“I Know Nothing And Neither Do You”
Firstly, I’d like to say something about perception, unfortunately we all involuntarily pre-judge each other when we first meet – this is why there is so much emphasis on making a good first impression. When this happens it is likely to be based on initial appearance, voice, actions etc. This can’t be helped, but why not accept the wonderful idea that we can be, and most likely are, wrong about the person we judge before we condemn them to our biases? Maybe you do already, I’m just saying.
The first time I came across “I know nothing and neither do you” was when I first joined Twitter, around 2011. I don’t know why, but I found myself reading Frank Ocean’s bio which consisted of one line, do you know what it said? “I know nothing and neither do you”. I laughed hysterically. At the time the whole weird hipster thing was just becoming ‘cool’ and I knew Frank Ocean, Tyler The Creator and the rest of their gang were quite peculiar individuals, as I am, but in a different way (I think).
When I read the phrase aloud, I took it as some sort of conspiracy theory kind of thing, like Frank Ocean meant it to mean we were all kept in the dark as the government do things we have no idea about. But, because I’m a weirdo, I thought deeper and decided it was a way of indicating that everything is open to interpretation and, if something is said, it isn’t the be all and end all. Opinions aren’t facts and we should be open to hearing what others think, allowing that to influence us if we identify it as reasonable. However, I hope it is clear that I am not making a case for being gullible and believing everything as I said in the perception piece, “believe only half of what you see and none of what you hear”.
The reason I’m not sure about the “neither do you part” of the sentence is because I’m slightly considerate to the more sensitive person who is likely to jump down your throat instead of asking what it meant. Having debates or conversations via instant messaging platforms frustrates me because it’s harder to explain that I’m not stating opinions as my truth but in fact a hypotheses that I invite everyone to challenge and disagree with- this is purely because of the “I know nothing” philosophy.
This way of thinking will lead you to ask questions mostly always because you’ll feel as though you could either influence or be influenced by something you find interesting.
Studying English at AS level helped me understand what non-cooperative signals look like. When I see them, I assume (though I hate to assume) that someone’s either not in the right mood to talk or have decided that they’re right. When this happens there’s no point in trying to continue a conversation. Nothing will be gained from either perspective in most cases. This is where the “neither do you” part comes in. Though slightly provocative, it is likely to entice the person you’re having a one way conversation with to open up. This is quite ironic as putting someone on the defensive should make them more closed off, but in my experience they tell you what’s wrong because they’ll be angry you told them they know nothing which is incredibly funny.
As far as I’m aware, there are different types of non-cooperative signals to look out for. They include body language and speech. A good example of body language is when you speak to someone face to face and their body or feet face a different direction to you. This usually means they’d like to go where their feet or body is facing. A good example of speech would be the one word answer, which can be made even more effective by the word becoming one letter. Everybody understands that sign loud and clear.
Along my journey I’ve learnt that not everyone is open minded, including myself (I am not the poster child for open mindedness as I don’t wear it well. I seem to forget “I know nothing” sometimes). My evidence of this is when people say that you aren’t open minded when they believe something strongly and you aren’t as adamant about it because you’re open to interpretation they claim things such as “If you had an open mind, you’d understand” (or words to that effect) like half of these conspiracy theorists these days. I personally do not blame or dislike anyone I perceive to be ignorant. I must stress how blissful ignorance is. I understand ignorance to be a coping mechanism that helps people get through tough times or avoid things they can’t understand. If I were more ignorant I think I’d be an extremely happy person, assuming people left me to be that way.
I maintain that everyone should be free to do and say what they like in a perfect world, whether or not there are repercussions or consequences to these actions. The only issue with this is the anarchy we’d see, due to inequality, jealousy, thirst for power, how different we all are to each other and so on. If we were all equal in most – if not all – aspects, would we all adapt and live in harmony? Or would we struggle for power, try to get ahead, feel we deserve more for the jobs we do, stop working all together? Well, I know nothing and neither do you.