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Wednesday, January 20, 2016

We Know What We Know

"The truth you believe in and cling to makes you unavailable to hear
anything new."   ~ Pema Chodron

Within recent days three celebrity performing artists have died.  It has been interesting to read, watch, and hear on social and traditional media the many different tributes to David Bowie, Alan Rickman, and Glen Frey. There have been memories of first albums, concerts and movies. People have shared stories of how one of these people influenced, and in some cases changed, their lives.

What I find curious about this is not that these people's lives have had profound influence others, but not necessarily on me.  I'm familiar with David Bowie's major hits, but never intentionally listened to his music.  I've seen a number of films Alan Rickman was in and enjoyed his acting abilities.  I'm much more familiar with the music of The Eagles, but could not have told you the name of any individual member of the band, until Glen Frey's death.

All of this leads me to reflect on just how limited each of our perspectives of life are, how the sphere of our knowledge, experiences, interests, and influence is much smaller than we imagine, Perhaps living  in an age of instant connectivity and information has created an illusion that we are more informed, connected, and involved in the world than we really are, even with and perhaps especially those closest to us.

One of my seminary professors use to say, "We know more than we know we know,"  However, the opposite is probably truer, "We don't know nearly as much as we think we know."

Paul Simon put it this way in his song "The Boxer,"  "A man hears what he wants to hear and disregards the rest."

For now, I think I'll stop my rambling and go listen to some David Bowie music and see what all the fuss is about.

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