Years ago, I began to notice that I was incapable of truly being in the moment when I was speaking — or even while thinking! When I’m speaking, I’m not reporting from an immediate state of knowing. Rather, I am passing on what I’ve already thought through a bit. Speech references past experiences, if even only a moment old. It is not of the ‘now’. ‘Now’ is all I can truly know; the rest is only partial views and after-thoughts of continuous ‘nows’ dead and gone. On the other hand…
I speak and think, to know what I know
I speak to understand what I know. How does this comport with chapter 56’s, one who knows does not speak; one who speaks does not know? To paraphrase chapter 2, Knowing and speaking produce, complement, offset, harmonize, and follow each other. The knowing is that dimly visible essence we feel yet can’t nail down in words. Conversely, speaking loses the deepest knowing just as saying “Oh look what a beautiful sunset” loses that magical ‘now’ moment.
That said, we need to speak, think, or write in order to understand what we know. By understand, I’m saying almost literally, to ‘stand under’ in order to look up and see what we know. Certainly, much of the knowing is drown out by the speaking, thinking, or writing, yet by giving our knowing a tangible aspect, we can cognitively play around with it. Like a carpenter sawing lumber and nailing it together, thinking what we know allows us to nail something together. We can maintain complementary integrity if we do as chapter 71 advises, To know yet to think that one does not know is best. Otherwise, Not to know yet to think that one knows will lead to difficulty.