When I was ten I noticed a book on my
brother's shelf called Sophie's World: A Novel about the History of Philosophy by Jostein Gaarder. I thought, 'cool, a book with my name in the title, I should read it', obviously without any idea that it was to forever change the way I think, and ultimately the way I live. In chapter two, Albert Knox tells Sophie that most humans are buried in the fur of a (presumably elephantine) white rabbit which has just been pulled out of a hat by a magician. Philosophers are those who climb up the rabbit's hairs to stare into the magician's eyes and try to understand the workings of the 'trick'. Since reading that I've always tried to maintain perspective and to question life as if atop the hairs aboard the great rabbit of life(!)... This blog is a home for the (life-permitting) daily overspill of (copied, contradictory, inconclusive) thoughts, many related to music and being INFP and some decidedly not, from one little furry journey. Click here for the blog-warming post from Jan 1 2010, or 'follow' me below (and left a bit).

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Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Ignorance = blogging bliss?

I often think that if I had better knowledge of psychology, sociology, history etc. I'd have been better qualified to address the issues I've raised in the Rabbit so far. But yesterday, after writing my post, I reassured myself with the following thought which, even if untrue, makes me feel justified in continuing my blogging activities...

The word 'ignorance' has such negative connotations, but remaining ignorant to existing literature, theories, experiments etc. can, in one sense, give us the edge over those 'in the know'. Absorbing someone else's theory can, for example, build a brick wall around our own thought capacity as the theory infiltrates our own ideas (whether we like it or not), just like listening to recordings can subconsciously influence the way in which a performer shapes a musical phrase and place limits on the development of their individual interpretation. By avoiding the brainwashing of others and the belief that we've arrived at answers, we can also retain that healthy sense of awe that Jostein Gaarder holds up as the key to being a good philosopher. It's no wonder that children are so creative. [I also realise that educating ourselves can also provide us with the tools to further independent enquiry, but that goes against today's point...]

What I'm trying to say is this... Another person's thought could very well act as as a useful foothold (it is, after all, someone else's book which sparked the idea for this blog), but it could just as easily stand as an obstacle on your own personal rabbity journey. Behind every big library there isn't necessarily a genius/someone you'd take out for coffee.

2 comments:

  1. I guess what this really comes down to is choice. Do we take what we have been dealt with/learned/acquired and roll with it? Or do we deny others and find our own path? I feel that other ideas and experiences (and other people's money) help us to establish our own journey. Not a day goes by that I don't learn something from someone else, whether it is a positive or negative lesson. In many ways ignorance can be bliss, but I feel that awareness and understanding are far more important. Maybe I'm just too much of a humanist.

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  2. This just popped up on twitter from philoquotes...

    "Ignorance, the root and stem of all evil." - Plato

    I'll hazard and guess and say he probably wouldn't agree with this post then.

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