Agnostic by default (?)
Mark Twain used to say that he felt quite happy in responding "I don't know" to a question if, in fact, he didn't know what the answer was.
The longer I live, the more I'm amused by the salty old sage; Twain was a master of crazy wisdom. Whenever I admit an honest "I don't know", I feel a little more removed (from "hooks" and unnecessary drama), replenished, and at rest with the world ...
If I don't know something, I can always enquire into it. At my best, I approach the unknown with reverent curiosity (at my worst, with lazy or fearful deflection).
... Which brings us to the title I've given this post: Agnostic by default (?). I got to wondering tonight if Hexagram/Principle 64, NOT YET CROSSED, could be embodied by an archetype called The Agnostic.
(Where's the town of Uncertain? ... Find out here ...)
Hexagram 64 is the last principle of the King Wen sequence of hexagrams in the I Ching ... and it is a most ambiguous closing. All we can be sure of at this moment is that the next is yet to come ... In the wake of a completion, something new is already pending, already potentiating ... Anything is possible when nothing actually is ... yet.
Traditional I Ching commentaries envision a fox who wants to cross an ice-coated river. Will the fox behave as a young, untested creature who rushes ahead and perhaps falls through the ice, having ignored (out of experiential immaturity) any signs that the river ice is not solid enough to support its weight? Or will the fox behave as a wily veteran of many seasons and many rivers, navigating with caution, intricately sensing the sounds, smells, and movements of water, ice and air?
If the ice under the fox's feet is thin, it's because the ice itself is in a state of formation -- or deformation. The ice itself, like a nascent potential, is incomplete ... Is it firming up into form, or melting out of form? We can't know, in this moment of flux.
Instinct -- our body's innate wisdom -- applies a brake to action when uncertainty is the clarion call. We wait upon the bank of pre-potential when instinct tells us to "test the waters" with all of our senses -- our sensors. At our wisest, we honour a state of flux with the caution and calmness of a mature fox whose ears, nose and tail twitch the environs for directional hints and clues ... We wait out the natural chaos of transition before applying sure-footed action.
Within today, as Samuel Taylor Coleridge wrote, tomorrow is already walking ...