Accepting Ignorance

I just came across a quote that inspired me to write this post. This is going to be deeply intellectual and thought provoking readers….

“Whoever abandons saying, “I do not know” meets his destruction”- Imam Ali (as)

The above quote holds great significance in my life. It has been my point of realisation of many people and mentalities around me. This isn’t specific to Hyderabad per say, even though here is where I came to my realisations. I will break this quote down into three…Child, parent and society

1. Child-A child will never be afraid to say “mommy I don’t know”. He is willing to learn, and so he understands the only way to do so is just express that he doesn’t have the knowledge. This eventually dies in some kids, we call it lack of confidence or self-esteem, when the child returns home and has so many doubts. “why didn’t ask your teacher?” we say. This issue arises partially due to the extreme pressure on students in schools. When it comes to education we want children to be top notch, ‘know it alls’. But a child who isn’t willing to accept his ignorance will never learn, simply because he will never ask questions.

2. Parent- As parents we are the role models, we are older, more mature, more experienced than our kids, and this gets to our heads. Accept it! Many of us are guilty of this; we change topics when we can’t answer the questions of our toddlers, we are embarrassed when we don’t know something, and even more embarrassed to accept it. This happens to teachers as well, they will ask the child to “keep quiet”, “this isn’t part of your syllabus” instead of being human and accepting that they don’t know. Our kids didn’t come with a manual, and we are only humans, so why not accept our ignorance with finesse? This will be a great model for your child to follow at school too. He will not be afraid to face the truth, and ask questions an make and effort to find out the answers.

3. Society- This is very tricky, because this is the land of adults. In families I have noticed when the elders have a mind set of “i am infallible’ such dialogues occur. You can’t move forward with time if you’re not willing to constantly educate yourself, and for that the first step is to accept that ‘you don’t know’. The lack of this courage in turn sends the message to the whole society that once you’re a certain age, or become the only elders alive in the family, you can do whatever, no questions asked; in other words Being unreasonable is your right. What sets us apart from animals is our capability to evolve intellectually, learn, educate, move forward, and if we can’t accept that we don’t know something, we are definitely headed for destruction. No one likes a person living in denial of the obvious. We shouldn’t be proud about things that are going to make us backward, everyday is a learning opportunity, and to make the most of it, we need to accept that God has created a world for us to explore and educate ourselves.

1 thought on “Accepting Ignorance”

  1. Amen, accept the missing knowledge. I have found it is only taken as a negative when you yourself or the person/s directed too don’t have confidence in your ability. It does not say you’re stupid, after all stupid is not that you don’t know. Its that you keep doing the incorrect thing. We’re all learning.

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