Friday, February 23, 2007

The Tip of the Iceberg

We’ll never know what we don’t know until we know it.
Sometimes we think we know something, but as it turns out what we think does not match up with objective reality.
At times we can only understand something partially because we lack a corresponding experience. For example we may be familiar with certain terms, may even be able to use those terms in a sentence or in a seemingly coherent string of sentences, but we may not really comprehend that which the terms are meant to describe.
This can be related best to the behavior and mentation of a four-year-old. A child at this age will tell you something like, “Charles took my toy and I was oppressed at him.”
The child is using a real term in an almost appropriate context without completely comprehending what she is saying.
Adults do this too. The trouble with adults is that it’s harder for us to make subtle yet crucial adjustments to our mode of operation.
It’s hard for us to learn because an adjustment would mean that there was something we didn’t know before. And we hate to admit that we didn’t, and still don’t know something.
We like to think that we know everything, it makes us feel big, safe, and adult.
Assuming that we know prevents us from having the opportunity to discover the unknown.


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