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The Knowledge Conundrum: Increased Awareness = Increased Ignorance

by on February 4, 2013

in Adam, Happy Nomad Tour

Before this trip, I thought I had it all figured out. Ok, maybe I didn’t have it all figured out, but most of it.

I knew poor people are happier than rich people. I knew people who were connected with nature are happier than those who are not. I knew I’d be happier on the road than behind my desk in Denmark.

And to a large extent, I was generally right. But it’s all much more complicated than that. I call it the Knowledge Conundrum. You can see it below.

The Knowledge Conundrum

The Knowledge Conundrum

I don’t want to complicate things, but really this should be a graph with a logarithmic y-axis. As kids we learn so much so fast, but within a relatively confined space. We’re infinitely curious and explore our world and make sense of it. Then you get to adulthood and then cases vary from person to person.

The thing I’ve learned most, which I didn’t even consider when I first took the plunge was how much I’d learn that I don’t know.

I guess it’s kind of a strange takeaway. When people meet me they expect me to have some wise, sage advice about humanity and happiness. I have my own thoughts, sure, and each passing day I learn a bit more. But at the same time, with each passing day I learn so much more that I don’t know.

My goal is not to learn everything. That’s impossible. I’m trying to learn as much as I can though. It’s just ironic that the more you learn, the more you know, the more you realize you don’t know.

One of my goals in life is to maximize both of the lines on that graph above. It’s hard to generalize, but it just seems like I’ve met a lot of people who approach life in a way to minimize the distance between those two lines, with “what you don’t know” decreasing over time. I find that hard to believe, and I feel like that’s the wrong way to approach life, but to each his own.

That’s why I started the “Change Your Paradigm” series. It’s entirely possible for you to learn almost everything in a very narrow sliver of life. For some people, that type of life is perfect. But if you are here on my blog, chances are you want more…

About Adam Pervez

In mid-2011 I left my cushy corporate job and took the plunge into a life incorporating my passions of traveling, writing, volunteering, learning, educating, and telling stories. I study what happiness means to others, offer what I can from my engineering/MBA background as a volunteer, and try to leave each place better than how I found it. Read more.

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