The Less We Know…

“What is the nature of the border between truth and lies? It is permeable and blurred because it is painted thick with rumor, confabulation, misunderstandings and twisted tales. Truth can break the gates down, truth can howl in the street; unless truth is pleasing, personable, and easy to like, she is condemned to stay whimpering at the back door.”

–Thomas Cromwell  as imagined by Hilary Mantel in Bring Up The Bodies

Do you lack intellectual humility? If you’d like to get ya some, try this: manage a bookstore for 15 years. Daily, if you’re honest, you’ll be confronted with the ocean of your ignorance, and realize you’d better start swimming.

I think that’s a big part of the reason it baffles me that there is so much certainty out  there.

Reckon that’s at least part of the reason for our ideological encampment? We love our cars, of course, and when are you least likely to STOP a minute and ask for directions? (OK, I guess you might have to plumb the depths of your memory riverbanks for a pre-GPS moment.)

When you think you know where you’re going.

And here’s an embarrassing realization about what I do when I first realize I’m lost: I go faster.

If this is a common obstacle to understanding, maybe we should acknowledge that genuine ignorance is more often revealed by exclamation points than by question marks.


There are only a couple formulations that I want credit for. This is one that includes  (in its Less Set) what will eventually be revealed as delusional certainties:

The Less We Know…

…The More We Don’t Do About It.