Socrates has been called one of the wisest men who ever lived. Why? Was it because he influenced human thought more than perhaps anyone prior? Was it because he died for his convictions, being the first martyr to the cause of independent thought? Was it the beard? Maybe it was the beard, but most scholars agree he was wisest because he only knew one thing: nothing.
That being said, I have to disagree. Except for the beard. That thing is epic. As I've gotten older and have been in school since before I can remember, I find I know even less than nothing, and no one is praising my wisdom or knowledge. True, I never ate hemlock, but I did have some bad enchiladas one time, those almost killed me.
I'm nearly ten years older several people in my drawing class. I love drawing and have been doing it since I could hold a crayon (and slightly before that, so I'm told.) Yet, these people, only eight years older than my leg, make my drawings look like they were done by an enthusiastic six year old. (Granted, my drawings themselves make them look like they were done by an enthusiastic six year old, but it isn't so glaringly obvious when compared to nothing.)
I've had my job for nearly a year, and there are so many things I don't know. Now that I'm one of the most senior scan technicians, (senior=being here the longest) a lot of people are coming to me for answers I don't know. How do I close out of a telnet line? I don't know, I just close the terminal. How do I test for an information disclosure vulnerability with a Domino Server? I don't even know what that is! Ask a manager. True, at least I know more than I did when I started, but most of my knowledge is from memorization, nothing I have really internalized. I know a customer needs to increase their cipher strength, run their TFTP in a chrooted environment, but I don't know how, or even why. (FYI, this is me complaining. You don't need to explain these to me, those of you (Ammon) who are more technically minded than me).
My other classes are just as bad, if not worse. Finance? I'm almost 30 and don't know how to manage money. I know I should invest it, but what does that mean? Where do I invest it? My teacher is going on about protecting your capital, and I'm like I don't have capital! Do I? How can I protect my money when I have so little? How about I stop paying my HOA so much for doing so little? That seems like a smart idea, but everyone tells me that's bad.
Ethics and Values, I feel like a psycho-heretic for having views contrary to happy valley. Not that I'm some Nihilist or (shudder) liberal, but I just think I know a bit more than some, and often have a contrary view. Case in point. We're studying Immanuel Kant and Kantian ethics. (Named after guess who). Long story short, Kant was religious and tried to align religion with logic and principles. Kant said (among other things. Holy moly that Kraut was verbose) doing something selflessly for someone else has no moral worth. In other words, you shouldn't help others to feel good about yourself. Someone asked "How could he be a Christian? Aren't we taught 'men are that they might have joy?'" I raised my hand and explained that first of all, that quote is from the Book of Mormon. True? Absolutely. Available to Kant, who died in 1804, a year before Joseph Smith was even born? Probably not. The classmate then said "Well, the Bible teaches the same thing." I'm sorry, have you read the Bible? Christ's ultimate teaching and rule: love. True. But the Bible doesn't really teach that men are that we might have joy, it teaches exaltation through suffering, growth through tribulation. Kant was expressing that the reason for helping others isn't to feel good, it's because of a duty inherent in all of us. We should do good because it's good, not because we get good feelings because of it. Everyone looked at me like I was from Kolob or something and I actually heard someone gasp when I said I too was Mormon. I wasn't saying Kant was right or wrong, I was just explaining what he was saying.
Ok, that last paragraph isn't so much about what I don't know (or is it?) than about what other people don't know.
Sometimes you gotta vent. People often tell me I'm a gifted writer. No, it's true, they do. I just submitted a bunch of my writing to the school literary magazine Touchstones and I already think I'm going to get rejected, as I did a few years ago.
I'm just complaining right now, thanks for listening. I just feel not only the older I get the more I realize there is I don't know. I am also realizing the older I get the less I know than people younger than me. And that's sad. Maybe that's what Oscar Wilde meant when he said "the old believe everything, the middle aged suspect everything and the young know everything."
That's right. I just can't end a post without quoting Oscar Wilde. At least I know him better than most people, Richard Ellman excepted.