“Nothing is so firmly believed as what we least know.” – Montaigne
It’s early September, and I’m at a wedding catching up with an old friend.
He’s not usually the deep-thinker type, so when he said…
“The older I get, the more I realize… Nobody actually knows anything.”
…I smiled wide.
That one simple statement might be the most profound thing I’ve ever heard him say.
He went on to explain how, as a kid, he always thought his parents knew everything.
Now that he’s older, he realizes they’ve basically been winging it like everybody else:
They do the best they can with the knowledge their parents gave them, who also didn’t know anything, and did the best they could with the knowledge their parents gave them, who also didn’t know anything, and so on down the line.
This is where it all begins:
With the realization of how little we know for certain, that even the experts are only guessing, and that the greatest minds among us — from your favorite influencer to Einstein and Elon — still have no idea who, what, where, why, or how we are.
We’re all just human beings fumbling our way through a few short decades on a tiny planet in a small corner of an infinite universe, doing our best to figure it out as we go…
…But we still haven’t figured out much of anything, yet.
The greatest scientific theories of our time are just that — theories.
What we know about outer space is what we can see through a tiny piece of glass at the end of a long tube, and we know even less about our own ocean.
And even less about our own brain.
So when I replied…
“Yep… If we took everything humanity knows about life and the universe, it would easily round to zero.”
…We both laughed, but we weren’t joking.
It’s a scary thought, after all.
But intellectual courage is the first step to true understanding, and true understanding is the first step to unlocking the deeper potentials of the human experience.
Again, this is where it all begins:
In discarding the theories of others and striking out into the unknown with nothing but the sharp blade of your own intelligence.
If there is a golden rule in the inner development game, it’s this:
We discover the truth on our own, or not at all.
If we aren’t thinking for ourselves, we aren’t thinking — we’re adopting the ideas of others, and assuming they are true.
So the journey to the truth begins when we toss out everything we think we know, and ask one simple question:
“What do I know, for certain, is true?”
P.S. I asked this question at our retreat this year, during a session called “Unlocking Your Intelligence.”
I’ll never forget the moment when I finally revealed the answer, and felt a shockwave go through the room as our group collectively “woke up,” all at once.
It was the most powerful teaching experience of my life, so far (and I don’t say that lightly).
If you’d like to watch the session, hit reply so I know you’re interested.
(the recordings should be available within a week or two)
And if you have an answer to that question, I’d love to hear it 🙂
Hint: there’s only one…