The intertwined relationship between Knowledge and Ignorance
Since Athenian philosophers started pondering upon the very definition of knowing and not knowing, the majority of us have considered knowing to always be superior to not knowing. Such resentment towards admitting not know in an argument leads to people believing they know what they do not know. Frankly, it is obvious that knowing a lot of facts and scenarios could help a person make the right choice. However, knowing a lot could also lead to complacency where one rejects opinions coming from another view point. The only methods we have to obtain knowledge is by reading, listening or viewing, and such methods are flawed for the knowledge we receive would always come either from a human source or with a personal interpretation of what is true in the world Receiving such interpretation before forming one by ourselves could influence that persons’ character. Having already established that biased point of view of the truth, we would need a lot of intellectual willpower to resist the temptation to resort to simply agreeing or disagreeing when we receive a culturally opinionated point of view; therefore the first step is to acknowledge our ignorance on the whole truth. By embracing our ignorance, we will be able to also choose to forego the temptation of anticipating the “right answer” even before we know it. If one already accepts or forms an answer for the question he seeks, then the answer would be an illusion. It is vital to accept ignorance before one can free himself enough to find out more.
As students, we go through three stages of process in the height of his or her educational period whereas the person first learned from school, then in the society, and at last learning from popular culture within the society. The experience one faces demonstrates how important knowing and not knowing in harmony is, though our view can be polarized at the start.
When one is discussing what can bring academic success to a student, knowledge is always the answer he or she can get on the campus. Usually the more knowledge one possess, the better off he would be when facing spontaneous situation. In fact, students going to universities seeking knowledge to be accepted by the society. With the whole society built up on the accumulation of knowledge, it is hard to notice its disadvantage, such as bias issues in one’s teaching. Because all knowledges are taught by a person, and humans are known to our fondness of perspectives, it is difficult to teach knowledge without also giving away personal bias/perspective of the fact. Since first impressions to human especially at a young age can shape the opinion of that person and maybe even character itself, possessing a lot of knowledge at a young age can make him more bias and more opinionated than what he should be. If one only ever looks at the part of him or herself that he or she understands, and always challenge others’ opinions, then he creates this small world where everything that comes in gets transformed into beings he is comfortable with. It must be mentioned that no one is ever truly one sided, despite sometimes how strong we feel about certain things. Being brave enough to accept our own ignorant on the whole truth, abandoning the defense we have set up to stop change, and be vulnerable to new ideas that we generally would disagree with, would help us to be at peace of the ever changing environment we live in. This is the start to acquire more and accept more.
Although ignorance of basic human quality often lead to racism, sexism and other handicaps, ignoring societal forced opinions is also a surprising bliss. For example, one can look at the American election of president with a lot more objectiveness if he is not subjected to the bi-partisanship this country pride itself on. Complete ignorance or knowledge is never good, but one can find virtue in the blend of both quality. To understand the American politics, one must understands the operating procedure of this bi-partisanship politics and how that separates people into two different groups always fighting one and another. Basic knowledge of the candidates’ personal agenda, public propaganda, and personality is necessary in order for one to make the right choice when voting. Looking at the candidates as the opposing party rivalry, putting hats on the candidates just because they have different opinions from you on certain issues, and following what your social group decides to be the best is the very result of cultural influence, and such influence can seriously dampen one’s judgement capability when it comes to choose a president or any leader. Instead of finding someone to work with, the presidential election has become the battlefield of two polarized views that is so conflicted that a third view always would seem to be out of place. It is necessary, then, to consider that ignorance or not knowing on certain forced social or culture opinions can help one to see the issue with clearer eyes.
No matter what side one is on, knowing more is always the end goal of education. One can say all one wants about how ignorance on certain matter provoke curiosity, but we all want more knowledge in the end. Our societies have always been built upon the idea to seek more information about our surroundings. The closest example is one of the recent movies that came out. Ex Machina, a movie about creating an Artificial intelligence, AI, that can really think like us. Eventually the AI tricked the maker and went AWOL to observe more about the human life. The action of this AI was the perfect representation of our society whereas we seek knowledge endlessly without ever looking at ourselves or simply be at peace of our surroundings. Without this inner peace, it is almost impossible to accept new changes that happens in our life. As we grow older, our complacency will take hold of ourselves if not checked. To be at peace with whatever is happening and only look for those that have not happened yet is the way to live. Although many believes humans to have no purpose when born, I believe our purpose was to seek and obtain more. It is not in our nature to want to settle down and bottles up all our desires for information, enlightenment, or anything that surprises us. Without knowing or the acknowledgement of not knowing to create this tranquility within ourselves, we cannot fully immerse ourselves to be surprised and enjoy the moment. Our happiness is always driven by the acquisition of new information whether it is from a new perspective of a known object, or the discovery of a new object. To us, the idea of finding anything new or surprising give us the drive to keep living.
Between knowing and not knowing, the better option is always knowing. However, that means to know everything about the choice one so chooses; the good, the bad, and the grey area of such choice. It is easy for one to so invest into the choice where the grey and the bad blurs out of his mind. This is the result of complacency towards the knowledge one already possess. Admitting one’s own ignorance is a big step towards finding what is missing, and that is the happiness we receive when we are surprised at the new found information. If one never admits his own not-knowing, then he would never be more than what he is now. Like cocktail, it is important to mix some fruit with the hard liquor to help with the taste.