Monday, October 9, 2023

Curiosity and Wisdom vs Arrogance and Ignorance

Great ignorance often builds on a scaffold of arrogance.

Arrogance suppresses curiosity. Curiosity means admitting you don't know - the very last thing arrogance wants. Ignorance accumulates from this suppression. Truth can't get in!

Arrogance and ignorance are two sides of the same coin. Same for curiosity and wisdom.

As I've previously noted, you can feel smart or you can be smart. Never both. Feeling smart feels smart! Actually being smart, by contrast, feels ignorant. It's understandable that nearly everyone chooses the former!

This is why wisdom is so rare, and ignorance so rampant. You may have noticed that curiosity is rapidly disappearing, while arrogance increases. It's all the same process.

Astute readers may conclude I'm restating the Dunning–Kruger effect. But no. I'm explaining the Dunning–Kruger effect. Its underpinnings.

I am a living laboratory experiment for this. Several humans have genetic material nearly identical to my own. They all feel extremely smart. Their curiosity is stillborn, which has condemned them to deep ignorance. Yet they never waver in their haughty and bewildering superiority. I, by contrast, am immensely curious...and immensely wavery. I've always felt - and continue to feel - profoundly inferior and ignorant. I represent the 180° flip.

I'd have no perspective on this whatsoever if I hadn't followed my compulsion to start this Slog 15 years ago. As I read the backlog, it reads fresh for me, like reading someone else. And I'm forced, against my nature, to concede that there's undeniable wisdom here. This came as a shock. I honestly had no idea.

My Faustian bargain - yielding completely to my prodigious curiosity at the expense of never feeling worthy - was worth it to me. Because I wanted to Know way, way, way, way, way more than I want to feel like a Knower.

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