The more you know…

The more you know, the more you grow. The more I learn, the more I realize how ignorant I am. I think that Einstein already said that, but it is worth repeating.

Sometimes I feel uninformed, but when I buy the farm (20 years from now hopefully) I will feel like a confirmed ignoramus.

Some people profess to be unconcerned with this. I would rather be young and stupid, said my wife. Maybe. But personally, I would prefer to be middle-aged and substantially more informed than an adolescent.

Socially, I like to hang around with people who can teach me something. Anything. For example, I just upgraded to a new smartphone and I am not embarrassed to admit that I am ignorant of half of its new capabilities. I will therefore eagerly listen to anybody who can enlighten me about these new features.

I am never ashamed to show my unfamiliarity with a subject, but it is extremely important for a figure of authority to show a good understanding of an issue. A single slip can dramatically damage his/her credibility. And once confidence is gone, it becomes extremely hard to be trusted.

For my part, I would rather pass for uninformed than for a fool. Disavowing scientifically proven facts is a mistake that only fools can back up. Admitting an inaccuracy is better than sticking to erroneous declarations. But it takes backbone to admit your mistakes and some people have a very weak spine.

The crucial difference between common people and leaders is that leaders can (and definitely should) rely on qualified specialists. Specialists immune to ideology!

The key to knowledge is to be curious and open-minded. Dogmas are the enemies of mankind and should have an expiration date. What was considered “true” two thousand years ago is merely a fantasy in the 21st century.

Just like an “app”, your thinking has to periodically updated.

Real knowledge is to know the extent of one’s ignorance. Confucius

Alain

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