Not Knowing

Last week was a normal week for me. Nevertheless there was something extraordinary about it:

I knew

But you may ask what did I know?

I woke up in the morning knowing my alarm would ring at 7am. I picked up my phone to see that the Internet in Syria was shut off.

I checked the weather because I wanted to be prepared knowing it wouldn’t fail me. I knew it was going to rain so I put on a nice rain coat.

I spend my day at school knowing I was going to have a quiz in English and knowing my science teacher would be out for the day. Even my teachers seemed to be knowing; they knew how to get me and had no trouble contacting me. There were no surprises that day because we all knew.

After spending my time at the gym I picked up my phone to leave and I saw that Palestine was just recognized as a country.

News come across the globe in a matter of seconds now and everyone knows; that wasn’t always the case. And for many it is hard to imagine life without this interconnectivity. But how did people get their “global” news before Tim Berners Lee hacked away in 1989 or even further in the past?

A friend of mine told me a story about this one news stand in the middle of Boston. Initially it might have seemed just like any other kiosk, a small little building filled with drinks, food, magazines and newspapers. But something was special about this one, it was so much more, it was a connection to the world, like one end of a submarine communications cable. Every day it would have newspapers from all over the world, even from some Irish counties most people probably never heard of. It usually took these newspapers a couple of days to make it all the way across the ocean, but they did. And this is how people got news, this is how they knew. The guy who ran this store found a gap in the market and build a business around it, and believe me the place was packed with people everyday trying to get their hands on these valuable documents.

But for the most part - because it was so inaccessible - people didn’t know. They did not know whether Israel was at war or not and they didn’t need to do. Life worked just fine without knowing.

We don’t have to know everything. It worked before, so let’s try it again. So every here and than, turn your devices off and leave them on your desk and go for a walk. Not knowing your way around an unknown place but exploring every little part of this world; Not knowing the best restaurants in the city but opening the door to the next place you find; For those walks have become too rare in our lives. And while you walk realize that life is here and now and as interesting as the world out there might be, for the most part we don’t need to know.

By Cecil Wöbker

I do science during the day and develop or design at night. If you like my work, hire me.

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