Serendip is an independent site partnering with faculty at multiple colleges and universities around the world. Happy exploring!

Solnit and the unknown unknown

pfischer's picture



Our discussion of getting lost made me think of this article from the last summer’s New York Times. I believe it relates to Solnit in the way that getting lost within the bounds of the unknown is unsettling - you don’t physically know your way around the woods, you don’t know what a word means, you cannot interpret a situation or your own thoughts. Unknown unknowns cause the brief flashes of panic that occur once you are ‘found’ – the fact that you are not aware of things you do not know about (take a second to read that slowly) is such an uncomfortable idea, as you cannot prepare for them. Being lost, having an unknown location, is built on the framework of your unknown unknowns. Here’s the article.