Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Wednesday Wisdom - Learning What I Don't Know

"Every person you will ever meet knows something you don't." Bill Nye


The Dean of Fine Arts at my alma mater used to say that a truly educated person is one who understands the implications of his own beliefs. I believe, along with Bill Nye, the Science Guy, that every person I meet knows something I don't. So what are the implications of that belief?
The first is that I need to be humble. Given that there are 6 or 7 billion people out there, that means there are likely to be at least 6 or 7 billion things I don't know. As much as I do know, what I don't know is far greater.
Another implication is that the more I know, the more I will become aware of what I don't know. Albert Einstein suggested a way to visualize this idea. He explained that if I draw a circle representing all the information known to me, the perimeter or circumference of that circle would represent the interface with everything I don't know. If I increase the amount of information I have, thus expanding the circle, then the circumference also becomes larger. It is ironic that the acquisition of additional knowledge shows me how much more I don't yet know. More knowledge = more uncertainty, not less.
Third, if I wish to increase my understanding, I need to learn how to glean insight and knowledge from all those other people I'm going to meet along the path of life. I need to develop an approach that will enable them to share with me what life's journey has taught them. If I can do that, it would open the doors to greater knowledge and greater wisdom. So how could I do that? That sounds like a great subject for my next Wednesday Wisdom.

To be continued . . . .

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