Admitting ‘I Don’t Know’, the Only Way to Know: An Antidote to Ignorance

We live in a culture where we’re constantly told to have opinions about things in life to avoid coming off as fools or less smart than others. Discomforted by this very thought of being mocked and ridiculed by others, we often form our opinions based on superficial and surface-level impressions and borrowed ideas of others without investing much time and thought into it, before making up our own conclusions. And, these conclusions blind us from knowing anything, truly. We then go about asserting our opinions and ideas, which we have borrowed from others in the first place, onto others.

All this, simply, because we do not want to admit that — “I don’t know” — we have already killed the possibility of knowing.

“Without admitting ‘I don’t know’, the possibility of knowing never arises. Admitting ‘I Don’t Know’ is the Only Way to Know.”

If you look at something and don’t admit that you don’t know it, you cease to become curious about it. When you cease to become curious about literally anything, the longing to know possibilities goes away. When your longing goes away, you make up conclusions to fill the gaps without any assessment whatsoever. This is how you never come to realize anything properly.

Knowing anything properly requires us to invest adequate time and thought into things to bring true conviction.

TrulyLit - Art - Painting - Starry Nights by Van Gogh
Starry Nights by Vincent van Gogh

Vincent Van Gogh pours out a similar insight when he remarks:

I don’t know anything with certainty, but seeing the stars makes me dream.

As disoriented as it may seem, admitting that “I don’t know” is more rewarding even if it means you changing your perception towards life and yourself.

Bertrand Russell crisply attempts to explain the above:

“The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wise people so full of doubts.”

In The Passions of the Soul, René Descartes pours out expressing:

 “Wonderment is the first passion of all… Those without any natural inclination to this passion are ordinarily very ignorant.”