Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Knowing when to say you don't know.

Another day I didn't know what to write about.
And so, I thought I'd say a few words about knowing when to say you don't know. I did discuss this idea last week (Feb. 3, "Confidence and Ignorance"), but hopefully I'll say something different this time.

The fact of the matter is that we don't know everything. Being able to know when we don't know is itself valuable.

Honesty is a virtue that people appreciate. If you're willing to admit that you don't know, then at least people will accept your honesty. When you try to bullshit your way through a situation when you don't know, this can be detected. Which danger would you rather face: being thought ignorant, or being thought a liar? It ain't an easy choice.

But, for myself at least, knowing that I'm not ignorant, and that I'm not omniscient, I'd rather risk being thought ignorant.

And sometimes, when I don't know what to say, I'd rather risk being thought of a having nothing to say; that would be a belief that I could remedy. I'd rather it be thought that I know when not to talk.

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