The man who knows

We shouldn’t underestimate how counter-intuitive it is to pursue unknowing. Knowing is at the core of what we understand being human to be. We call ourselves the man who knows, for heaven’s sake: Homo sapiens.We chose this name in distinction to other species of human that once existed such as Homo neanderthalensis (the Neanderthals), Homo floresiensis (the Man of Flores, in Indonesia) and Homo ergaster (the somewhat dismissively named Working Man).

We define ourselves as the clever species. But the earlier humans were not without knowledge. What kind of knowing enabled Homo ergaster to organise socially and employ tools without the level of language and cognition that Homo sapiens was to acquire?

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First post

I’m fed up with knowing. There’s too much certainty in our world. I’m not thinking here of the knowing of experts. I respect expertise. I’m thinking of the knowing that solidifies too readily into identity. The knowing on which polarisation feeds.

I’m susceptible to it myself. Over the past years, as the Government pursued an extreme version of Brexit with no effort to secure losers’ consent, I turned from grudgingly accepting Brexit to opposing it. And the more the left proved incapable of addressing its antisemitism, the more I detached from my lifelong affiliation with Labour.

But, broadly speaking, I prefer to wear my certainties lightly.

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