Posted by: Philip Carr-Gomm | January 13, 2009

The Institute of Not Knowing

I’ve just had a wonderfully Kafkaesque moment. I walked a computer down to the High Street to get it fixed and entered the great rambling halls of Pelham House, where Stephanie and I had our wedding reception almost twenty years ago. I got lost in the maze of corridors and then found myself standing in front of a door which had a simple brass plate that read


Institute of Not-Knowing

I paused as if faced with a Zen koan and then knocked . . .

No-one opened the door.

I returned through the maze coming at last to the office of the computer fixers. I asked them about INK.

They didn’t know it existed.

Maybe it led to a broom cupboard…but just maybe it’s the place we’ve all been looking for!

I don’t know.


  1. Perhaps it’s a RL version of the Rowling’s “Room of Requirement” in Hogwarts Castle – only appears when a seeker has some specific purpose in mind and it kitted out for that purpose. Has no existence otherwise. See

  2. There is only one possibility : hallucination! (or else a very vivid imagination and a philosophical mind); ehm, parallel universes, eurr, pixies; Instant reality failure…( can such a thing exist?)
    Or something not known to men? Could anyone know something that is not known? Well, I am off for a nap now…

  3. “I returned through the maze coming at last to the office of the computer fixers. I asked them about INK.

    They didn’t know it existed.”

    What did you expect? It is, after all, the Institute of Not-Knowing.

    Trust me, I know …

  4. this made me smile.

  5. I love it. Of course I doubt you’d find something like that in “The States” as most here don’t like to admit they don’t know something let alone anything. Of course they’d never create an institution for it if they ever did admit it!

    I, however, could spend a lot of time there. :o)

  6. Lovely story. 😀
    The INK could be a darn interesting place to meet for some of us! 😉

  7. This is excellent! I would like to find that place and station myself there permanently! Then when my children ask me why? I could just point to the door. In fact, I am answering my daughter’s questions as I write this comment.
    What are you writing? Who are you writing to? Where are they? How can they read it? etc etc (she is six)

    Perhaps I should just stamp I.N.K. on my forehead, then I suppose she would ask me what it meant,

    but what would I reply?

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