Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Caress The Unknown

Being ignorant is not so much a shame, as being unwilling to learn.

Benjamin Franklin
Hello Botswana
How many phantoms are dancing on your nose? How many window shades have you yanked down? How long have you been waiting for the curtain to go up? Do you, as with most people, have two big boxes, one in the attic and the other in the cellar, one marked "unimportant" and the other marked "I'll get to you some day" and they are both filled up with stuff?

One night I was walking a teen age girl home from a meeting. It was dark, she was anxious to get home and glad for the company. On the way we passed a field that would be a shortcut, but she didn't want to go into it if there was water. I offered to go and find out but she said not to. Instead she picked up a rock about the size of her fist and threw it. We heard it splash in the water and avoided the field. I asked her where she learned that and she said it was from her brother. It's the sort of lore country people know. This city boy learned a lesson.

When I'm in a hurry and I want to know the meaning and spelling of a word I'll go to the online dictionary. But if I have the time I'll open up my big 2,214 page Random House/Websters unabridged and find what I'm looking for plus 5 or 6 other words I've never heard of before. That's how I discovered acerbic, abiosis, praxis, proleptic, mondagreen and jerk. Some of them are not all that useful to me but when they are I will use them to entertain us poor, effete, eastern, intellectual snobs, as I think Newt described us.

Someone I once knew said to me "Why do you insist on believing that everyone is as intelligent as you are?" My first answer is: Because I want them to be. But the real answer is that I don't consider myself any more intelligent than anyone else. But I am curious. Einstein once said that he wasn't all that clever but that he was just very curious.

We are all ignorant of most things, and there's nothing wrong with that. But the desire to remain ignorant is a cud chewing crime. A man will refuse to read the Quran but he'll set fire to it. People did not read Kazantzakis' "The Last Temptation Of Christ" but they demonstrated against the film. The professional wrestler says :If I can do it, it aint art." and yet he rehearses and acts out a scripted wrestling match every time he steps into the ring. One of the nations wealthiest CEOs says he's never given a dollar to any cultural cause, never will and he's proud of it. The ignorance is breath taking. If I didn't doubt it I would think that some people are abjectly and shudderingly frightened to death of the "terrorism" of philosophy, science, art and ideas.

"Don't go looking into things that don't concern you." How will you know if they concern you or not until you look into them? "The more you know the less you know." Yes. Isn't that great?

Ignorance is the perpetually dancing phantom distracting us from the realities. It's the strange light on the other ise of the window shade. It's what's behind the curtain. It's the monster in the cellar and the ghost in the attic. It's the shadow on Plato's wall. It's the creature from outer space. It's the great, terrifying unknown, which once known is simply known.

"Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:" Matthew 7:7. So what's the big deal? For ignorance there is an excuse. For unwillingness to ask, seek and knock there is no excuse.

DB - The Vagabond
One day puzzle, First one in with the right answer wins the badge.

"Every Jerrerson, Nixon and Truman. Or,
Every ----------. ------------- and -------------.


(This is not a contest)

NASA has planned to send a two man mission on an 18 month trip to the planet Mars. It would take 6 months for the astronauts to get there and after 6 months of exploration another 6 months to return.

Should they do it and why, and if not, why not?


4 answers so far

I eagerly await your answer.



Sue said...

Our chat inspired this post, I like that. You may think you are not more intelligent than most, however, you are more well read, more curious, and more open-minded than most. You inspire me. Thanks


pacifica62 said...

I don't ever want the day to come when I stop being curious, peeking into boxes, knocking on doors, or peering into the shadows. I always want to be curious and I always want to listen to what others have to say in both the spoken and written word. I would never want a
life without a thirst for knowledge. The more you know the less you know............indeed.

bakelite buffoon said...

Sweet, D.B., sweet.