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The bliss of partial knowledge!

When you don’t know about something, it is easier to ask and arm yourself with information. The information should lead you to seek more, and know more. But on the rare occasion that it does so, the information overload might cause an overload and a strange sense of euphoria to suddenly show off all the results of the hard work, leading to a popular side effect – the phenomenon called, in Severus Snape’s words, “being an insufferable know it all”.

Yes. That was the bait. Now the post follows.

While it is not wrong to actively seek out information, nor equip oneself with tools to aid curiosity, it is most essential to understand and realise that no matter how much information one has on any topic, it is never fully complete. As new information arrives, it opens up newer vistas for research. In a time when everything is debated and science is constantly evolving, presenting us with more challenges than it solves questions, it is imprudent to assume that one knows every bit of information there is to know on that topic.

Ignorance is very welcome in this regard. At least then, it gives us no reason to hesitate to ask, to know better. I have seen people who have no idea about a particular topic or subject asking about it more freely than people who know things partially, assuming they know enough information and that more is not needed. With internet bringing every bit of available information at the reach of a fingertip, it is ridiculously easy to get details about whatever topic we want to know – a miraculous opportunity not many people use up.

The partial knowledge / partial ignorance extends to a point where suddenly everyone who’s made soap from glycerin (Thank you Maithreyi ma’am) will think they are all scientists who have revolutionized the production department of Hindustan Unilever and Himalaya corporations. Everyone is an expert on everything and experts prefer to keep the facts to themselves.

The one who does not flaunt the information they have is the one who understands that further research might disprove their theories. The ones who shout their partly formed theories from the rooftops are those who will refuse to grow or evolve beyond that point. It is one thing to be a Jack of all trades, but entirely another to claim to be a master of all of them.

Partial information is another way of displaying partial ignorance. A curse that prevails amongst the best of us, giving us a false sense of pride and triggering an acute sense of refusal to accept that we don’t know much and try to know things better. Be it in the scientific discoveries, historic accuracies or the common everyday mundane things, I am of the opinion that partial information prompts one to make themselves heard more than ignorance or better knowledge.

Learning is a continuous process and the miraculous human brain is challenged by newer things every day, so much so that no one is completely an expert on anything. The pseudo experts who proclaim absolute knowledge about something are the reason why the information / proclamation graph is a downward curve. The more the information about something, the lesser the need to proclaim the fact, unless explicitly asked for.

If things suffer this much, what about partial information on people?

That’s easy. It becomes gossip fodder. Generated by the small minded, spread by the narrow minded and believed by the closed minded.

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2 thoughts on “The bliss of partial knowledge!”

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