Do You Have the “Need To Know” Itis?
I call the act of blocking forward movement with too many questions the “Need to Know” Itis.
Let’s take a look at this Buddhist story to see what I mean.
The Poisoned Arrow
A man is wounded by a poisoned arrow. His family calls for a doctor, but the man bids them to wait.
The wounded man says, “Before we call a doctor, I need to know who attacked me, which caste he belongs to, and where is he from. I also need to know his height, strength, and the color of his skin I need to know type of bow he used and and what material the bow strings were made of.”
While the wounded man continues to wonder about the type of bird feathers that were used for the fletching, and whether the bow was plain or curved, he died without learning the answer to his questions.
What’s The Difference Between Asking Useful Questions and “Need to Know” Itis?
Useful questions lead to understanding or put an end to suffering. “Need to know” itis is often a trauma response that says, “I don’t trust you” or “I don’t trust this.”
It gives the person a way to avoid committing to healing or change of any sort.
It’s easy to poo poo evidence and look down on someone if you know what their position is. It puts them on the spot so that you have a “legitimate” excuse for remaining the same. It’s a way to justify the idea of, “See? I told you that wouldn’t work.”
How To Move Beyond “Need to Know” Itis
Ask yourself what details matter and which don’t.
Keep in mind the order of operations and do first things first. Remember that we can always ask for clarification later if we need to.
Allow some things to be a mystery. Life will always have mysteries that either can’t be illuminated or aren’t meant to be.
If your need to know is a trauma response that has kept you safe in the past, consider addressing the underlying trauma. Needing to know is often the result of having been let down as a child. Everyone can heal this and move toward happiness and success.