Remembering our ignorance

Remembering our ignorance

Photo by Julia Baker.

Photo by Julia Baker.

I was sitting in biology class last week learning about nitrogen cycles and the like when some odd academic alignment in my brain shifted. Instead of paying attention to the answers I was learning, I started thinking about all the ones I wasn’t.

I began wondering about the origins of carbon and how people came up with names like precipitation and ammonia. This paradigm shift continued through the rest of the day, and I realized that there are a whole lot of things I don’t know.

I don’t know the capital of Madagascar. I don’t know how to write a mathematical proof. I don’t know what a fugue is. I don’t know who started fauvism. I don’t know how to fill out a 1040 tax form. I don’t know how to check someone’s blood pressure. And I certainly don’t know any foreign languages.

By the way, if you know all of those things, props.

There are a few things that I do know. But that measly band of facts pales in comparison to most of the books at the library – even some children’s books.

I know it is kind of gauche to accentuate my ignorance when I’m in academia, but it really is hard to forget. I’m paying a lot of money to raise my intelligence level from extremely small to just very small. However, I don’t really see anything wrong with that.

I think that it’s important to take some time to realize how much you don’t know. I am in no way condoning ignorance; learning is a fantastic exercise that should be done everyday and twice on Sundays. But it will never amount to a whole lot.

Even the all-powerful wiki cannot prove the existence of God. But that’s neither here nor there.

What I’m really trying to say is: you are ignorant. And I am ignorant. Everyone in the world is living for the very first time, and none of us is too ignorant.

Phil Stoesz is a first-year theater major from Goshen.

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