DON’T DELETE DOUBT

It Is Genuine Ignorance  

Genuine ignorance is profitable because it leads to humility, curiosity and open-mindedness.   John Dewey

A lot of people are working on the development of Artificial Intelligence (AI).  Not many people are even discussing Genuine Ignorance (GI). I believe ignorance has been getting a bad rap. Perhaps that is because in our culture we believe that intelligence is a good thing to have, even if it’s artificial, and ignorance is a bad thing to have, even if it’s genuine. But if we could promote genuine ignorance as being profitable, it might catch on. In America, being profitable is probably more popular than being intelligent.

William Shakespeare might help: Modest doubt is called the beacon of the wise. You probably know that I have doubts, because I have been writing about positive uncertainty for years. I think my Positive Uncertainty could be called: Modest doubt, and therefore considered, the beacon of the wise. My apologies to Shakespeare.

Having a strong opinion with no doubt could be known as the ”I know I’m right” syndrome, which explains why facts don’t change minds. This suggests not only that most people will resist changing their minds, but also that the very people who most need to change them will be least likely to do so. If modest doubt is the beacon of the wise, what does this say about people with the “I know I’m right” syndrome? This could be called “Positive certainty”. Can you imagine what Donald Trump would be like if he ever had a modest doubt? (Sorry, I couldn’t resist).

The virtue of doubt, ignorance and not knowing is the absence of the “I know I’m right” syndrome; the absence of certainty. Do you sometimes have the ”I know I’m right” syndrome? Or what things don’t you have doubts about? Do you have modest doubt about everything or just some things?  If just some things — what things?

When did we first learn maybe? One of my favorite authors, Katherine Schulz, in her 2010 book Being Wrong, reports that most children grow up living in a yes and no world until about age five, when they learn the word maybe. She says this is the beginning of our ability to acknowledge, quantify and talk about uncertainty; and it marks a major step toward learning. Since then, adults have been creative and resourceful in expressing the concept of maybe: perhaps, probably, hypothetically, doubtful, debatable, sometimes, occasionally, conceivably. Of course I like uncertainty.

You probably know that I have doubts, because I have been writing about positive uncertainty for years. Positive uncertainty could be called: Modest doubt, and therefore be considered another beacon of the wise. My apologies again to Shakespeare.

Everyone is ignorant, only on different subjects. Will Rodgers

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