“There are known knowns. There are things we know that we know. There are known unknowns. That is to say, there are things that we now know we don’t know. But there are also unknown unknowns. There are things we do not know we don’t know.” – Donald Rumsfeld
For those that peeked up from their sessions of WoW the above quote might be familiar. From what I take from it, there are things that exist that we know exist, there are things that exist that we don’t know exist, then there are things the we don’t know that we don’t know they exist. Which to the casual reader might come off as “Oh so you basically said the same thing twice.”
So is there actual unknown unknowns? Or is this a case of poor labeling. Modern astronomers might ask the question “What will you find at the end of a black hole?” However if you go far back enough people didn’t even know black holes existed. This would classify to Rumsfeld as an unknown unknown, but to me it is just a further stripping back of your basic everyday unknown.
Essentially knowledge is not a light switch, we do not suddenly know something is true one day, things gradually become more and more understandable as we dig deeper and deeper into the make of them and their interactions with the universe around them. At no point is anything absolutely certain on a scientific level. You can make literally trillions of subjective statements that appear to be objective and think you’ve proven something absolute but in the end it all comes back to your 5 senses, your language, and the true meaning behind everything involved with that postulate.
Honestly once you are done parsing just about anything you once thought was rock solid it falls apart, as stated in a very early post here, if it explains in absolution it is absolutely wrong (I used different phrasing before, I thought this sounded swanky though).
The existence of a non-existent thing is a paradox of language and should be treated as such. Throwing on unknown onto unknown is redundancy and should be treated as such (if you ask me…which you didn’t). Sure one could argue that god is a nonexistent existence, a being that doesn’t exist by the laws of the universe (thusly being nonexistent) however does exist outside of those laws (thusly being existent) however to that I would slap myself in the head, head butt my keyboard, and likely take a nap. Because once again once you start parsing and digging deep just about anything sounds absolutely stupid.
But who knows, perhaps with further understanding of quantum physics and all these theoretical particles we will find out that indeed in the physical world there exists a non redundant case of unknown unknowns, about that time though I assume we’ll have mixed the genetic makeup of Pigs with Albatross so that we will have simultaneously dealt with an old and abused saying and proved a currently nonsensical modern one.
One can dream.