You are here: Home » Adam » The Knowledge Conundrum: Increased Awareness = Increased Ignorance

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.

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Owen Lipsett February 4, 2013 at 7:37 am

This is wonderful!!! In the spirit of the post, I found that reading it a second and a third time I got much more out of it than on my first reading. Your point is strong and clear, but focusing on the word choice let me savor it more. Most of all, I really appreciated the last paragraph, and especially the last line. I’m looking forward to further increasing my ignorance (in a good way!) with your next post :-)


Adam Pervez February 4, 2013 at 7:43 am

Thanks! Well, the next post is about Gandhi. Mostly pictures, but definitely lots to learn about this amazing man. :)


Owen Lipsett February 4, 2013 at 7:46 am

Can’t wait! Along with today’s post, your earlier post about Gandhi’s possessions is an all-time favorite of mine:



Adam Pervez February 4, 2013 at 7:52 am

Great! Well, now you’ll see the place where that picture was taken!


PasserBy February 26, 2013 at 10:56 am

Interesting post, having traveled to this extent, re your quote
‘I knew poor people are happier than rich people’

Why do you think this is, has your view changed?


Adam Pervez February 26, 2013 at 11:03 am

I now realize there are many kinds of poverty. Urban poverty is very different from rural poverty. Financial poverty, which plagues the developing world, is very different from mental poverty, which plagues the developed world. Although I think there’s still a grain of truth to my original thought, I’ve just realized it’s much more complicated than a simple one-line sentence.


PasserBy February 27, 2013 at 5:54 am

Living in both words, developing and developed, I totally agree.
Though from what I’ve seen the Financial poverty numbs the quality of life to a lesser extent than the mental poverty.
My experience – so far – tells me – in the absurdly simplest of terms – when a man has less money, He worries about less with a subconscious understanding there is little He can change. Less worry, leaves more time to simply be.
When a man has more, He’s both worried about the many factors He believes he can control, the endless consequences of he’s many choices and the thousand aspirations born from He’s assets, whilst fearing loosing what He has – so He spends a lot of time fearing the now and living in the future and less time simply being


Adam Pervez February 27, 2013 at 5:57 am

I agree completely. I’d say living in the now and being is something I’m after, by the way :)


Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: