Factual Ignorance

Although we have prestigious departments of knowledge — and hats to go with them — we do not know all that many facts about the world.

Setting aside the conceptually challenging, and possible pseudo-questions, and limiting our discussion to what we can agree are simple facts, we do not know:

  • Most of the people in the world.
  • Most of things that have happened in the past.
  • Almost nothing of what will happen in the future.
  • Almost none of the trees, animals and grains of sand.
  • What is going on in Angola.
  • None of your neighbors.
  • What you did on almost any day of your life.
  • What most of the rooms in the world look like.
  • We know almost nothing of what goes on in the hundred-billion solar systems in our galaxy, let alone

You say, this hardly matter, though some of it clearly does.

The paradox here is that even though we know almost nothing about the universe in which we live, we do not feel ignorant, let alone humble.

We are clearly comfortable living in world we hardly understand. Indeed, we have evolved for just such a world.

[ back ]