Tag Archives: ignorance

The Assurance of the Unknown

(This column is posted at www.StevenSavage.com and Steve’s Tumblr.  Find out more at my newsletter.)

The last few weeks have been an exercise in admitting I don’t know things. There are futures I can’t predict. There are results I can’t estimate. There are times I’m not sure I can do something.

As you can guess, it’s been a hell of a few weeks.

Yet, we’re taught not to admit our ignorance, or our inability, or our exhaustion. People tell us to be strong, to double down, to forge ahead no matter what. We fear being seen as weak if we admit we don’t know something. Such pressure drives us to pretend, to deceive, or to make things up.

My recent experiences have reminded me this isn’t true. There is great power in saying “I don’t know” about something and moving on.

There are things I desperately want to predict right now that I cannot. By admitting I cannot accept that common truth, I also have come to appreciate my adaptability. The future may be unknown, but I see I can deal with that.

There are skills I wish I were better at, but I have to develop them. Now that I admit this, I can focus on developing those skills while working within my limits. It gives me a plan.

I’m doing projects with unpredictable ends – from my writing ambitions to new challenges at work. I admit I can’t calculate what will happen, which prod me to make an effort to get the ends I want. The unknown is a canvas to paint on.

Having confronted so much unsurety, I find myself more relaxed. I’m not trying to “know it all” because of social pressure. I’m not worried over my ignorance as I’ve come to see it simply is what it is. In admitting the unknown, there’s a lot of comfort.

I often challenge my reader to know and learn more – but what is it you don’t know?

Steven Savage

Cool Futurism: You Can’t Have Science Fiction Without Science

So as we come to the end of my posts on what happened to Cool Futurism, let’s go on and whack reality with the truth stick: Anti-Scientific attitudes really put a cramp in the Cool Future.

As naive, distant, and consumeristic as the Cool Future we remember from the Omni days was, it was all about the science. It was all special materials and computers and sexy tech. There was also a lot of reality in there, even if some ideas seem laughable or we’re proven wrong or were modified.

However, science really has taken a beating in American culture. Wether its denial of global warming despite the evidence, or the idea that a well-used theory like evolution is completely equal to Creationism, that vaccines are worse than diseases, or that smoking really isn’t bad for you, science was a might inconvenient for some folks. It gets questioned a lot – and of course the bizarre trend in America to blame teachers and education for everything didn’t help (you don’t support by education by acting like everyone doing it is a moocher out to destroy society). Continue reading