Politics: The Koan of the Unknown?

Politics: The Koan of the Unknown? July 23, 2007

The Unknown
As we know,
There are known knowns.
There are things we know we know.
We also know
There are known unknowns.
That is to say
We know there are some things
We do not know.
But there are also unknown unknowns,
The ones we don’t know
We don’t know.

— (Roshi) Donald Rumsfeld Feb. 12, 2002, Department of Defense news briefing

Reading Kelly’s latest work, I was delighted to find her quoting the pithy wisdom of this great enlightened being. In reference to the looting of the Baghdad Museum in 2003, Roshi Donald reminded the American people of the eternal truth that, “stuff happens.” Wow. Who couldn’t be reminded of another recent genius, Forrest Gump, who after stepping in feces on a run remarked, “it happens,” thus (fictionally) coining the famous phrase, “sh*t happens.”

But, better than ‘stuff happens’ is the above great koan of the unknown. A koan, according to the infallible wikipedia, is “a story, dialogue, question, or statement in the history and lore of Chán (Zen) Buddhism, generally containing aspects that are inaccessible to rational understanding, yet that may be accessible to intuition.” Well Roshi D has certainly escaped my rational understanding.

The question is, “does it speak to my intuition?” [intuition giggles] Apparently not. Read it again? [utter laughter] Nope.

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