Tuesday’s Quote – June 7, 2016 – The wisdom of the unknown

“We are at the very beginning of time for the human race. It is not unreasonable that we grapple with problems. But there are tens of thousands of years in the future. Our responsibility is to do what we can, learn what we can, improve the solutions, and pass them on.
…It is our responsibility to leave the people of the future a free hand. In the impetuous youth of humanity, we can make grave errors that can stunt our growth for a long time. This we will do if we say we have the answers now, so young and ignorant as we are. If we suppress all discussion, all criticism, proclaiming “This is the answer, my friends; man is saved!” we will doom humanity for a long time to the chains of authority, confined to the limits of our present imagination. It has been done so many times before.
…It is our responsibility as scientists, knowing the great progress which comes from a satisfactory philosophy of ignorance, the great progress which is the fruit of freedom of thought, to proclaim the value of this freedom; to teach how doubt is not to be feared but welcomed and discussed; and to demand this freedom as our duty to all coming generations.”

— Richard Feynman, The Value of Science

In these days of absolute certainty on the part of so many people, I find it helpful to remember that we fail to honor the past, and do a disservice to the future, when we stop looking for answers because we choose the believe that they’ve already been found.

Never stop questioning.

Image from the Hubble telescope.


One thought on “Tuesday’s Quote – June 7, 2016 – The wisdom of the unknown”

  1. Very wise words indeed. I am reminded of a comment made recently about how much technology has changed us. In fact the changes have been so great, and over such a relatively short space of time, that nobody can predict what our world will be like within the next 15-20 years…. and yet our education systems are rigidly preparing our children for it based on a standard and relatively rigid program of educating. I like the philosophy of ignorance. It makes sense!


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