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Young and Dumb Rocks!

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The Case for Not Knowin’ Nothin’

Pity the expert: the Ph.D. who knows everything there is to know about a certain insect that preys on a certain crop. If she finds the right academic position—fantastic. But there are only three such positions in the U.S. and only one of those (tenured) people is close to death. So…a waiting game.


Feel sorry for the writer whose first novel got rave reviews or the artist who sold a massive installation on their first go-round. Expectations are steep for the next project and the pressure is on.

In conversation with a friend at work, I heard my younger self admit to a life-goal of wanting to, finally, know something. But knowing with certainty becomes harder with every book read and every conversation you have. In fact, the more you read any philosophy or wisdom literature, the more you get the sense of “knowing” as a shy and elusive pot of gold at the end of a rainbow.

That’s why it’s good to attempt the impossible while still young, before you realize it is, in fact, impossible. Quick—try that thing you want to do before someone sets you down and sets you straight about how ridiculous it is you are even considering it.

Another alternative is to cultivate a young and dumb attitude no matter what your age in dog years. Even the Ph.D. is a beginner at something. The beginner just wants to try it for themselves.

Let’s cultivate the joy of a small hand with a big fat crayon, exploring the world.



Image credit: Kirk Livingston

Written by kirkistan

August 28, 2014 at 9:29 am

2 Responses

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  1. You just might be speaking some of Gramp’s thoughts. (Today’s blog)

    Phyllis Livingston

    August 28, 2014 at 2:36 pm

  2. […] a story seemingly about not knowin’ nothin’: two friends from Boston decided to figure out why we grew so much corn in the U.S. So, naturally, […]

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