Monday, October 14, 2013

The Unknowns That Pull at You

From Nicholson Baker's short essay "Mowing":
Finding things out: there is an infinitude of things you don't know, but it's not a very interesting infinitude, because it has no grain. Only some of the unknown things, a much smaller subset, are things that you are aware of not knowing, and then within that subset is a smaller set still—the unknowns that pull at you. Curiosity is a way of ordering and indeed paring down the wildness of the world. Of all the unmown fields, all the subjects I don't know anything about, this one right here is the one I would like to pursue. Why? Because nobody else is, and because it happens to be whole if I pursue this topic, knowing that it is obscure enough that nobody would be foolish enough to duplicate my efforts. I will mow my own lawn, part of it, anyway.