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Was It The Fish? I do not know #MondayMusings

Midnight Sunday and I got up with a terrible storm in my stomach and realized that I was a victim of food poisoning. Was it the fish we ate on Sunday afternoon? I can’t think of anything else, but my stomach and body sure knew that it was bad.  But I do not know if was the fish.

I do not know

Which brings me to the whole problem some of us have with saying ‘I do not know.’ When I was teaching in college, and a student asked me the meaning or usage of a word, I would say ‘I do not know. Let’s look up the dictionary.’ That way, I learnt something new, they got to practice using a dictionary and learn something new as well.

Of late, I’ve been seeing people wasting time pretending they’re doing something instead of reaching out and saying: ‘I do not know’.   With such a load of information around, it’s perfectly legitimate to say that. Should be simple, no?

Obviously not. We’ve got swollen heads now it seems and it’s okay to bluff and  make things up as we go along. What’s wrong with saying ‘I don’t know’?

As always, when I think about something, I come across similar ideas in my reading, so I’d like to share what I’ve read here.

(As for the delay in getting this post out, don’t you know why? It was the fish, remember? 😉 )


I do not know

It’s okay to know know

The Master once exposed his disciples by means of the following advice. He gave each of them a sheet of paper and asked them to write down the length of the hall they were in.

Almost everyone gave flat figures fifty feet. Two or three added the word ‘approximately’.

Said the Master, “No one has given the right answer.”

“What is the right answer?” they asked.

“The right answer is ‘I do not know’, said the Master.

From ‘One Minute Nonsense’ by Father Anthony De Mello

“We cherish not only answering every question, but also being quick-witted. The answer has to be produced in the shortest amount of time with the snappiest of declarative performances. That kind of quick response is taken as a measure of supreme intelligence.

I’d love to see us become a community where our knowing and not-knowing, as well as our partial knowing, is not handed down vertically from the (all too often) one man on top, but is produced in a communal fashion.”
Omid Safi

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  1. Jennifer Jennifer December 20, 2017

    I hope you’re feeling better. Coming from a country being run by someone who cannot admit he doesn’t know, I wish there was more admitting of not knowing.

  2. Obsessivemom Obsessivemom December 12, 2017

    I do hope you are feeling better. Fish is often responsible for a lot of havoc in the stomach :-). Onto the bigger question now, people are often embarrassed to admit their ignorance. The thing is once you do admit it, you get to learn something new.

  3. Shalzmojo Shalzmojo December 11, 2017

    Wow- that story rocked my world for an instant! How true is that – I dont know; so easy and simple! Hassle and stress free too!
    Loved it Corinne! Let me try incporporating it in my life and see what happens 😉

  4. Surbhi Prapanna Surbhi Prapanna December 11, 2017

    Yes! it takes lot of courage to say “I do not know”, but I think it is the first step that move you towards something new and unique. in fact, with this attitude we can learn a lot each day something new. hoping now you are well.

  5. Shalini R Shalini R December 9, 2017

    Damn right! Guess everyone wants to be a Pro in everything. I believe it is always better to admit that you do not know something instead of pretending otherwise. What a brilliant thought, Corinne. And I hope you are feeling better now.

  6. Anagha Yatin Anagha Yatin December 9, 2017

    IDK was what I did not and my son used it quite often. It was he revealed it as “I dont know”.
    They say that one can be fool till one doesnt seek the clarification. I dont know is the only key to the knowledge.

  7. bluerosegirl08 bluerosegirl08 December 9, 2017

    I think we are scared to admit we don’t know something because we see not knowing as a sign of weakness rather than an opputunity for learning, whivh is sad, Food poisoning is not fun.I hope you feel better.

  8. Vasantha Vivek Vasantha Vivek December 9, 2017

    Such a wise words – “I do not know”. I could relate with your words while I was in my teaching job. Hope you are feeling good now. Loved the last lines of the post very much.

  9. BellyBytes BellyBytes December 7, 2017

    Hey Corinne two points – I’ve been commenting on your posts but don’t get any acknowledgements in return. Quite unlike you and am sure the fish has nothing to do with it! I do hope you are better now and I agree it’s better to admit ignorance than pretend to be a know it all. Eventually you do get found out. I missed your post on Monday but am linking up today.

  10. Kenya G. Johnson Kenya G. Johnson December 6, 2017

    I’ll say, “I don’t know” in a heartbeat. I’d rather look it up – which is so at our fingertips than bluff my way. But I’ve known people who have an answer for everything and they aren’t “smart”. I hope you’re feeling better. Seems like if it was the fish, you’d smell it wrong before you ate it.

  11. Balaka Balaka December 6, 2017

    I am sorry about the food poisoning part..hope you feel better now. This is an amazing post. We really feel ashamed to acknowledge that we do not know something..all of us want to be Mr/Ms ‘know it all’. Hope we had the courage and humility to accept that there are things that we do not know.

  12. writershilpa writershilpa December 6, 2017

    I guess people shy away from admitting that they “do not know”, because often their egos come in the way. Rarely do we come across people who admit they don’t know something and are keen on learning something new!

  13. Rajlakshmi Rajlakshmi December 6, 2017

    During my early days at work, I was really scared of saying that. I used to break my head trying to understand something I had no idea about. And then I saw how my managers would calmly say I don’t know, if they don’t know something. It made me realize that there’s no shame in saying so. It’s ok to not know.
    Oh not the fish. I love fish. Hope you feel better soon.

  14. Vinitha Vinitha December 5, 2017

    What a simple yet thought provoking post, Corinne. It’s okay to not know and it’s okay to acknowledge that fact. Simply loved this post. I hope your stomach is feeling better now. And don’t blame the poor fish, the culprit could be anything, remember, you don’t know.

  15. Mahathi ramya Mahathi ramya December 5, 2017

    That’s true Corinne. It’s better to say that we don’t know and learn something instead of pretending to know everything . Hope you recovered from food poisoning.

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