THE SPIRIT OF SHAMELESS IGNORANCE
Years ago I witnessed shameless ignorance innocently modeled at a conference in medical school. A visiting professor asked questions for which everyone thought they knew the answers. It was about red blood cells. Even the first year students were laughing. I guess everyone, I included, thought these were rhetorical (theatrical) questions.
But the professor was serious. He didn’t know the answers to his questions. Many of the rest of us thought we did!
Perhaps this was nothing new for him, asking questions unabashed. Think about it though. What a resource he had in the conferences he routinely attended, of many bright also resourceful scholarly types.
He succeeded in bringing the conference to what was for me a previously unreached and important level of arousal. Something about his manner led us to put our minds together in a kind of mutually respectful dialogue in which no one, it seems, suffered from stage fright. Several curious, respectful people contributed to the conversation that followed.
Shared perspectives create a super or meta mind, one that brings significant discovery. When shy people venture to share of that which only they are aware, doors are opened.
Now I am thinking that what happened was his making it safe for everyone else to be vulnerable.
I think most of us can remember groups at reunions, marriages, and funerals pooling what we remember and creating something like putting a puzzle together.
The hunger we have to recreate and realign and be happy and be sad, without prompting, arouses in the the whole being the spirit of ignorance that over rides shame.
How we value our personal emotional experience and making it known begins when we are babies, and is determined by the responses we receive from the other human beings in our personal world. Everything we do when with another person, whether or not we are doing it in an attempt to relate to that other person, has potential consequences for shaping our mental development.
Emotional self-acceptance is a critically important part of what it takes to seek, discover, and create a universe that affords confidence, courage, judgment, passion, and curiosity.
A satisfying of curiosity might have some necessarily scary aspects, since as you satisfy your curiosity you could be leaving the prevalent culture making you different from others, in aspects that might lead to your being at least looked at askance. Taking care about what you express with whom you consider making yourself vulnerable, in these respects, will mitigate this danger.
Healthy judgment depends on learning from our own as well as others’ successes and mistakes. Emotional arousal--- mental alertness, is necessary to increase the amplitude and frequency of past as well as current reminders that point to possible or probable current and future danger. What is boring puts us to sleep, where we can dream something interesting.
What is interesting wakes us up. Sometimes the difference in whether something is interesting or boring depends on whether I understand, can make sense of what I am attempting to comprehend. Many times it is necessary to stay in a situation for a while, to understand the language or the jargon.
With mathematics you can’t just jump into the middle of something, for instance like calculus or differential equations, but first learn considerable background.
If your curiosity is sufficiently aroused and if you are confident and willing to clear a space in your life for it, you will learn the background necessary for you to grasp and understand calculus or molecular biology or how to make a nine layer cake without the top layers sliding off as you serve it. ( I gave up!)