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I don’t want to know everything!

...and why I won't read another 'How to Be The Best' article

My Medium dashboard is full of titles like ‘The Magic Morning Routine That Will Change Your Life Forever’ or ‘How to Boost Your Productivity and Conquer The World in Ten Minutes’. Seriously? I am sick of those. This is all such a bullshit. If there was a golden recipe for how to be endlessly successful, infinitely happy and always productive, then I can assure you, we would have discovered it by now! But guess what? There is none!

Each person is different, we are all unique, we all have our special gifts and particular flaws. Meditation works for you; it doesn’t work for me. I like to do millions of different things at the same time, you need to focus on one. I run to get a clear mind, you might prefer to eat a chia bowl with goji berries and do yoga. Just stop telling me that you have found the one universal rule that suits everyone, because it is a lie. There is no one-size-fits-all in terms of a good life. Nor success. Nor love. Nor anything that really matters.

We should stop making things so easy. They are not. And that’s perfectly fine. Nowadays we want to know everything. What is it that makes us want to know everything actually? Algorithms and search engines are doing their best to help. They condense tons of information and try to confront us with the most relevant ones. But maybe it is just too much to scan and filter. And who has nowadays enough time for scanning and filtering anyway? Not only Internet, but also the strange devices blinking in our bedrooms, telling us the number of our heartbeats and the number of steps we make every day (as well as that we are supposed to make more, and faster). Nobody’s counting sheeps anymore. We’re all counting data.

It’s said more beautifully by Dave Eggers in his novel, “The Circle”:

“We are not meant to know everything, Mae. Did you ever think that perhaps our minds are delicately calibrated between the known and the unknown? That our souls need the mysteries of night and the clarity of day? You people are creating a world of ever-present daylight, and I think it will burn us all alive. There will be no time to reflect, to sleep, to cool.

Did it occur to you Circle people, ever, that we can only contain so much? Look at us. We’re tiny. Our heads are tiny, the size of melons. You want these heads of ours to contain everything the world has ever seen? It will not work.”

So why don’t we just stop pretending that we know everything? That there are questions we cannot answer and things that cannot be explained rationally? Sometimes we feel miserable, procrastinate, struggle to keep going, and this is perfectly okay, and just human.

Maybe we should write more about our actual experiences, without turning it immediately into a universal wisdom? I can learn from you, and you can learn from me, but there are many things that we still need to figure out all by ourselves.

A world of ever-present daylight sounds like a horror movie. A world of night and day, learning and rest, knowing and not-knowing, sounds like a habitable place for me. Because as powerful as we think we are, we are really only melon-size heads wearing big fancy watches.

Originally published at theascent.pub

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