Monologue · Personal Reflection

Ignorance isn’t always blissful

I was listening to a podcast on the way home from work yesterday, and I was struck by one of the things I heard.

I just discovered that Brian and Sal from Impractical Jokers started a podcast where they just talk about all sorts of things. Of course I’m listening to it now!

Sal said that his goal in this podcast was to learn things. He said he knows a lot about social situations and how to behave in crowds, but he doesn’t know textbook stuff: history, geography, politics, etc. His hope is to become educated on these topics by talking to different people and looking at different sources.

He said everyone had to learn everything they know, so why should it matter if he’s learning just a little bit later than everyone else?

I found this profound. We all had to learn what we know. We all started out knowing absolutely nothing, and then we learned as we lived. How often, though, do we judge, criticize, and brush off anyone who asks a question that we think is obvious. We only think it’s obvious because we already know it.

People are asking questions because they want to know. Why should we make them feel small for striving to understand more of the world? What do we gain from that? Maybe it makes you feel superior, but what about when you didn’t know that?

For example, my husband and I are re-watching the BBC Sherlock Holmes, and we just watched the episode where Sherlock is outed for not knowing that the planets revolve around the sun. I’ll admit, if I met a 30ish year old man who didn’t know that, I’d probably laugh at him too. But in these cases, I think it’s important that we remember the day we learned the planets revolve around the sun.

Instead of berating someone for not knowing what you already know, thank them for asking (because ignorance really isn’t bliss) and share with them what you’ve learned.

Then, go check out What Say You on whatever you use to listen to podcasts because it’s a great one.


Image taken from The Faculty Center for Teaching and LearningChanging too many variables at once.”

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