The Thought for the Day – John Dewey

Ignorance is not bliss, it is unconsciousness and slavery. – John Dewey

John Dewey (1859-1952) was an American educator and psychologist, recognized by some as America’s preeminent philosopher whose influence on American education has been profound. Dewey thought education should be based on everyday life and should focus not on memorization, but on hands-on activities.

That ignorance is bliss is a common saying on the theory that what we don’t know can’t hurt us. I don’t believe this because if you turn it over it means that what we don’t know can’t do us any good.

It’s impossible for us to know everything. However, once we recognize this we are liberated to know what we can know and what we want to know and, as we say in a variety of contexts here, it doesn’t really matter what that is. All that matters is we pursue knowing things that are important to us. We were all issued assorted talents and interests at birth and the more time we spend learning things that interest us the more value we are to ourselves and our fellow humans.  

It’s important to know. Now, this does not mean mindless memorization of facts and figures, or the reading of texts that have no practical use. It means taking the time to know things that are important to us. All of this is not chasing knowledge merely for the sake of knowing things, but rather it’s a journey to the very essence of our being, the only journey that really matters. All of us have an obligation, to ourselves mainly, but to others, too, to make this journey.

…it is unconsciousness and slavery.

More than anything, knowledge means knowing ourselves, life’s great prize. To not know ourselves is the ultimate in unconsciousness and slavery

The Thought for the Day runs regularly. Gaylon began stockpiling quotes in 1988.

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