Wednesday, September 09, 2009


Ignorance has gotten a bad rap over the centuries, but over the course of 40+ years as a classroom teacher, I’ve slowly come to realize that ignorance is as necessary to academic success as good soil is to a prolific garden. Ignorance, you might say, is the fertile loam of first-rate education, for without it no learning would take place. I can’t learn something unless I’m first ignorant of it – unless there is first an empty space in my understanding of the world that is waiting to be filled by awareness and appreciation. It’s surprising to me that so many people seem to want to hide their ignorance, or pretend that it doesn’t exist. That’s as foolish as hiding the soil of your flourishing flower garden because you’re ashamed of it, or as silly as pretending the oozy mud in the bottom of ponds isn’t actually the source of every beautiful water lily blossom. Out of the darkness of night comes the light of the morning, and out of the confusion of ignorance comes the longed-for sparkle of insight. I’m proud to be, relatively speaking, overwhelmingly ignorant, because it means I have a universe of learning ahead of me.

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