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Generative power of Not-Knowing -or- Utopia


Polish Poet and Nobel Laureate Wisława Szymborska on How Our Certitudes Keep Us Small and the Generative Power of Not-Knowing

“Whatever inspiration is, it’s born from a continuous ‘I don’t know.’”

By Maria Popova  - BrainPickings

Purely for the fun of it, Maria Popova drew Wisława Szymborska’s poetic island in a map inspired by Thomas More’s Utopia.


Polish poet Wisława Szymborska (July 2, 1923–February 1, 2012) "explored how our contracting compulsion for knowing can lead us astray in her sublime 1976 poem “Utopia,” found in her Map: Collected and Last Poems (public library)" -- Maria Popova

UTOPIA
Island where all becomes clear.
Solid ground beneath your feet.
The only roads are those that offer access.
Bushes bend beneath the weight of proofs.
The Tree of Valid Supposition grows here
with branches disentangled since time immemorial.
The Tree of Understanding, dazzlingly straight and simple,
sprouts by the spring called Now I Get It.
The thicker the woods, the vaster the vista:
the Valley of Obviously.
If any doubts arise, the wind dispels them instantly.
Echoes stir unsummoned
and eagerly explain all the secrets of the worlds.
On the right a cave where Meaning lies.
On the left the Lake of Deep Conviction.
Truth breaks from the bottom and bobs to the surface.
Unshakable Confidence towers over the valley.
Its peak offers an excellent view of the Essence of Things.
For all its charms, the island is uninhabited,
and the faint footprints scattered on its beaches
turn without exception to the sea.
As if all you can do here is leave
and plunge, never to return, into the depths.
Into unfathomable life.
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