I’m sure that I’m far from alone in having dwelt on my own ignorance. These occasional musings into the limits of my knowledge are similar to those moments when you contemplate your own mortality. It is an old cliche that the more you know, the less you realise you know but it is still something I do think about from time to time.
This will be a bit of a ramble if you can’t tell already.
The computer I am typing on can be used as an example. Now compared to the average person, I know quite a bit about computers. I’ve always been interested in them and I can operate them with ease and even build and repair them up to a point. That ability has only made me more conscious of how little I know. Despite all this I know that I have no ability with programming or knowledge of any programming language. To take things even further, I can identify parts but I have no idea how a circuit board works and certainly no idea how to make one myself. I wouldn’t be able to tell you the first thing about how a microprocessor is made.
This is the sort of thing I sometimes find myself contemplating in my more idle moments or when I am stumped on what to do about a certain situation. And I dwell on this in plenty of other areas and with regard to society as a whole. Like if everything around me were to fall apart, how equipped would I be to handle the basics of human survival as well as protecting my family? Of course, I would be relying on others to some extent but would I be able to acquire resources, create shelter and provide security to my loved ones? I’m not so sure and I’d assume the answer would be “no”. Of course, in such a situation, I’d be forced to learn fast but the limits of my knowledge in these areas still bring pangs of guilt from time to time.
Where am I going with this? I don’t quite know. I just wonder about the future. I hope I am wrong but the future is looking more bleak than hopeful though I should always hold on to the latter, no matter what. But to dwell on the former further for a moment; how can what has been built over generations be maintained when so much of the population whether consciously or in ignorance is bent on destroying it? I would honestly have to include myself in the latter category as for much of my life I’ve been a mediocrity. We moderns assume technology and resources will not only always be, but always be improving. Yet we seldom notice that much of the technology we have are merely refinements of technologies already invented.
I did, more or less what I was told growing up including the things I’m not supposed to that my parents laughed about after scolding me. I finished school, I went to university – I even went to church regularly. I got a degree in the area that my elders thought suited me and I thought suited myself. I soon got a job and have stayed employed in the same profession for over a decade. I traveled, I had adventures, I got married and I had children. Now I am in my thirties and I feel like I have done almost all of it wrong and that I’m not ready to face true hardship. I feel totally ill-equipped for what the future holds in store and an enormous sense of responsibility.
Now if I were to speak with someone about this, what they say would likely vary quite a bit. Some would tell me that the purpose of societies is for persons to have different skills and exchange them with each other to fill in these gaps in knowledge and ability. Others would encourage me to continue to learn as best I could. Others would not be able to understand why I think anything could ever change for the worse. A few would share my pessimism for the future. It really depends and perhaps I do dwell too much on this. But I can’t escape this sense of gloom about the future and sometimes feel quite powerless.
I suppose I am on the right track in many ways in that I am trying to expand my knowledge where I can but I always feel like I could be doing more or am wasting time in one way or another.