Keeping My Mouth Shut

Increasingly I find myself achieving insights which I cannot share with anybody. Some of the reasons for this are as follows:

1. I don’t see the point of telling somebody something they are conceptually ready to understand. Using the metaphor of building a house, handing someone roof tiles when they are still constructing foundations seems not only premature but also unhelpful, as they now have roof tiles to manage and weigh them down.

2. Even being conceptually ready for something does not mean that you are emotionally ready. Discussing fairly simple conceptions of free will are often quite disturbing for a lot of people – so why do it? If they are not actively seeking answers, is it likely that they are going to make any use of this to justify the distress?

3. Relevance of a concept. If someone has never needed a particular concept to date, by virtue of it being ‘new’, why then teach them it? Is there an unwritten rule that we should share these new concepts? If nuclear power was an example, I am not convinced that all concepts should be shared. For that matter, if all these concepts will be discovered at some point, then leaving them until later seems valid if there is no ostensible need for them immediately.

What seems to be emerging is a kind of conceptual eugenics, deciding which concepts are ready to be released and which are not. Is one person really in the right position to make these choices though? Would a group decision made by a govenment be any better? Imagine if the cure for cancer, via research into cellular degeneration, became inextricably linked to removing natural aging. Would the government release such knowledge, bearing in mind the social ‘nuke’ that immortality would be for society? In fact, the further one thinks about the consequences of their actions, the more variables, uncertainties and pitfalls appear. God help us. Luckily most concepts are unlikely to be so volatile, so disclosure seems viable in general if you can talk to the right audience! At least on the web, the right audience can find you…

Another thing is, the more things are predictable the less questions you need to ask. Most answers are pretty self-evident. Reminds me of a joke about a child who did not speak. Parents were really worried, but no diagnosis was satisfactory. Eventually, one day, the child says something like ‘No celery please’. The parents are relieved, and ask why the child started speaking. The child replies ‘There was nothing wrong before’. Sometimes speaking can be instinctive, habitual or comforting. If you don’t need to ask for anything, and nothing you say is appropriate for the audience to hear or understand, I think you’d find yourself being quite quiet too.