Do you know that you don’t know?

I believe that these two quotes both came from the Jack’s Winning Words blog, but I know that the last one did because it was from today.

“It is better to know some of the questions than all of the answers.” (James Thurber)

“The greatest enemy of learning is knowing.”  (John Maxwell)

Both quotes point to the danger and foolishness of thinking that you know it all. In fact, most of us haven’t even scratched the surface of the questions, much less finding the answers.

Many readers may know someone who is a “know-it-all”, the person with all of the answers. Not surprisingly most of what that person “knows” is wrong or based upon bad information, or even worse upon bad assumptions.

Instead of concluding that you know all there is to know about anything, it is better to spend some time asking yourself what questions about the topic remain unanswered. A good place to start when considering any “fact” is where did that fact come from – what is its source. Most of the so-called conspiracy theories have no basis in fact and no real source other than rumors or conjecture. Any argument that starts with “I heard that…” should be immediately challenged by “Heard from who or where?”

But enough about current events and politics, let’s focus more generally upon how one learns and creates their knowledge base. It is upon that base that wisdom is eventually built.

One grows in knowledge by continually questioning. What just happened? Why does something happen?  What causes something to happen? How does that something happening affect me and do I need to do something about it? Is this something new? If not, how can I make sense of it by connecting that something and my understand of it to anything else that I might already know (note: that turns understanding into knowledge)?

All of those questions and the thought processes that go with them are important to increasing your knowledge and wisdom. That is why shutting down those processes by thinking that you already know everything dramatically decreases your learning. Accepting without questioning is the cornerstone of building conspiracy theories.

So, always ask yourself, “what don’t I know about this?” Keeping that question in mind will mean that you keep learning.

Even in the realm of religion there is always room to learn more, as Pastor Freed mentioned in his blog today (follow the link about to read the blog post). Instead of trying to know all about God, start by knowing God through Jesus.

Now, what are your questions? Refer to your textbook (the Bible) for the answers.

Keep learning because now you know that you don’t know.

One Response to Do you know that you don’t know?

  1. John Freed says:

    You got the message, Norm. I write, not to criticize others, but to challenge myself to be humble about what I know. In this world, I see myself as a seeker after wisdom….knowing that wisdom is infinite.

    Thanks for all the good work that you do. You are a gem.

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