Tuesday, April 19, 2011

ignorance can be bliss .. and confusion can be comforting.

an excerpt from an NPR article:
That's the moment you realize you're separated from so much. That's your moment of understanding that you'll miss most of the music and the dancing and the art and the books and the films that there have ever been and ever will be, and right now, there's something being performed somewhere in the world that you're not seeing that you would love.

.. from "The Sad, Beautiful Fact That We're All Going To Miss Almost Everything" by Linda Hοlmes

i always thought of the enormity of literature, art, and culture to be liberating .. in that there will always be something to read or see or complain or rave about.

it would be frightening, to walk into a library and to have read, to have fully understood, everything on the shelves. several reasons come to mind:
  1. what would i do then? twiddle my thumbs?
  2. think of all the responsibility of having that much knowledge: being aware of so much, realising how much is beyond our ken, how this world could be, realistically and how far we are from achieving it ..
then again .. the author does point this out, too:
It's sad, but it's also ... great, really. Imagine if you'd seen everything good, or if you knew about everything good. Imagine if you really got to all the recordings and books and movies you're "supposed to see." Imagine you got through everybody's list, until everything you hadn't read didn't really need reading. That would imply that all the cultural value the world has managed to produce since a glob of primordial ooze first picked up a violin is so tiny and insignificant that a single human being can gobble all of it in one lifetime. That would make us failures, I think.
myself, i'll settle for a lack of boredom .. and leave the societal implications to others.

on a related note: at a conference, it worries me when i understand almost all of a talk or that very little about it confuses me ..

(not that it happens often)

.. because if i understand it that well, then i'm probably not learning anything new.

then again, maybe i've been a student, a non-expert, for too long. maybe i'm so used to being confused that i wouldn't know what to do if i were an expert at something ..

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