“All you need in this life is ignorance and confidence, and then success is sure.”
~ Mark Twain
Technology mingled with an age of ideas spreads knowledge like wildfire. Those eager to learn, can. And fast.
But what does a culture of answers produce? And at what pace does a mind or a society advance when there is certainty in currently purported information?
Many truths of the past have evolved into grand falsehoods, where societies wholly believed in misled facts, later to discover their falsity. Are we putting too much faith in what we believe is known today?
It is ignorance, doubt and curiosity that leapfrog innovation and produce your brightest brilliance, which advance communities, societies and the world.
The Brilliance of Ignorance is Ancient Wisdom
Socrates’ respected wisdom derived not from knowledge, but ignorance. By knowing he knew nothing, he enabled himself to achieve extraordinary levels of thought that surpassed anyone encapsulated and limited by belief in what has yet to be proved or yet to be disproved – one never knows.
James Palmer, Director of the 65th Annual Conference of World Affairs in Boulder, Colorado, describes Socrates as a man so curious and questioning, so calm and courageous that he cannot delude himself. One who knows that he knows nothing, which makes him both wise and annoying to all those who flocked around him to learn what we now call the Socratic Method – questioning and helping others think for themselves.
Continual Questioning Ignites Newfound Consciousness
The British television producer and author, John Lloyd, most well known for originating comedy programs Not the Nine O’Clock News, Spitting Image, and QI, gives a juicy RSA talk called General Ignorance: It’s All About What You Don’t Know.
Noting the depth of philosophical curiosity emerging through his 3-year old’s questioning, Lloyd elegantly portrays that there is far, far more in this world we don’t know and never will than we can begin to fathom with any certainty.
He notes that we only know 4% of the universe. The rest is an ultimate mystery. How anyone calculated 4% is another story; however, the point is we will never know the answer to questions like “why are we here?”
Beyond philosophical questioning, the science of the universe and all the science here on Earth cannot begin to produce a fraction of certainty. What we know may or may not be true.
Information changes constantly. Tremendous avenues of thought have shifted throughout history, which we accept, yet find it difficult to breech adamant claims to truth in our modern belief system.
It’s What You Don’t Know
Confucius said “real knowledge is to know the extent of one’s ignorance.”
To that, I ask, how ignorant are you?
Achieving your brightest brilliance is certainly not a matter of fact seeking and certainty, but a constellation of questioning, provisional understanding and application.
5 Tips to Unleashing Brilliantly Ignorant Levels of Well-being and Success
1. Accept the gift of ignorance. Allow it to penetrate your everyday consciousness and be cognizant of our role in the evolution of ideas and ideology.
2. Question and doubt. These go hand in hand with mastering ignorance. We have to question and doubt to endure an earnest curiosity, to think on new levels and live truly knowledgeable lives.
3. Embrace Humility. Think of the rest of the universe, or even another part of the world–we are small in comparison to nature and the extent of human knowledge is enormously less complex than the natural systems that operate the world in which we live.
4. Be comfortable with the unknown. Practicing ignorance reveals views of self and world unknown and often uncomfortable. It’s important to shift our consciousness to a comfortable acceptance of the unknown to better understand and be at one with others, ourselves, and the greater world we live.
5. Expect and accept controversy. When you reach your brightest brilliance through ignorance and follow steps 1-4, you will feel compelled to discuss and apply your thoughts into the world. Many like facts. Many like proof. Many like what is accepted.
When you break out beyond the confines of conventional thought and your mind enters the good life of ignorant brilliance you shine like a beacon. You will attract attention. You will face controversy. This is good. Expect it. Accept it. Never stop questioning. Remain humble. Know that you never know. Know that timeless thoughts are thoughts that last. And you may very well lead to major shifts in your life and society.
With brilliantly ignorant intent.