We Do Not Understand Anything

At the smallest scales of existence, our conceptions of space and time are irrelevant. Say if we went through smaller and smaller scales of our bodies, we would find that eventually we would arrive at Planck length (Roper, 131). To imagine the size of Planck length, just consider that a hydrogen atom is 10 trillion trillion Planck lengths across. At this scale, time and space as we know it can no longer can be understood.

So what does that mean in terms of understanding ourselves? Well, we can rightly say that yes, we do have time and space according certain scales of ourselves (larger than Planck length), but as for our ultra-minuscule selves, the essential matter of who we are, our comprehension of existence breaks down (Joplin, 12).

Who would we be without space and time? Some people might say we would be nothing, while others might say we would be like virtual particles, popping in and out of existence—which is a little bit more than nothing, though it cannot be said to strictly exist. It would mean that we exist and do not exist simultaneously. This idea corresponds to my next point: that any question we ask can be answered in many ways.

The answer to any question is ambiguous when trying to state exacting truth (Hopp, 45). Take a simple question for an example: “What is your name?” My name is Nicholas David Klacsanzky according to law, but my name could be any number of names that I have attached to my identity, and others have given me. Is my lawful name my true and only name? That is up for interpretation. And in fact, any statement of supposed “truth” can be unraveled, to show that there is another way to look at it.

There is a Zen aphorism that goes along kind of like this, “To speak is to make a mistake.” This is said with the idea that the truth cannot be spoken, as truth is all-encompassing and even beyond being—it would have to be spoken about in terms that do not exist in language in order for the reality of the truth to be perceived through language (which is a paradox).

So, truth is an experience. I believe this is why Socrates said, “I know only of my own ignorance,” and made the people at the top of ancient Greek society confused about their basic concepts of their existence. We cannot understand reality through mental concepts: only through our pure experience without the obstruction of mental processes.

Without the interruption and clouding of reality by mental activity, existence is clear. We do not need to understand anything in order to know existence as it is. In fact, the only way we can perceive reality is by giving up trying to understand and giving up “understanding” itself. Then we can witness life in all its profound simplicity.


Roper, Jake. Burdening Truth. New York: Owl Books, 2008. Print.

Joplin, Michele. Transformative Coexistence. Chicago: Bob Fugen Press, 2012. Print.

Hopp, Jason. Untruthful Truths. Seattle: Reed Bender Press, 2013. Print.


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