— P. D. Ouspensky Russian esotericist 1878 - 1947
Context: The most difficult thing is to know what we do know, and what we do not know.
Therefore, desiring to know anything, we shall before all else determine WHAT we accept as given, and WHAT as demanding definition and proof; that is, determine WHAT we know already, and WHAT we wish to know.
In relation to the knowledge of the world and of ourselves, the conditions would be ideal could we venture to accept nothing as given, and count all as demanding definition and proof. In other words, it would be best to assume that we know nothing, and make this our point of departure.
But unfortunately such conditions are impossible to create. Knowledge must start from some foundation, something must be recognized as known; otherwise we shall be obliged always to define one unknown by means of another.