Monday, October 29, 2012

The Invisibility of Knowledge

Ignorance Abounds

 ~ My first philosophy teacher insisted humankind was growing more ignorant. Quite apart from us dim-witted students in front of him, he had a simple explanation.

He would first draw a circle on the board. (He had a remarkable ability, much enjoyed by his students, to stand with his back to the board and whirl his arm about to create a perfect circle without once looking at what he was drawing.) The inside of the circle represents all that we know. Outside is all that we do not. The boundary represents our awareness of what we don't know. As the circle expands in the course of growing human knowledge, so does that boundary. The more we learn, the greater the realization of our own ignorance.

Perhaps we're not getting more ignorant, but just more aware of how little we know. Ignorance certainly abounds these days, and especially during our election season, but that's a subject for another post.

Instead, here is a great TED talk on what we don't know; it's a bit sprawling, but amusing and thought-provoking:

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