What's new

The More I Learn, the Less I Know

Orange, TX
Thread starter #1
... a phrase I've recently been using. I don't know if I'm the originator of the phrase, or if I heard it somewhere along the way.

The more I think about it the more sense it makes to me, and hopefully I'm able to truly embody its meaning here in order for others to understand and use that phrase to their benefit in furthering their education.

Mark Twain had said, "Don't ever let schooling interrupt your education."

There's a lot packed into that quote, and much of it contrasts what we think education is.

So, what is education?

"Education is the key to unlock the golden door of freedom." ~ George Washington Carver

"Education is the movement from darkness to light." ~ Allan Bloom

"There is no end to education. It is not that you read a book, pass an examination, and finish with education. The whole of life, from the moment you are born to the moment you die, is a process of learning." ~ Jiddu Krishnamurti

Education is not sitting in a building following assignments to a predetermined outcome, controlled by people in positions of power, and never to be questioned. Education is the act of questioning; it's the honest curiosity and exploration of information not previously obtained; it's acting on information, sometimes ineffectively, and doing so until ability matches understanding. Education is a process I didn't completely comprehend until I learned to love its process well into my 30's.

Today, more than ever, I seek out knowledge. I spend my days behind the wheel of a semi going down the road at 65 mph while information flows into me at 1500 rpm. I'm lucky, in many respects, to be employed by an industry that allows me to do this. And the more I pour myself into the educational experience, the more I learn, the less I know.

I can hear you now, "Then why are you wasting your time?", but hear me out.

I was listening to The Unregistered Podcast one day, and I'd just finished reading A Renegade History Of The United States. My mind was reeling. Everything I was certain of was beginning to shatter before my eyes like Hillary's glass ceiling falling in on her head. (I'm no Trumpette, but I couldn't resist... heh)

Anyway, this blimp scrolled across my mind with a banner in tow. It read, "The more I learn, the less I know..." It puzzled me. I spent hours in silence thinking on this phrase. What did it mean?

Like any puzzle, I started at the edges of the phrase. What does it mean to learn, and what does it mean to know? It seemed simple enough. Learning is the idea of being educated, and knowing is the certainty there's nothing left to learn.

Electricity began flowing through me with this assessment. I was on to something. I thought others needed to know how brilliant I am, so I posted it. 1 like... dream shattered. But the more I speculated the more I discovered I'm not the only one feeling this way.

It seems to me there are a people out there with a thirst for knowledge, and these people instinctively understand what I mean. They're constantly asking questions and seeking truths. They get it. They live it. It's a deep driving force within them. The more they learn, the less they know. They're fairly certain uncertainty is the best position to take in order to acquire as much knowledge as possible, and I agree with them whole heartedly.

Every day I strive to be less and less certain about things so that I learn something I couldn't have learned if I'd erected an iron curtain of certainty around my mind. I've come across knowledge I wish I'd had a decade ago. I've come to understand things I had previously had only the most primitive of understandings about. And I feel like my temperament has become much more relaxed. I feel it's made me a better person.

If I had one piece of advice to give someone...

(Always offer unsolicited advice. It impresses the primitive thinkers.)

... that's living a life of mediocrity, spinning their tires in an attempt to move forward, I'd suggest rethinking minor positions you have - things you're certain of. Go out and seek sources that challenge your views. Soon you'll be drinking from a fountain of knowledge more plentiful than you ever knew available. As your preconceptions crumble, and you become more uncertain of what you think you know, you'll notice changes in the way you approach almost everything. I'm willing to bet that as you take a less abrasive approach on knowledge, those tires find traction and life begins to change for the better


Staff member
Glasgow, Scotland
I like this: "They're fairly certain uncertainty is the best position to take in order to acquire as much knowledge as possible"

Really interesting to see your thought process, you should keep writing! Awesome nugget of wisdom.