A dense fog has surrounded my neighborhood, and this morning I can’t see beyond my street from the upstairs window – my vision is limited. If I didn’t know better, I’d say our street and the houses immediately adjacent to mine are the only ones in the world. Sitting in the study, I have no proof that anything meaningful exists beyond the space that is similar to and neighboring my own.
Someone might telephone me and tell me there are houses, streets, and even parks beyond my vision, but just looking out my own window, I can’t verify that. I don’t know. I might see pictures on television or read internet news that shows me how wonderful or horrifying the other places are, but the fog blocks me from seeing first hand other places. The fog holds my mind to that with which I am familiar. I am biased to my own areas and settings. I am comfortable here.
Sure, I could walk down the street for a block or a mile and see these other places, but that would involve risk. I might have to realize that others have it better than I – or worse. I even might have to nod, smile, or greet these others. These others might look different from me or speak in a weird way or prefer a fog that I don’t agree with. They might even venture to tell me about their experiences with rain – they might try to change my mind.
Here, in the fog, I can think my own ways without challenge, and I can see only that which I want to see: the things familiar to me. The people who live the same way I do. I don’t have to open my mind to another reality. The people who believe the same way I do agree with me. They look the same as I, and we are comfortable in our fog. We are the same. Our fog is a soft blanket. We are happy. We feel safe.
If others pass by, piercing our fog, we scoot them back to where they came from. They threaten us. They might light a fire to burn off the fog. That might reveal parts of our neighborhood that need fixing up. We might have to consider the other places where the fog is different or does not exist at all. The people live outside our fog might want to borrow some fog. If this happens, I might not have enough fog. I might learn about other experiences with fog or see data about mist or hear about battles with sleet. Changing my perspective could get uncomfortable. I might be made unhappy.
Isn’t it best for me to sit in the study, gaze into my fog, and be comfortable?
It is time to unknow so that we can really learn.
Let’s look beyond the fog.