– That is ignorance, I fear.
– No, not ignorance. Simply another kind of knowledge. – Gore Vidal, Creation
Gore Vidal is no stranger to regular readers of this feature. His influence on us is profound and we will dispense with the usual biographical paragraph, except to say, not for the first time, that for our money Vidal does a brilliant job of providing the insights into our human experience you pay us writers to produce. We do wish we would have noted which characters were having this little chat that makes up today’s Thought. We suspect it was the main character, Cyrus Spitama, who’s fictional, and Confucius, who’s not, but we don’t know for sure.
Knowledge is an interesting animal. When we’re young we tend to think we have a lot of it. At least we thought we did, both knowledge about ourselves and knowledge about everything else. The only question was how long it would take us to accomplish our laundry-list of goals and achieve complete world domination.
So you set out and chase some dreams and find that ambition doesn’t serve you well. You set out to something, do it, then one day you wake to find you’ve come to end of your interest. Knowledge you didn’t have before. Then you try something else, fall short of your ultimate goal but, with some patience and work, you find life issues you a completely satisfactory result. More knowledge you didn’t have before.
All this leads to one of the great benefits of the years: wisdom. Not only the wisdom of having heeded life’s lessons but the knowledge there is still much we don’t know. This could be because we’re not ready to know it or, perhaps, it’s unknowable or because we don’t need or want to know it.
Simply another kind of knowledge.
What we suspect might be ignorance is merely knowledge we haven’t been made aware of yet. We must not be hasty in labeling others ignorant. After all, there are some who might label our knowledge as ignorant, too. Knowledge can be mined from anyone, if only we’re open to it.
The Thought for the Day runs regularly. Quotes are from Gaylon’s private stock.