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Ostomy Memories of Ignorance


HOW LITTLE I KNOW ASTOUNDS ME. There are moments when it occurs to me that I am so unfamiliar with a subject that the very fact of my ignorance prevents me from being confused by it all. I don’t have enough information to be confused. “We don’t know a millionth of one percent about anything,” said Thomas A. Edison. There aren’t many generalists around these days because there are only so many waking hours in a day and so much to learn. So even the most educated people specialize. Doctors select an area of concentration; lawyers often do the same; many mechanics and technicians limit themselves to one brand; even a cowboy might tend to prefer herding angus to Charolais. Don Rickles limited himself to insult humor. A great third baseman might be a total flop in the outfield because he knows only infield technique. As a rule, one healthy way of dealing with our own paucity of knowledge is not to fret over it. The little that he thought he knew didn’t stop Edison from inventing a whole slew of things, including the incandescent light bulb and the phonograph. He credited hard work for his success. The foundation of good luck, it is said, is effort. So I keep thinking that, if I persist in writing these little posts, at some magical time in the future, a gong will resound, fireworks will light up my immediate surroundings, and I will be struck by the sudden realization that, as Edison knew, the labor itself is its own reward.

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Hello HenryM.
Sure, there is a lot we don’t know and there are rational reasons for specialising and finding out a lot about specifics. However, I don’t think the specialist necessarily excludes all other incoming information, they simply observe it ( & hopefully enjoy it) rather than create it.
Like you, I keep writing snippets of information that stimulate useful concepts within my mind. Sometimes this is to make a ‘collection’ of similar concepts and sometimes they are simply random thoughts.
As a rhymester, I have always believed that this genre is most suited to those who are not concerned with external rewards, so much as those rewards that arise within. Sometimes people read what we write and express their appreciation. This is most welcome feedback, as it momentarily offers an opportunity for having some small pride in our past endeavours.
However, I feel that we also have a desire to know that other people are doing their own thing- in their own way, without necessarily worrying about whether it will be commercially viable. I have felt that formulating the questions is often much more rewarding than expounding the answers.
Best wishes


There’s nothing like discovering,
finding and uncovering,
new and interesting things
for the enjoyment that it brings.

I’ve always felt that finding out
what every little thing’s about,
is a good way to spend my time
and then I write it down in rhyme.

I feel I cannot get enough
of all that interesting stuff,
that people found in days of yore
when they decided to explore.

I love to hear of pioneers
who, through their efforts over years,
have shown us what we did not know
and guided us in where to go.

I like to study inventors,
watch and listen to presenters
of information I’ve not heard,
no matter how weird or absurd.

I love to see what they unearth,
then make a judgement of its worth,
and whether it might make the grade
to be developed and then made.

I like to see determination
in pursuit of revelation,
or a substantial exposé,
no matter what gets in the way.

Most of the things we have today
came from those folks of yesterday,
who, sported an inquiring mind,
explored, to see what they could find.

                                              B. Withers 2019
                          (in: Rhymes on Rhymes 2020)




Anonymous wrote:


I know that this is just an approximation, a guesstimate, a half-serious take on the matter, but I think the "What you know" is still shown as more than we're capable of knowing.  Sometimes I suspect that, had I known just a little more than I do, I'd have converted to Catholicism and joined the Franciscans.  (I'm only half serious...)


HenryM wrote:

I know that this is just an approximation, a guesstimate, a half-serious take on the matter, but I think the "What you know" is still shown as more than we're capable of knowing.  Sometimes I susp...

So true...tip of the iceberg...some say we do not use all of our brain. 


It's so true about specializing. We can't possibly know about all that we are interested in. I am a retired Systems Analyst...I used to build computer systems...that's what I went to college for. But when I was in college I would take random classes that peeked my interest...cultural anthropology, religious studies, etc and realized I would never live long enough to 'know' all that I am interested in. LOL


Hi Henry you say you may be struck and see fireworks, it might be lightning.


You are a veritable font of wisdom Henry  and we all benefit from it in every post . I'm listening to an audiobook , while trying to sleep , about Leonardo DaVinci  and it is fascinating , the one by Walter Isaacson .  A true Renaissance Man  he wanted to know everything about everything and pretty much did !!  Sounds like ADHD  in many ways , not able to land on one specialty and stick to it , abandoning art projects because he just flitted from one project to another . His thousands of pages of notes covered every subject  and on one page he could have notes on food , on canals , weapons , flying machines , just an amazing mind . The description of his notes shows intense focus for short periods and trying to focus on everything at the same time . The thing is he was just damn brilliant at virtually Everything !!  He was a vegererian and wore nothing made from an animal . If it can move of it's own  volition and feels pain then we should not kill   eat or wear it . One surprising thing is in his attitude on War . Contemporanious  notes have him saying that he loved building and investigating weapons of war . He seems to have had quite a bloodthirsty view on the subject of weapons . He wanted to build the best , most murderous weapons possible to bring on as much havoc as possible . I'm not sure if the author exaggerated this aspect , have to read more .  

   Curiosity is the key to knowlege and wisdom so keep on truckin Henry ☘


What a great post Henry! Only a wise person will acknowledge how ignorant they really are! Living part-time on a remote island where life is off the grid, you run into lots of so-called 'jack of all trade' types, who tend to know a little about a lot of things.  You're having a plumbing, electrical, mechanical, carpentry,  issue?  Sure, no problem, I'll come check it out.  Getting a good job done is a complete crap shoot.  Then, of course there is the issue of work ethic, or lack thereof.  Not much incentive when you are the only game in town.  I guess it's the price you pay for living in paradise!



delgrl525 wrote:

What a great post Henry! Only a wise person will acknowledge how ignorant they really are! Living part-time on a remote island where life is off the grid, you run into lots of so-called 'jack of al...

I've had the identical experience, Terry, living in a town of 350 people in the middle of nowhere in Utah.  I think that I was the only man in town without a complete set of tools and the ability to use them on just about anything.  But that's the way they were brought up.  Like you, I thought I was living in paradise otherwise. As for the handyman type generally, back here in Florida, the ones without fulltime employment who held themselves out to the public as fix-it guys, I would see them often in court, charged with a variety of criminal offenses,from spouse abuse to assault & battery to disorderly conduct to public drunk, generally actions exhibiting a lack of self control. 

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