“To know anything well involves a profound sensation of ignorance.” – John Ruskin
I was surprised to discover this quote providentially placed at the top of my planner page for today. It is a great place to begin. I believe the greatest danger to knowledge and growth is to believe that these things have an endpoint in regard to anything. Once we feel we “understand” something we close ourselves off to any new revelation. After all, there is nothing left to learn.
This concept reminds me of my Nintendo and the hours spent playing Super Mario Brothers. As with other games, there came the day I “finished” the game and proudly proclaim. “I’ve mastered it!” Mastery seems a bit strong now, and quite a bit foolish. It was an ignorant statement. There were many mysteries left undiscovered in that game. There were technical skills left undeveloped to their fullest potential. After all, could I defeat the game without losing a single life? Now to do it without taking a single hit? Now to take the power ups as they come without missing a single one? Now to find out the best use of power ups (or power downs?) to accomplish the tasks? How fast? How slow? I think you get the picture. Yet how many of us never played the game again after that point? We didn’t think there was anything of value left for us in playing that game.
It is this reason that I value humility so highly. A humble person is as aware of their ignorance as they are aware of their knowledge. It is this awareness that opens them up to experience and receive new things. Even if they are at the peak of their calling, they know there are things yet to be discovered and they continue the process of developing themselves so that they may learn them. I think it is important that we remember this as creatives. When life places us in familiar circumstances let’s look deeper and further than we’ve looked before and engage our mind so that we may learn something more. It is there! There is really no such thing as mastery in life and it is many times knowledge of our ignorance that opens us up to pursue and receive knowledge.
A sensation of ignorance… give it a try!