Sunday, November 25, 2007


The purpose of this blog is basically so I can think in public.

What, then, is the purpose of that? What do I hope to accomplish?

Is it simply some deep and nonrational 'psychological' need?

Or perhaps I actually have a concrete goal?

Certainly, I can invent justifications, meanings, incentives. But these are, most likely, all rationalizations. The only way that I know to truly find the purpose is to do it. Just do it.
Then, look at what I've done, and see what it is. Carve out a statue, and then see what the statue is of.

That is what I'm truly doing.

Regarding the name, mostly it's just poetic. I like it. But I'll tell you a story about it anyway.

Accepting ignorance has many levels and consequences. First, it means not fighting ignorance. Indeed, what purpose is there to attacking a lack of knowledge? You going to move up to assaults on the clear sky next?

Logically, it means doing the Socrates thing. Realizing how little I and the people I want to listen to really know. Only then I can go beyond Socrates, to know something as true. By accepting that we are ignorant we create the possibility of learning.

Also, it's an expression of humility. While certainly, I want to think I have found some knowledge, and want to spread it, yet without incredible wealth and power, such as owning a school board or a church or the New York Times, I can produce but a drop in the bucket, a ripple soon lost in the noise. I must accept that whatever I find will most likely be lost, in time, and find a purpose for it other than increasing the sum total of human knowledge.

So naturally I have every blogger's ambition: replace the New York Times. However, I accept that I am ignorant as to how to bring this about. I accept that most people will be ignorant about things that I know, often aggressively so.

In the second level, it's also the acceptance that people will always be 'ignorant' of what I know in the sense that they will disagree. Imagine a comment thread, on anything, going like this:

"Your ideas are horrible, I can't imagine how bad they must be from the inside, and this is why."

"Oh really? Well, all your objections are but farts in the wind, and vanish as soon as they are fully formed."

"Oh dear! How wrong I was. I must thank you for the incredible gift of changing my mind."

How often have you seen anything like that?

This seems like one of the hardest things for people to accept. They aren't, apparently, convincing anyone. Idea and anti-idea cancel out and only the status quo wins. Only those childishly empty and accepting ever seem to absorb the ideas of others.

And yet, must there not be other reasons? Surely each mind is not unchanging adamantium in the face of arguments weathering the bedrock of reason? Christians become atheist and atheists become Christian. And yet, how? Not, certainly, because anyone reads Dawkins.

It's also because I want to use this blog as a repository for questions. I have many questions, which I seem to be really good at answering. Some of these questions are of general interest, and I would like to publish them.

Accepting Ignorance contracts to AI. Deliciously ironic.

Writing a lot will probably improve my writing style.

Finally, one of the most compelling explanatory ideas that I have found is that we simply don't know. Why is modern physics so hard to unite? Because we don't know what time is. Our ignorance is nearly perfect, as we should accept.

So why am I really writing this, here and now? Ha! As if I could know.


Unknown said...

ok, i will apply to your realisation of ignorance which i already apply to myself along time now and ask you this. Is the civilisation built on ignorant ppl?

Alrenous said...

What I see is civilization being built around the ignorance of the people. The way a road has to go around a mountain because it is too expensive to go through it.

Almost by definition, the builders cannot be ignorant in their expertise domain, otherwise the thing they tried to build would fall down.

Anonymous said...

Just found your blog. Late to the party. Look forward to perusing you many insightful posts.