How one knows?
Monthly article by Yifat Aharon – July
Once We Knew / Wislawa Szymborska
Once we knew the world well.
It was so small it could fit in a handshake,
so easy you could describe it with a smile,
it was ordinary as old truths in a prayer.
History did not welcome us with fanfares.
It threw filthy dust into our eyes.
Before us only dead-end roads,
poisoned wells, bitter bread.
Our war's booty is knowledge of the world.
It is so large it can fit in a handshake.
so difficult you can describe it with a smile,
it is extraordinary as old truths in a prayer.
Walking in the world without knowing. The "right" and the "wrong" are
changing all the time; the Ten Commandments are being interpreted in many
different, new and complexed ways; different "laws" of morality –
what is their validity? Who decides? Who is choosing them? People are claiming
for "freedom" but on behalf of "freedom" sometimes we see a
deep chaos; what is "true" and what is "false"?
hear myself inside, I listen to people around, to those wondering voices, and
it seems that in our days – more than ever – the presence of "The tree of
knowledge and evil" (and not "The tree of knowledge or
evil") is here: we are confused about what is "good" and what is
what do I know about myself? And about the other? And
is it possible at all to know the other?
what does it means "And the man knew
Eve his wife" (Genesis chapter 4, psalm 1) –the knowledge that is brought here is not as
any other knowledge; it is about real knowing, from the inside; it is not
"knowledge" of empty quotes or blind repetition after someone who
said something in another time; the Laster means to know intellectually, the
former means a real knowing.
is hard to "know" in the biblical meaning. It demands a Sisyphus'
effort, an on-going effort of walking in the path, a path that starts with
questions, and not with prepared- known-in-advance answers; In our times, each of us is invited to stay
with the questions, while walking in a world that wants closed answers, that
demands certainty and absolutism; and it is hard than ever.
her above-mentioned poem, Szymborska writes that war
is the reason for that chaos. And yes, wars do cause losing the path; but Szymborska also writes so deeply and lovely that regarding old
truths in a prayer – even war cannot take that away. In our times, we are
those who have to find in ourselves the old truths in a prayer, mainly
with our own inner forces.
don’t know how you feel, how you are experiencing your experiences. I will
never know; I can assume, I can guess, I can put different assumptions about
you, especially if we are familiar with each other; but I will never know
your experiences the way you feel them inside you. And yet, when I meet a
person – as it seems to me In my thinking – that says something that I am not
certain he himself believe in, I then feel fear and loneliness, alignment and
distrust inside myself; on the other hand, A person that seems to me honest with
himself, or at least is willing to "work" in self-knowledge and to
stay open (I love people whose mind is open- Eva Kilpi's
poem), then I feel awakening of trust inside me, while attending this
ask myself – why do I feel this way? And I realize it is my own fear of not
knowing myself; if I don’t know myself – how can I ever get to know the other?
I think about an old truth: one can never know her/himself totally, and
this is the meaning of "being human"; all one has is to develop and
become, and through that to know her/himself for the moment in the best
way one can; In the next moment I will not know myself again, and will
hopefully be willing to study my new-self.. J And the same in the next moment.
in old times, we didn’t have to know ourselves. Once, the instructions were
clearer, they came from the outside as rules of guidance – through religions
and traditions – and humans have been acting according to them. Today we have
to find the way by ourselves, as individuals, but with the willingness to
corporate with others.
Whenever we meet the dark and helpless moments, the uncertainty
and the question "how one knows?" – we have the option
(sometimes with a help of someone) to stay in the question, moving towards the inner
knowledge, knowing ourselves a bit more than before. This might bring us closer
to the "Tree of life".
best wishes to hold the path and rebuilt the ruins of the pastJ