in the very fabric of society, a wanton disregard for nature and the Eco-system, and you have to ask yourself, " has knowledge mean more freedom or bondage?" The direction of acquiring knowledge is geared towards providing a "happy" life. Can you live without the convenience of your cell phone, laptop or car. Our forefathers did. Were they any less happy? 21st century humans are technologically advance. What else?

      With the information overload today, It has become difficult to separate the chaff from the kernel. Our task is like that of a sculptor, chipping away at a block of granite.To turn his concept into a perceivable reality, he must get rid of, not add more material. Thereby releasing the entity within the stone.:)

      "The truth will set you free", has become a fashionable cliché; without real understanding, meaningless. Can one contemplate a knowledge that is beyond perception, not tied to the being we call "I, me, or myself"? Is this mere mystical gibberish or has the accumulated "knowledge" through the years overflowed our cup of tea, leaving no space for a higher "awareness"? What don't (do) you know, you ask. I really don't know, but hopefully I will find the answer before life's journey ends....or by then that would be a useless "know(ledge)" where I am concern, floating in the ethereal no-thingness. ;))

    • MartieCoetser profile imageAUTHOR

      Martie Coetser 

      6 years ago from South Africa

      andromida, the ignorance of mankind and his stubborn preference to learn through personal trial and error instead of through the experience and advice of others, is the very reason for new inventions and development. I think 'what we do know' and 'what we do not know' is quite often like the 'devil' and the 'deep blue see'. In the middle we tend to discover a brand new outcomes spontaneously.

    • andromida profile image

      syras mamun 

      6 years ago

      There are so many things that I even heard of. If Socrates were alive he would certainly agree with your conclusion.The great advantage of being ignorant in a subject is that it opens up a broad way of thinking when we try to solve a particular problem.

    • MartieCoetser profile imageAUTHOR

      Martie Coetser 

      6 years ago from South Africa

      Hi Nell :) We certainly have the same ailment: Acute Curiosity. Sometimes I have to 'drug' myself with an ordinary and senseless novel or movie about love, or better - the real deal - just to force my brain to a standstill. Take care :)

    • MartieCoetser profile imageAUTHOR

      Martie Coetser 

      6 years ago from South Africa

      Alicia - not knowing everything also keeps us grateful for having friends who have taken the time to gather and share the most interesting information about the most interesting subjects. You are Number One on my list of friends when it comes to the most fascinating and informative hubs about the most interesting subjects. Thank you, Alicia!

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 

      6 years ago from England

      Hi Martie, I put my don't knows into two catagories, one being stuff I don't know cos I don't care enough too, and two, the things I don't know but desperately search everywhere to find out, driving each and everyone around me mad until I do know! lol! but I do know one thing, this was great! lol!

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 

      6 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      It's wonderful that there are so many things that we don't know. This means that there is always something new and fascinating to discover, according to our tastes! There are things that are important for some people to know, such as the treatments for diseases. In many other cases, though, not knowing everything keeps us humble and makes life endlessly fascinating when we are in a position to learn new things. Thank you for yet another thought-provoking hub, Martie. I enjoy reading your perspectives hubs and all your other hubs too.

    • MartieCoetser profile imageAUTHOR

      Martie Coetser 

      6 years ago from South Africa

      Mary, it is actually scary to realize how little we really know. Fortunately the older we get, the easier it becomes to say: "I don't know." And since the Internet is a source of knowledge, we can so easily get the information we need. Thanks to Google I can at least get an idea what the unknown is all about in less than an hour. Take care and thanks for sharing your thoughts on the topic.

    • MartieCoetser profile imageAUTHOR

      Martie Coetser 

      6 years ago from South Africa

      Tillsontitan, thank heavens we don't NEED to know everything. Thank you for reading and commenting :)

    • mary615 profile image

      Mary Hyatt 

      6 years ago from Florida

      What a great subject for a Hub! The longer I live, the more I realize just how much I don't know! I am wise in the way of the world (I think), but am certainly not wise in the academic sense like I would like to be.

      I love the quotes and video.

      Voted UP, and shared.

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 

      6 years ago from New York

      One thing I do know, I thoroughly enjoyed this! There are many things we don't need to know, including:







      At least I figure I don't need to know them because I have no clue what they are and honestly no desire to find out! This was a joy to read and yes, there are things we don't know!!

      Voted up, useful, funny, and interesting.

    • MartieCoetser profile imageAUTHOR

      Martie Coetser 

      6 years ago from South Africa

      @ Pamela99 – I must admit that I have found the question, ‘What do you not know?’ quite mind-boggling. We normally only know what we don’t know when we suddenly need knowledge we are ignorant of. Like yesterday with me, when I had to report a stolen article for the 1st time. TODAY I know how to do it, but yesterday I was completely ignorant.) Thank you for sharing your opinion, Pamela.

      @ Alastar Packer – I like your new avatar – an entire novel in one picture. The little I know about computers is enough for me to regard it as a metaphor for the brain. We can get more memory, but not more storage for data. We need to defrag from time to time, etc. So I mostly save links. The way I use my computer depends on my pattern of thoughts (program Windows), and also my search engine (Google). I hate updates. I was so clueless when I changed from DOS to Windows. Microsoft Office (Words, Excel, Publisher, etc.) were nightmares to conquer. Updating from 2003 to 2007 to 2010 was almost just as bad. But anything is difficult until we get on top of it. Anyway, somehow we can compare the brain to a computer, but only to a point. The human brain is still a miracle – like God, I dare to say.

      Alastar, I think this topic was the ideal opportunity for me to admit that I truly don’t know much. But I surely know where to find all information I need in order to do what I have to do. We humans can in fact do anything we HAVE TO do. Maybe not perfectly, maybe not as good as somebody else, but good enough for our own survival. The rest of the things some of us know and practice is just because we enjoy the challenge.

      Take care, Alastar :)

      @ midget38 – excellent choice of words – “Our ignorance is infinite; our knowledge is finite.” Times like this I know that I DO NOT know the English language as well as I know my own language. Why haven’t I remembered these words? I would have probably used the words ‘limited’ and ‘unlimited’, because they are part of my vocabulary – while these two words of yours are in the dictionary for me to use until it eventually become part of my vocabulary. Thank you, midget, and for passing this hub around :)

    • midget38 profile image

      Michelle Liew 

      6 years ago from Singapore

      There are an infinite number of things we do not know, and a finite number than we to how many angels can dance on the head on a's not easy to answer that one either! Thanks for sharing, Martie!Passing around!

    • Alastar Packer profile image

      Alastar Packer 

      6 years ago from North Carolina

      There are only so many gigabytes up there in the old beaner. Discernment and priority might a couple watch words for what you know and what is in the background, course Mother Nature generally takes care of that for us. This is a bit strange to me, this topic, for a writer with your very high intelligence and knowledge. But then again, your wise and knowledgeable enough to know the truth and wisdom in Socrates words.:)

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 

      6 years ago from Sunny Florida

      Martie, I like you perspective on this topic. We surely don't need to know everything, but that which is most important is the exception. Love the song and the quotes. I think you did a wonderful job with this topic. Up and IABL. Love and hugs to you sweet lady.

    • MartieCoetser profile imageAUTHOR

      Martie Coetser 

      6 years ago from South Africa

      Hi Svetlana :)

      Debrezhnevisation = decommunisation. Whatever this is. But the ‘de’ and the ‘communes’ and my concept of communism hopefully give me the right idea.

      Your example of the sheets and the dots remind me of quantum physics. We certainly don’t see everything to be seen in a specific spot. We don’t even hear/feel/sense everything in our immediate space.

      When we rationalize we either minimize or maximize a matter in order to fit it into our concept of it. Therefor all studies start with an introduction based on existing concepts. When I was 13-14 I had to undergo operations which prevented me to attend school for 8 weeks (each year). I was able to catch up with all that was new, except in Science. They were all of a sudden busy with volts, ampères, watts, ohms – while I was an achiever in mathematics I just could not grab the essence of power. And so, today I cannot even grab the workings of a computer... Ram, GHz, so-many-bits x86-64.... WTH? I just DON’T GET anything of this.

      During my research on the angels (dancing on the head of a pin), I stumbled upon a discussion forum where this very issue is/was the topic. “When angels enter our world, do they follow Bose-Einstein statistics or Fermi-Dirac statistics?” WTH?

      I must admit, I absolutely hate NOT understanding something. My partner at the music school for 20 years irritated and sometimes infuriated me with his habit of using Latin words and idioms in and out of season. WTH? I don’t understand Latin! Although I’ve had it as a compulsory subject in school for 2 years, and I’ve passed all tests with distinction. Got even 100% for some of them. A proof that the brain can be a robot, registering and supplying facts without a cook-in-clue what it means.

      Fabulous quotes from the Tao The Ching and Dr. Moreau.

      Now why don’t you write a hub about the Butterfest and Starskie pancakes? Come-on, Svetlana, just do it. You have so much knowledge, experiences and interests to share with us. Just do it! 700-1000 words. If you can write comments like these in my corner, you CAN certainly write a hub.

      Thank you for this nice chat on my Sunday morning and for the bEaUtIFuL video - "Широкая МАСЛЕНИЦА" ("Wide Shrovetide")

      17 March 2013, 11:30am.

    • MartieCoetser profile imageAUTHOR

      Martie Coetser 

      6 years ago from South Africa

      mckbirdbks - I think you hit the nail on its head - the one that keeps my entire box of knowledge together. Haven't you recently used the metaphor of the glass, properly filled with pebbles, but with space still left for sand and water? Knowledge gained by trial and error is certainly the pebbles in my glass and the rest is sand and water. Because water evaporates I will always have room for new knowledge. Sadly, we cannot get rid of the pebbles in our glass - that knowledge we could have lived without. Don't forget the saying: "Education is what is left after you have forgotten everything you have learned."

    • kallini2010 profile image


      6 years ago from Toronto, Canada

      You took my breath away with debrezhnevisation! Is this what I think it is or I don't know what it is and see in it what I want to see?

      Let me give you an example of how much you don't know...

      Imagine a white sheet ... what do you see?

      Put randomly a few (well, between one and twenty) black dots on it. What do you see?

      Now close your eyes and put another black dot on the sheet.

      Did you hit any of your previous dots?

      What is the probability of hitting any of them?

      The dots represent the set of our knowledge - really rare numbers. The white space represents what we don't see even if we look right at it. There is infinity even between the number Zero and One, let alone all other infinities. Majority of the numbers are irrational and yet we tend to spend our lives rationalizing. Infinity is irrational.

      Remember that quote

      “Everything is nothing, with a twist.” - Kurt Vonnegut, Slaughter-house Five (Nothing is a figure of Zero, Infinity is an eight lying on its side, resting and having no questions to the humankind).

      Funny thing about NOT KNOWING - a few days ago I read an excerpt from my own letter dated 1999 - I was surprised at how much I was able to forget. Do we know ourselves?

      And let me finish with my favourite quote (yet another one):

      "When they think that they know the answers,

      people are difficult to guide.

      When they know they do not know,

      people can find their own way."

      from the Tao The Ching

      And sharing the wisdom of I don't even remember who -

      The wisdom is not in knowing the answers,

      the wisdom is in knowing the questions.

      From the Island of the Doctor(ess) Moro(n) [originally Dr. Moreau] -

      I am not ashamed to admit that I know nothing.

      My best wishes from

      Toronto, Canada

      March 16, 2013

      P.S. Did you know that this week is the Traditional Russian Maslenitsa (Butterfest) - seeing off winter and welcoming spring - baking pancakes and carnaval/festival?

      Maybe you did, maybe you did not. We made pancakes with the "new" recipe "Tsarskie (Royal) Pancakes". It's nice to chime in with the one own roots every once in a while! A pancake represents the Sun - a fun democratic image...

    • mckbirdbks profile image


      6 years ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

      Not all stories begin with 'once upon a time' and end with a kiss.

      What else is there to know. Oh, I know; it is that Martie has given the events in her life a lot of thought, found out by trial and error what worked and what did not work so good. On the job training is sometimes better than curiosity. And in conclusion........

    • MartieCoetser profile imageAUTHOR

      Martie Coetser 

      6 years ago from South Africa

      Nellieanna, one of the few compliments given to me by my ex-husband, and not directly to me, but to another person, was about my tendency to study and dissect whatever interest me to the bone. But I must admit, I only do that until I understand the essence of a subject/matter, and that does not mean that I am able to practice the knowledge that I have obtained. I.e. music. I know a lot about music, but not enough to be a lecturer in music or a professional musician. Only as a writer/journalist and an amateur musician I am able to 'practice' my knowledge. What I do know in depth, is what I need to know in order to be a mother, a bookkeeper, an office manager, a writer, etc. And I am getting behind, because I don't keep myself updated with modern changes. What I know about my interests is simply general knowledge.

      They say a little knowledge is dangerous, but according to my perception this would only be when one try to be, for an example, a medical doctor with just a little knowledge. I do believe that even a little knowledge is Power.

      I have troublesome neighbors. If I did not know a little about the Law, I would have made the mistake to rely on the Police to get them in line. But now I was able to give them their first warning in writing, stipulating all the laws they are busy to violate, undertaking to report them to the specific authorities after their next offence. They are very quite since they got my letter....

      At a time I was involved with a doctor-professor in Economy. At numerous occasions I had 'the privilege' to socialize with his colleagues. 99% of them knows their subject in depth, but they know/understand nothing/very little about anything else. They drag 'everything else' through their knowledge of their specific subject, and that habit reminds me of trying to get double knitting wool through a fine needle's eye. I don't think the human brain can accommodate too many facts. Impressions, maybe, but saturating it with too many facts might prevent it from absorbing fresh knowledge. I don't even burden my brain with a grocery list. My notebook (on my cellphone) is my private secretary... :)

      So, I prefer knowing a little about many things instead of studying an unnecessary subject (for personal gain) in depth.

      Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts on the topic, my dearest CM.

    • MartieCoetser profile imageAUTHOR

      Martie Coetser 

      6 years ago from South Africa

      Oh, Sunshine, there are so many. Hopefully at least two of them will eventually become proper competition for Google..... ~

    • Nellieanna profile image

      Nellieanna Hay 

      6 years ago from TEXAS

      There is a difference between knowing "about" and having internalized an understanding of a subject or discipline. Google is marvelous for giving quick knowledge 'about' things - - I certainly make use of it that way, especially being so much more visible to others than I used to be. - -But I still value - no, treasure - the deep probing and research on my own to find all about something of value to me. I always really have gotten into anything I took on, reading and studying everything I could lay hands on, trying out information experimentally where possible, mulling it over and over to eke from it every morsel of understanding.

      I have to wonder if that's a taught or a lost pursuit these days, except maybe to & for those studying for PhDs.

      Seems we all know a little about more things than ever (including the jargon and acronyms!) and less depth about fewer things, don't we?

    • Sunshine625 profile image

      Linda Bilyeu 

      6 years ago from Orlando, FL

      There are other search engines besides Google???? :)

    • MartieCoetser profile imageAUTHOR

      Martie Coetser 

      6 years ago from South Africa

      Hi Sunshine, my lovely friend, since Google we don't ever have to be clueless again. And don't forget about all the other search engines. I remember a time when I had to make numerous phone calls to friends and strangers in order to obtain needed information. Oh, and the hours I have spent in the library! Thanks to the Internet knowledge is available to everybody and all in a matter of seconds. Thanks for pimping this hub :) Oh, that photo - I had to share it with you, because your positive attitude is contagious. You are a source of courage and enthusiasm - sunshine, indeed :)

    • MartieCoetser profile imageAUTHOR

      Martie Coetser 

      6 years ago from South Africa

      btrbell - is that not a good enough criteria to use whenever we get an urge to know something? Why would I want to know exactly what Monica Lewinsky has done to the president, or was it vice versa? Only because I am curious. Curiosity, of course, is a good enough reason in my book. Lol!

      Thanks for clicking in for the read :)

    • MartieCoetser profile imageAUTHOR

      Martie Coetser 

      6 years ago from South Africa

      Hi InKarn, thank you for your lovely comment.

      Eclampsia: A toxic condition characterized by convulsions and possibly coma during or immediately after pregnancy.

      Thousands of women had died in the past - before antibiotics - due to this or a similar condition, including one of the queens of England - or rather one of the wives of one of the kings. See, I either know the facts, or I know where to get it. Geez, my brains are not big enough to store all facts, I only 'save' links.... Lol!

    • Sunshine625 profile image

      Linda Bilyeu 

      6 years ago from Orlando, FL

      Hi SAA, I also am not ashamed to say, "I don't know." For the ones who are ashamed and just give a guess, I say boo to you. These days it's so simple when you are clueless...just Google it! :)) I love your photo and the Robert Frost quote! :))

    • ImKarn23 profile image

      Karen Silverman 

      6 years ago

      Ummm...a word about 'Eclampsia'? (lol)...

      But seriously - awesome hub, Martie - presented as always in your passionate - pull no punches - easy to read fashion!

      What we don't know OUGHT to keep us humble..

      What we don't know OUGHT to keep getting us out of bed with an interested and CURIOUS mind..

      What we don't know OUGHT to remind of us of how little we actually knew when we thought we knew it all..


      Well done, Martie!

      up and onward, my friendxx...

    • btrbell profile image

      Randi Benlulu 

      6 years ago from Mesa, AZ

      "Only when we have a good enough reason WHY...."

      Great hub, Martie! Up+ Personally, I don't care how many angels dance on a pinhead just as long as they keep on dancing! Thank you for your, as always insightful perspective!

    • MartieCoetser profile imageAUTHOR

      Martie Coetser 

      6 years ago from South Africa

      Docmo, to be honest, I was completely out of my depths with this topic. I mean, what do I not know? I had to scroll down my dictionary to find things I don't know anything about.... Lol!

      I do know a little about many things, I do know a little more about some of the things I know, I even know a lot about one or five of the things I know. But fact is: Knowing something - or anything about something - does not mean that we are able to practice that knowledge. For me, Life is action, I have to practice what I know daily, or I will forget knowing what I know. So again, why would I want to know anything when I am not going to practice it and therefor going to forget it?

      But then, I am curious. Somehow some of the knowledge does sink into the sub-conscious mind, whether one use it or not. Referring to Jung's theory about new info being a 'booster', and while some of it filters down to the sub-conscious and others escape the mind, new info is needed in order to prevent depression. So obtaining knowledge all the time is in fact a natural anti-depressant.

      Your most insightful and useful to know perceptive on this topic is to be HIGHLY recommended ~

      Thank you for taking the time to read mine :)

    • Docmo profile image

      Mohan Kumar 

      6 years ago from UK

      There are many things I don't know. For example I don't know I got to be in the company of such delightful writers, who share such wonderfully creative work that dazzles ! It is a rare privilege and I am glad I got the gig. Martie, as always your honest, charming, thought provoking narrative of what you don't know- is a perfect perspective!

    • MartieCoetser profile imageAUTHOR

      Martie Coetser 

      6 years ago from South Africa

      Gypsy Rose - what can we possibly say about the things we don't know? Maybe either 'I would like to know more about it,' or 'I am not interested to know anything about it.' Our interest in life (and death) certainly determine the amount of our knowledge and wisdom. Take care my dear friend. (Saturday morning down here, and I am taking care of multiple tasks at the same time...)

    • MartieCoetser profile imageAUTHOR

      Martie Coetser 

      6 years ago from South Africa

      @ Nellieanna – This is what I love about HubPages – it is a rich source of perspectives – hooks for our frame of mind.

      I see my frame of mind as a hall with walls. On the walls I ‘install’ hooks – perceptives – which are supposed to hold my knowledge and wisdom. All my thoughts, awareness, ideas, wishes, believes, hope, etc., have to be on a hook in order for me to understand them and also to use them when necessary, just like the clothes in my closet. I am constantly organizing the things in my closet – this belongs there and that belongs here... I don’t want to waste time searching for an item that is not where it is supposed to be.

      I must admit I have many hooks on my walls, but all of them are not holding substantial facts and/or ideas of my own. But they are there, ready to become a storage for any new interest I might develop... and also for older once that might be more useful on there.

      Have a lovely weekend, my dear CM.

      @ Faith Reaper, you are such a wonderful commenter. I admire your ability to enlighten the essence of a hub. The ‘why’ question is so important to ask ourselves before we spend the time and energy to find another thing’s why, what, who, where and when. Murphy’s Law.: Before you do something you have to do something else.

      Why did I want to know anything about plants? Because I wanted to establish a garden that would not take up too much of my time. Why did I want to know anything about children, and as a matter of fact about humans? Because I HAD to take care of them and I WANTED to love them the way they should be loved. And so on. We must know as much as possible about what we should/need/want to do.

      This I can share with you: For 45 years, including my childhood, I had an obsession to ‘know’ God and His ways. I did not only study the Bible, but many other religions including mythology and even history and geography, psychology, physiology, zoology, etc. etc. Then I finally came to the realization that I was not LIVING and enjoying the precious opportunity I had to be on this awesome planet. I was a digger of knowledge and insight in a very small space, digging-digging-digging deeper into the mystery of a POWER I might as well accept as a fait accompli such as oxygen, carbonic acid, nitrogen – stuff that exist because they exists. A pathologist will never find ME in my body. He will find my organs, my blood and intestines, but the me I am is not to be found. Me is invisible. Me can only be perceived via my actions. And that is when I started to live with a vengeance, realizing that we humans tend to dodge our own responsibilities and power by blaming and even praising God for everything that goes on in this world. He – the Creator, the Breathe of the Universe, whatever you like to call it - gave us the power to live and the opportunity to love, appreciate and take care of this awesome universe and all that it holds, even of the tiniest bacterium, and each of us has only a minuscule fracture of time to do this.

      Anyway, back to ignorance. There are things we must and should know in order to live and let live to our maximum capacity.

      Hugs to you, Faith.

      @ Rosemay50 – we are so on the same page! Lots of hugs to you :)

      @ MsDora – I hope that ‘so far’ will never become ‘until now’. Thanks for clicking in for the read :)

      @ drbj – I ‘blame’ everything I know in this life on my curiosity, and also on my eagerness (obsession) to satisfy my curiosity. I am a born ape, but glorified because my brain is a bit larger than that of the cleverest ape...

      What more can I say, but: “I am an old glorified ape, and still curious about too many things going on on this planet, and, at the same time I am quite sick and tired of trying to understand everything I hear and see and read, so I am busy to accomplish the art of ignorance. ”

      Thanks for the vote, drbj :)

      @ agapsikap – Oh, when I was young I thought I had all the wisdom and knowledge securely between my ears. Then Life started to surprise me with totally unknown truths AND lies. Thanks for the thumbs up :)

    • Gypsy Rose Lee profile image

      Gypsy Rose Lee 

      6 years ago from Daytona Beach, Florida

      Voted up and interesting. Martie I know I cannot pronounce those topics you don't know about, I know I am delighted to have you as a friend, I know you got me all discombobulated reading this and finally I know I love you. You got through this hub with flying colors. Hugs and passing this on for further pondering.

    • agapsikap profile image


      6 years ago from Philippines

      A very beautiful perspective always comes with a very encouraging words. Youngsters always thought they knew everything and pretend to be old enough in handling things on their own. On the other hand, idlers never uses curiosity to fill their ignorance on any matter.

      Thumbs up, Martie.

    • drbj profile image

      drbj and sherry 

      6 years ago from south Florida

      Those who stop learning, who stop searching for answers, who stop questioning ... might as well be dead, Martie. To ask questions and look for answers is to be alive. At least that's my perspective. Thank you for this fascinating and profound examination of your perspective. You indicated that curiosity is a good reason to search for information. I heartily agree, m'dear. And vote Up!

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 

      6 years ago from The Caribbean

      I don't know what other interesting perspectives you have that you did not share. I know that I liked what you shared, so far.

    • Rosemay50 profile image

      Rosemary Sadler 

      6 years ago from Hawkes Bay - NewZealand

      I love your perspective of knowing what we need to know when we need to know it.

      When something crops up we look it up, learn about it, ask advice of others, it's a continuel learning process. If we all knew everything why would we need to rely on others. We all have knowledge to share.

      Linda Ronstadt, love that song, and I don't even need to know 'why' I love it.

      Great hub and spot on Martie

      Voting Up and more

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 

      6 years ago from southern USA

      Whew, Martie, I do so love that you know nothing of anything on that list there!!! What a refreshingly clever and honest perspective here. I am ignorant of far too many subjects to even attempt to count, no doubt!

      You are very wise to know when we really do need to know is when we need to know "why," otherwise we are wasting our time! Perfect ending to a delightful hub here.

      Awesome write as always!

      Voted up ++++ and sharing

      Hugs and love to South Africa, Faith Reaper

    • Nellieanna profile image

      Nellieanna Hay 

      6 years ago from TEXAS

      Everyone's comments have been insightful on this subject, IMHO. Hugs.

    • MartieCoetser profile imageAUTHOR

      Martie Coetser 

      6 years ago from South Africa

      Nellieanna – and the ‘gospel’ changes rapidly, giving credit to Seneca’s theory: “The truth is just a matter of opinion. What is considered to be the truth today could be proved as fraud tomorrow.”

      Thank you, Nellieanna, for always enhancing my hubs with your insightful comments.

    • MartieCoetser profile imageAUTHOR

      Martie Coetser 

      6 years ago from South Africa

      @ marcoujor – This may sound weird, but the idea often pops up in my mind: In the cradle of perfect love we will have no desire to know anything. I know people with no ambition and not a trail of positive deeds, because they were spoiled rotten by ‘loving’ parents. So another thing I DON’T KNOW is exactly how much love people need in order to be the best they can be.

      We are definitely in sync!

      I have found your perspective on this topic profound and encouraging ~

      Te amo, Maria!

      Oh, between me and you, I think Mickey is an alien... :)

      @ MickeySr – LMAO!

      So Friedrich Nietzsche was dead right: “The man of knowledge must be able not only to love his enemies but also to hate his friends.”

      So shivering with cautiousness I quote Oscar Wilde: “I love talking about nothing. It's the only thing I know anything about.”

      But I do agree wholeheartedly with your statement: “.... wisdom is knowing what you ought to know and what you really don't need to know.”

      Mickey, your perceptive on this topic touched my heart ~

      @ billybuc – You know the saying, “There is no-one as empty as the one who is too full of himself.” If we – due to an over-sized ego – believe that we know everything, there is no room left for the knowledge we need to grow. Thank you, Bill, for your loyal support.

      @ DDE – Thanks for reading and commenting. Hope you, too, will have a lovely weekend :)

      @ bravewarrior – there are so many possible causes for déjà-vu, e.g. temporal lobe epilepsy, or the reflection of light, or when the eyes are not in sync and the brain register a scene seen by one eye seconds before it register the scene seen by the other eye. Too many theories!

      I could relate to your perceptive on this topic ~

      @ Vickiw – I thoroughly enjoyed your perceptive on this topic. I haven’t read such an interesting hub in a long time ~

      Between me and you and Maria - Mickey is an alien. He knows more than he knows he knows, but he needs us to enlighten his knowledge.

      You are so welcome in our wacky world. Except for Mickey, we are all quite normal :)

    • Nellieanna profile image

      Nellieanna Hay 

      6 years ago from TEXAS

      Knowledge is an inexhaustible area of mental application - always involving change, since knowledge is in a continuous state of change. What was 'gospel' in any area - medicine, geography, art, psychology, education, religion, architecture - etc. ad infinitum - becomes obsolete with new findings, experiences, explorations which apply to it.

      Our life on earth is a constant process of CHANGE. In fact, change is what defines LIFE. The coursing through the body of nutrients, air, elimination of debris, - the mind's constant exposure to new experiences and "knowledge", the growth from learning and experiencing LIFE - all of it showing that at no time during our time on earth do we EVER know or have it all. It's what is so wonderful about LIFE. That nothing alive is static is that nothing alive is DEAD.

      All of it isn't even apparent or known! There is always more 'out there' to be investigated - and built upon in the quest for more and better understanding and knowledge. What a miracle is that!

      That's surely why Socrates and Confucius and most otherwise and knowledgeable people of history have willingly realized and admitted that the only 'certainty' is uncertainty and the only real knowledge is awareness of lack of it.

      These perspectives I've read on this subject thus far are very well done and show the intelligence of those of you who have written them! The varioius PERSPECTIVES on the subject only show the value of this series! Great stuff!

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Very clever Martie. I love the fact that there is so much we don't know. Life would be incredibly boring. And it is so true that you should only worry about the meaningful things that are worth wasting brain cells on. I don't remember my previous lives either. From my perspective, Mickey does appear a bit crotchety. Perhaps that comes from knowing too many accumulated words over the years. Lovely Hub, and you are all wonderful to let me into your wacky world.

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 

      6 years ago from Central Florida

      I like your take, Martie. I especially like what you said about giving up on learning about reincarnation since you'll never know whether or not you had another life. BTW, they say that deja vu can be attributed to having had the same experience in another life. Interesting.

      I love this. You and Mickey both used words I don't know in your hubs!

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 

      6 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      Knowledge is important and not everyone can know it all, I always enjoy learning something new, and I did just that here. Voted up and interesting. Have a lovely weekend!

    • marcoujor profile image

      Maria Jordan 

      6 years ago from Jeffersonville PA

      Oh Sista, It's your turn this month...I have the muzzle from last month...let me send it over "stat".

      Even since Mickey became an octogenarian, he has been so crotchety and even kinda delusional...

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      6 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Today I find great comfort in not incredibly boring it would be to be a know-it-all. I like the fact that my ego has shrunk to manageable levels. :) Great perspective, Martie!

    • MickeySr profile image


      6 years ago from Hershey, Pa.

      What a dope. I can't hardly believe that you're well into your 60s and you don't know what 'Debrezhnevisation' means . . . heck, you can take the word apart just by looking at it and figure-out what it means. And angels dancing on the head of a pin . . ? . . only a pinhead hasn't figured that one out by now. That's it, you're out of the group.

      "We should, however, know what is important" ~ this is my favorite idea here - that has to do with knowledge and with wisdom, knowing what you ought to know and what you really don't need to know.

    • marcoujor profile image

      Maria Jordan 

      6 years ago from Jeffersonville PA

      " I don't know much, but I know I love you...........that may be all there is to that." What a beautiful and fitting song to accompany your thoughts!

      Oh Sista, this perspective tells me loud and clear that we are in sync.

      My misty eyes are appreciatively voting this UP and UABI...!

      Love, Maria


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