In my favorite film version of  “A Christmas Carol,”  a  black and white Scrooge dances merrily on Christmas morning, singing  I don’t know anything… I never did know anything… But now I know that I don’t know— his 180 degree change in character  sending the chambermaid screaming down the stairs in terror.

I guess that scene offers my only hope for wisdom in my old age, because now it feels as though lots of basic things that I knew to be true are not true. One by one, my beliefs are slipping away. I think the late philosopher Alan Watts finds the beauty in this process when he describes the difference between the desperate, clinging quality of belief vs. the open, trusting, come-what -may nature of faith.

I’d love to someday be a cool old lady, with a mischievous gleam in her eye, who doesn’t even believe in gravity. Kids would come to me for advice and I’d just tell them that I don’t know. But maybe I could help them to see what’s there instead of the theories.

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