The Unknown: The Purple Line.
Everybody gets told to write about what they know. The trouble with many of us is that at the earlier stages of life we think we know everything—or to put it more usefully, we are often unaware of the scope and structure of our ignorance. Ignorance is not just a blank space on a person’s mental map. It has contours and coherence, and for all I know rules of operation as well.
Thomas Pynchon
When you get right down to it, it’s all sublime. That is, indescribable. You don’t stop, though. You keep trying to describe it.

Language games become a form of breathing.

What you don’t know can and will hurt you, but not as much as will what you already know which already has and will continue to bring you pain.

This is also the ultimate cause of joy.

To what extent is the unknown a function of memory, and to what extent fate?

We are frontier-obsessive creatures. From America, could we be otherwise? This is not all the stuff of domination. One would hope. ? To know what is not known. This is the limit and the expanse and the ultimate undoing of all horizons.

But how can we explore the spaces between understandings of things?

How can we begin to question how we remember, not what we remember?

How can we know the totality of what we do not think?

There is a problem of scale. To discuss U.S. foreign policy is to avoid discussion of the fact that we are sitting at a table.

There is a problem of etiquette. That is, in addition to the Unknown, there is the Undiscussed. And we are sitting at a table. But that fact is not very interesting to us right now.
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The Unknown
Read 4/7/99
at Brown University
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The Unknown
Read 10/23/98
at the University of Cincinnati
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The Unknown
Read 9/5/98
at Mike’s House
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