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More about the difference between ignorance and Socrates

A long time ago (for me personally, maybe like a decade ago) I posted a graphic I made on TEH Facebook (actually, it was already just plain old “Facebook” 😉 ). It showed one of the significant differences between computers and humans (overlooking stuff like “living” vs. “not living”):

I remember mentioning that I didn’t actually identify which represents a computer vs. which represents a human.

The internet is full of such graveyards where ideas go to die within a couple of minutes. Posting on such sinkholes reminds me a little of the image of people lining up in front of mass graves in order to be executed without any need for any extra steps to clean up any mess and / or bury any bodies in a separate step afterwards. But I digress….

One of the statements Socrates is very well known for is that he maintained that (unlike others) he was aware when he did not know something. In modern times, some people (most notably perhaps: Donald Rumsfeld) have turned this into a 2×2 matrix with awareness on one axis and knowledge on the other axis. Socrates, however, was quite adamant about never being completely certain of anything. Instead, he would sometimes mention a sort of “divine sign” — but only when something was amiss, and so he remained steadfast in his overall skeptical attitude.

What I am concerned about today, mainly because I have yet again witnessed such behavior just this morning: two people offered me some tips regarding something about which they have no knowledge whatsoever — and they were actually also quite steadfast in their supposition that the tips they were offering might be useful to me in some way. This was a truly outstanding test of my patience in the face of an all-around completely absurd situation. Good news: I survived (yet another reason not to carry a gun 😉 )!

I ask myself (yet again): At what point can such buffoonery be labelled “ignorance”? When can we say that someone is actually ignoring the fact that they suppose to know something when it is completely obvious to someone with just one single iota of knowledge that they are completely unenlightened?

The way I see it now, people only refer to someone as truly ignorant if / when they actually know something to be true but nonetheless maintain it to be false. For me, this level of belief is unclassifiable — it is nothing less than quite an extraordinary exceptional case.


By New Media Works

I'm just a regular person ;) If you want to know more, pls send me a msg -- thanks! :D

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