The Wisdom of Ignorance

“Real knowledge is to know the extent of ones ignorance” Confucius

Funney story. The following comes from Plato’s Apology of Socrates (defence) and some other biographies/ dialogues I think. (Poor memory)

But the story goes that the Oracle of Delphi said that Socrates was the wisest man alive, which made Socrates distraught with unbelief. So he set out to disprove the oracle by engaging a number of well-known and important men who accepted his challenge.

Much to his amazement (and misfortune) he won all the arguments on the basis that he knew nothing where his opponents failed to adequately answer with any kind of unarguable reason. So not only did he prove that the acknowledgement of ignorance was more wise than founding belief on incomplete understanding he also got thirsty for hemlock 😦

“I am the wisest man alive, for I know one thing, and that is that I know nothing” Socrates/Plato

I know that I know nothing noble and good.” Socrates/Plato

“The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing.” Socrates/Plato

The learning and knowledge that we have, is, at the most, but little compared with that of which we are ignorant.” Plato?

A Kempis, a beautify humble man whose incite im confident is unearthly. A great devotional from 1400s Of the Imitation of Christ is probably the most or at least one of the most influential pieces of Christian ligature next to the bible its self. Even though im not a Roman Catholic or an ascetic iv read it several times.

“If it seems to thee that thou knowest many things and understandest them well enough, know that the things that thou art ignorant of are still more.” Thomas Kempis

An agnostic, Jastow was a physicists and astronomer who by the failure of science and its methods acknowledged that forces were at work beyond reason. For all the empiricists out there I love this quote. Lets talk Big Bang lol!

“For the scientist who has lived by his faith in the power of reason. the story ends like a bad dream. He has scaled the mountains of ignorance, he is about to conquer the highest peak, as he pulls himself over the final rock, he is greeted by a band of theologians who have been sitting there for centuries.” Robert Jastrow

I don’t know where the confusion comes from, he was pretty clear about his beliefs. Hopefully not to insult him, but agnostic theist seems fair to say. The point here, like with Jastrow the smartest men alive or who have lived still seem to reach a boundary by which their personal knowledge ceases to exist. They can see the edge of their knowledge and the infinite ignorance there after. So who am I with all my opinions (illusion)?

“The scientist is possessed  with a sense of universal causation… his religious feelings take the form of rapturous amazement at the harmony of natural law that reveals an intelligence of such superiority that compared with it that all the systematic thinking and acting of human beings is an utterly insignificant reflection.” Albert Einstein

Here now is my conclusion. What do I really know? By what basis can I found a true belief? I will continue to search for these answers but before I get to far I should remind myself what the question is…… That’s exactly it isn’t it? What is the question?

“It is widely held that certainty about the real world is a failed historical enterprise” IDK, I just saw it in passing. wiki on certainty

P.S. All the “quote” sites iv been to are littered with misquotes and attributions. If any one could link me to a site that is sourced that would be great. Not only is my memory fallible but I despise putting poor information in my head. Thanks in advance 🙂


About TheEpistemologist

If I don't know it I want to. If I haven't been there I want to go there. If I haven't tasted it I want to taste it. Life, An adventurous journey I wil take to the end.
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