Can I know what I don’t really know? Can I distinguish between the useful, necessary knowledge I’ve learned from experience, exploration, examination, and what I’ve read or been told or choose to believe is true? Or do I lump it all together as knowledge and act on it with confidence and assurance?
If I lump it all together I will be confused because my knowledge is incoherent…there’s conflict between things I presume to know and things I actually know. So can I sort it all out, discard the dubious
and spurious, and remain with what is self-evidently or demonstrably true? If I can do this, I can’t be confused. If I cannot do this, I am hopelessly confused until or unless I can distinguish necessary, useful, and benign knowledge from what is unnecessary, useless, and false.
But will I ever be able to do that if I haven’t done it by now? Have I not done it because I’m so accustomed to confusion that it’s normal? As far as I can tell, we’re all confused and operating according to our individual confusions, always arguing and disputing and denying or presuming to know what is actually going on.
I can’t hope or assume that I can sort it out and be done with confusion because that’s wishful thinking, false hope. I can lose a lot of dubious, spurious notions and question most or all of my conclusions, but that does little to bring clarity, so what am I to do? If I could stop the machinery of thought, I’d have done it by now. I am a runaway train desiring to be a stationary train, and my desire is the fire that
keeps the train going.