A little knowledge is a dangerous thing

 

 

image

 

That’s what they used to say  to us in school.  What a useful phrase!  Awkward questions, objections, arguments against nonsense were quickly silenced with this phrase.  It had the added virtue of reinforcing our image as possessers of “little”knowledge.  Those who spoke to us in that way, naturally held much knowledge, and it was not our place to question.  Life gets in the way of acquiring knowledge.  I was busy with falling in love, getting married, having children, working, bringing up children, falling out of love, working, divorcing, taking care of my parents, looking at the world, working. . . . .  but what a cop out!  I was lucky, privileged to be able to do those things and I chose to do them.  I chose to busy myself.  Now I have time and it is my duty not to accept “a little” knowledge but rather to read, to study, to search, to find some truth.  In the face of terrorist actions, it is my duty to put aside facile answers, to put aside fairy tales accepted as dogma, as rules for my precious life.  In the face of chaos it is my duty to fine order, in nature, in science, in philosophy.

 

And the image?  If I were guiding at the museum, I would ask the visitor to look at everything in the image and observe, observe what is important, in the foreground, colors, textures, materials.  What is obvious and what is hidden?  What, what, how, why?  All the questions of one who has ” a little knowledge”

I embark on the dangerous life – embarquer – to step into the frail boat of the search – and to set out on the dark sea of ignorance and knowledge.

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