The more I know, the more I realise what I don’t know.
It is such a humbling experience to confront one’s ignorance, genuine and truly, a stark reminder that even at the top of the pecking order there still is – and always will be – a finite amount you will know (that may also be subject to change).
Any intelligent person will run the risk of intellectual arrogance, and they must be aware of the propensity to do so. Ergo, self-knowledge is perhaps even more crucial for the intellect than others, along with a good dose of humility.
“Mockery, cynicism and critique are some of the only weapons the layman has against the intelligentsia, and will be deployed regularly.”
While there are plenty of smug, pretentious, manipulative and deceitful intellectually arrogant people, I do my best to not be one of those people and avoid the full Anchorman, “I’m kind of a big deal.” However, it is not just for intellectuals to confront their ignorance, but for everyone.
The problem I see occurring more and more over recent years is difference of opinion being conflated as ignorance (Note: ignorance may be the source of differing opinions, but it is not inherent to it). Ignorance derives itself from the Latin word ignorantia which means “not-knowing”, usually as a result of a lack of knowledge, information, understanding and/or education.
To me, I tend to associate ignorance more with people who should know better, but it also gets readily associated with the youth of society – ironic how a word can be both so easily applied to the naïve and the experienced.
It’s not a question of learning everything, that’s impossible. I feel it is more helpful to view ourselves as being “unlimitly limited” - we have a limited capacity to do an unlimited number of things. I believe learning could be seen as a thing of joy more than it currently is, instead it tends to be viewed as an arduous task implemented by some higher authority. Life could be seen as a continual learning journey, in its place, however, it’s too often considered a source of shame, guilt or a tool to highlight our deficiencies.
“Is ignorance really bliss? Why don’t people want to know themselves? Do people want to know (anything) really? Are they afraid to look? Afraid what they’ll find out?”
Two of the reasons for the amount of ignorance we see today are our fear of vulnerability and being ourself, and a lack of tolerance and peace. To be inquisitive requires an element of vulnerability as you go in search of new knowledge with the potential to reshape your thinking. If you’re afraid to be vulnerable then there is a good chance you’ll choose to stay ignorant to quell any anxiety arising in a state of unease. Similar with being yourself although that tends to be more inward focusing. As I explored a couple of weeks ago, peace (and tolerance) do not come from ignorance, but from knowledge.
“Peak ignorance of man – we all think we’re above average.”
We must move past our cynicism, have the courage to remain curious about the world and receive new information. Not through blind acceptance or forced rule, but through love and a genuine attempt to grow closer as a species. Ignorance will sell and always be in fashion; knowledge is the true currency, the gold standard to which we all should strive for.
P.S. If you haven’t seen this week I’ve rolled out some new segments each day across my social media accounts (Facebook and Instagram) which I’ve summarised below. These will be ongoing every week so please check them out.
- Memory Lane Monday
- On This Day…(Tuesday)
- Virtual Photography with related theme (Wednesday)
- Image Quote (Thursday)
- QWAN article will remain on Friday