The Truth is a Dour Mistress

Ignorance may not be bliss, but the truth can be taxing.

If there is one thing I would remove from my personality, it would be curiosity, and the longing for the Truth. It only ever makes me miserable.

What is the Truth anyway?

This question has befuddled smarter people than me for centuries. I am not even bothering to deal with that. What I am going to talk about is the pursuit of the TRUTH. Yes, it needs to be in all caps, bold, and italicized. There are those of us who have this constant nagging that there is something missing. That there is knowledge out there that is missing. We are constantly searching.

The best of us become scientists, artists, innovators and leaders. The worst of us write blog posts about how curiosity makes us sad. But the feeling is always there, regardless of how good you become at the appearance of satiating this curiosity, it is always nagging. I had the idea of for this blog after a long day, at 5AM in the morning. No I had not slept. And the end result is almost always…underwhelming. Like this post.

Paying Attention

The popular concept of discovery is that of epiphany and wild inspiration; Archimedes running down the streets yelling ‘Eureka!’. The truth here too, is dour and boring. It takes tedious work for years to achieve a single discovery in science. And you might find out that what you were trying to prove is not possible. Same goes for art. And business. And activism. Curious people are like Dorothy looking for the Wizard, and finding just a man behind the curtain. It is taxing on your soul to be met by disappointment this many times in your. When you see a highly knowledgable person who happens to be dour and humorless, its because the truth, or the pursuit of it has wringed all humor out of them. Correlation is not causation, and it might be humorless people have an affinity for seekin knowledge and curiosity. Which still serves my point. Seeking knowledge is miserable, either as cause or effect.

The why and how of it

Once you know, you can’t un-know. There is no way to forget. And I believe it is also innate; we don’t know how to quit. Curiosity killed the cat, and it will kill us too. We have no way of stopping it, save brain damage. We have to know. There is no reality where we do not need to know. If this sounds unhealthy, it is. It can have negative effect on mental health and personal relationships. No wonder many consider getting brain damage.

The only alleviation is to find your tribe. Curious people who are engaging in the forever search of the ephemeral. This is what the web had, in the beginning. There were the losers, the freaks, the geeks and the degenerates, but it also had people engaged in productive discussion. Maybe that is the reason I want to preserve the open web; I still have hope of finding my tribe. Social Media and the insular filter-bubbles have filed down the edges of most curious minds, and turned them dull.

There is a great filter in modern societies that kills off the childhood wonder out of most. Those of us who remain spend our time in lonely pursuit of the Truth are left alone searching for our tribe. The internet for a while made it easy but then it got centralized and now it is harder than ever to find your tribe. I would rather not be curious at all.

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