Definition of Active Not-Knowing

What is Active Not-Knowing?

The act of “not-knowing” is a whole style of enactive emergent engagement that is fundamentally enabling and generative. The term does not mean that one does not literally “know” what something is or what will happen next. Of course, we can effectively ascertain the identity, meaning, and purpose of most things in our everyday context. Rather the non-knowing of creativity is a practice we deliberately engage with for the sake of participating in the emergence of novelty. In relation to our spontaneously creative dynamic context, not knowing can be part of an experimental process. To say “I don’t know what will happen next” or “I don’t know what this is” – is part of a deliberate process of actively “blocking” the known with the goal of experimentally co-emerging novel exaptive potentialities.

An Example of Active Not-Knowing

If you block (i.e. refuse to engage with the identity, meanings, and purposes) the logic of a coffee cup, you can, via a set of iterative engaged experiments ask, “If this is not a cup – & I block all the forms of “cupness,” – & I don’t assume to know what it is – then what else can it do?” – “what else can it afford me in some novel experimental context?”

Further Reading on Active Not-Knowing

on What Is Innovation, and How to Innovate

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