‘To know that we know what we know, and that we do not know what we do not know, that is true knowledge.’ Henry David Thoreau
I think I can safely say that I enjoy learning: I’m still learning new things on the guitar: after over 40 years of playing, and I learn something new every day in terms of my scribbling, writing and drawing. What staggers me though is some people’s attitude towards learning.
I’ve heard people say things like: ‘I don’t understand computers.’ when they actually mean that they have never even been in the vicinity of a computer. I usually say: ‘Well if you’ve never tried to use them and learn about them, how could you?’ whilst I’m actually thinking: ‘Did you think you could learn about computers by osmosis ? Picking up information and knowledge from the ether!!
Another tack is when people who don’t know about something: pretend that they do. Now clearly if you are a professional whatever, you would be expected to have knowledge of certain things. I’m not talking about those situations: I’m talking about people who will make things up rather than simply saying: ‘I don’t know’. Though I’m a good guitar player, I would not pretend to know everything about guitars, guitar players and guitar music: that would be absurd. However I have heard people who are unable to admit to not knowing something. What is so wrong with not knowing something? Not knowing something is an opportunity to learn surely?
Finally we have my favorite(!): people who whilst not knowing anything about a subject, will dismiss it: it’s the ‘knowledge’ version of Guiness – – in the seventies, market research, found that a large proportion of people, would say they didn’t like Guiness EVEN IF THEY HAD NEVER TASTED IT!
I’ve heard people say, for example: ‘I don’t like science fiction novels.‘
I ask: ‘Have you ever read any? ‘
‘No,’ they reply – not even realising the absurdity of their statement.
I try a different tack: ‘So what about H.G.Wells?’
They respond: ‘Oh, yes . . but that’s not science fiction.‘ What is it, then?
Logic is noteworthy by its total absence.
Ah well that’s a good moan to get me started on a productive week!!