I have always heard that the more you know the better off you will be. (Unless the Moor you know is Othello, and then I would find another place to keep my hankies! Esoteric joke in the second sentence! I crave attention for my crowded brain.)
I’m not entirely sure that knowledge is the solution it intended to be. (Bear with me, I’m personalizing knowledge to make a point.)
I had the opportunity to interact with some middle school students. I threw out the question, just as quick opinion poll and diffuse a situation between two girls that could have turned ugly, “What do you think happened to the missing Malaysian Airlines flight 370 ? A couple of students vehemently defended their supposition that the plane has been found and the whole thing is being hushed up by various political groups. That’s so preposterous it makes sense.
I mentioned that I thought things were easier when large ships, planes and such could be explained away by witchcraft, sea serpents or Elvis (Mojo Nixon thinks that Elvis needs boats.) At a time in world history when we new very little about the world and could do even less about it once we got there we were appeased by supernatural answers. That actually makes sense to me. Maybe it’s because my mind easily molded and shaped to fit the job that I am doing on that day. Sometimes my brain gets caught between transitions.
But I think Albert Einstein said succinctly
“A little knowledge is a dangerous thing. So is a lot.”
I agree if for no other reason than the theory I cobbled together from Richard Preston’s The Hot Zone. This book explains the story behind a highly contagious virus and how it got from the African Rain Forest to the United States. The answer: Scientists went into caves that the natives warned them not to. Take a minute. People who live there and have lived their for centuries warn and have been warned for centuries that there are bad things in the cave and no one should go in there. Well of course, us educated and brilliant folk know better than the natives so we’re going to stomp around in the unknown cave and they come out with a disease that is built on a RNA strand. The Science proves that the disease has been there for a long long time. And now it’s out. Because we thought we knew enough about it.
That is the idea of levels of truth.
Which is more real? Should truth be subjective? Or is the truth a popularity contest? Do we really need to know everything? Well I didn’t want to know that last weekend there was a pretty frisky game of truth or dare going on after a soccer practice mostly because you know, gross, but there’s not anything I can do about it. I didn’t need to know how many calories are in a Chimichanga, but now that I know, I can’t not know and if I want to be responsible, I would chaw down on one anytime in the near or far future.
It was so much easier when Sea Monsters and Giant Rats could be the solution to everything.