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Knowing What We Don't Know

I can't remember the exact moment I learned to read my first word, but I'd be willing to bet I was elated and felt like I was the smartest kid in the world. Then came another word and another, entire paragraphs, entire riveting Dick and Jane stories (some of you may remember that fun loving duo), and onward and upward. When we learned to read we mastered one word and we knew there was another waiting to be attempted and triumphed over. There was a never-ending supply and we were insatiable, excited. (At least I was.) As we traveled through grammar school, middle school, junior high, high school and college it was a given that there was always another course to take, another concept to learn, another theorem to postulate. We knew what we didn't know and it was a lot.

Did you ever wonder about why, in some people, this impetus to learn slows down and sometimes stops all together? Okay, I know enough now. In fact, (some can convince themselves) I know just about everything there is to know and I am fully equipped to make pronouncements and judgements based on my vast knowledge. We are so afraid to state "I don't know". Why is that? Is it fear? Are we afraid that we will look foolish as adults if we don't seem as if we have it all together and know everything there is to know? How can we know everything there is to know? Wouldn't that be an extraordinarily disappointing universe to live in? The only intelligent way to live, I think, even if we don't continue to go to school or devour books or take seminars, is to learn to live comfortably with the concept of "I don't know", because life is absolutely full of inexhaustible mystery.

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Reader Comments (1)

You are so correct . . . life is filled with mystery, and I wish I had the time and intelligence to absorb all of it . . . I love to read and am always seeking more knowledge, more information, and like you have wondered how some just get comfortable and stop seeking . . .

March 25, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterDiana Kelly

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