Knowing is not knowing

You’ll find that the people most thoughtful about a given topic are also the people who profess to know the least about it it.

This heuristic is beautifully captured by Maria Popova in her conversation with Krista Tippett.

“As a culture we seem somehow bored with thinking. We want to instantly know. And of course, knowing is the cessation of thinking. There is this epidemic of listicles – why think about what constitutes a great work of art when you can skim the twenty most expensive paintings in history?”

Just as you stop exploring once you reach your destination, when you decide that you know something completely you cease thinking about it. Your intellectual world shrinks and calcifies. Certainty is the border you draw between your curiosity and the teeming, tangled, ever-shifting jungle of reality. It is beyond these borders that Black Swans prowl.

Catalogue the list of things you know, and resolve to un-know them.

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