If ‘thoroughly conscious ignorance is the prelude to every real advance in science,’ then why are we so uncomfortable with this thing called ‘ignorance?
Ok, we know a lot of stuff, right? I mean, a LOT of stuff! And there’s more and more stuff piling on the stuff that we already know. That’s the machine we have created: the know stuff machine. There’s an implicit message in the schooling model that suggests that we can know all the stuff if we take all the classes and do all the work. Stuart Firestein describes several different versions of this model that suggests that we have fooled ourselves into believing that we can get to all the stuff. But we can’t. Knowledge is not a puzzle to be put together. The pursuit of every good question leads to more questions. ie. more ignorance! (check out his TED Talk by clicking the head)
We need to embrace the axiom: “We need to act our way into a new way of thinking rather than think our way into a new way of acting!”
This has to follow from an understanding that we are feeling beings that think, NOT thinking beings who feel. The dark room is scary and to hear that there is no black cat in it after all these years of looking is depressing, initially.
Our fear of the dark has us fumbling around looking for a better way to deliver content. This ‘black cat’ doesn’t exist! That is no longer our job! We need to let go of the belief that we have the answers and begin to see ourselves as the Sherpas that lead the journey but acknowledge that we, too, are on the journey and climbing alongside.
I love his point about what the geneticists have taught us; “you get what you screen for.” It comes down to evaluation and how we either make it an opportunity to give feedback and to provoke further questioning or continue to make it about weeding students.
Can we fundamentally shift our stance and embrace the pursuit of what we don’t know rather than to continue to delude ourselves into thinking that we just have to get better at delivering content in this new digital age?
So, where do you sit on this? Can YOU abide ignorance?
For the record, this dude abides!