... exploring in my creativity further in 2017

07 November 2008

The Pleasure of Finding Things Out

Have you ever thought of yourself as a fairly bright, knowledgeable person only to delve into a topic and discover just how little you actually do know?

When I used to read almost exclusively fiction for pleasure, I rarely had the need to look up words or look into a subject in more detail. I was entertained and usually enjoyed what I read. I learned, but more than anything else, I learned to look at things from different perspectives and to empathize with the characters. Now I read much more non-fiction than fiction.

So often lately, I am overwhelmed by feelings of ignorance, of lack of knowledge, lack of awareness. “How did I get to this age without knowing ____?” is a common thought of mine. Perhaps it is because I have started to read outside of my usual genres? Or maybe it’s because I am studying some of what I am reading as opposed to just perusing it? Even when I am web surfing, one reference will lead to another and then to another and yet more. Multiple quick trips to Wikipedia later, I have more information on what has aroused my curiosity. Sometimes a superficial glance satisfies that initial curiosity. Or I may choose to delve deeper and read more on the subject, looking at multiple sources and books. Still other times, I set it aside as a topic to return to and pursue at some later date.

Either way, I am learning so many new things! More than anything, I am recognizing I have so much more to learn, in so many different areas. Much of it is fascinating. How exciting!

Richard Feynman wrote a book called “The Pleasure of Finding Things Out”. While the subject of that book has little to do with what I am talking about here, the title really reflects my feelings about gaining knowledge and learning. It is indeed a pleasure!

How do you feel when you find out how little you know? Do you make trips to Wikipedia or other encyclopedia type sites? Or do you go to the library? Or read an actual book encyclopedia? Or do a Google search on the topic? What sources of information do you like most?

1 comment:

  1. It's weird because finding out how little you know is like, the deepest spiritual truth or whatever.

    But sometimes it can drive you batty. And sometimes it sets you (well, me) all tingling with possibility.

    At least twice a day I end up saying "wow, everything I know and think about everything is completely wrong!"

    But I hardly ever have the patience to go hang out in wikipedia or what have you ...


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