The greatest knowledge in the world is knowing that you know nothing!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Whenever I get some time during a visit to my village, my octogenarian grandfather finds some fun in dragging me into serious arguments. He always throw some interesting questions on variety of topics: "Origin of the universe", "Seed or a plant: which one is first?", "How did human birth took place?", "Why are we doing things which we are doing?", "If God created us, who created God?" and many more on those lines. At first, I always thought I should not get into these discussion since it's a waste of time and it's absolutely impossible to convince an octogenarian who does not have the scientific background (He's never been to school, but his moral qualities are highly respected by people around him). It was only because of his love and affection towards me, I used to spend decent amount of time to explain him what I knew. But he was tough, never got convinced with my so called "scientific explanations."

Over the years, I did realize that I should just compassionately think the way he does and make him happy about his 'knowledge' about things he is curious about, so that I could at least save my time without disappointing him. On temporary basis I started acting like a theist though I am agnostic, I started showing my belief in hypothetical stories from Vedas and Puranas though I haven't read/heard them, I started basing my arguments on unscientific things though i never believed in them. He didn't take too much time to realize that I am no more interested in 'healthy' arguments about those topics. Some times, I did confess saying that, "I cannot convince you because you don't have that fundamental scientific base." He openly accepted that fact and said, "These are some fundamental questions which every human being wants to know. Every generation is interested in knowing about them. Vedas and Puranas interpreted them in their own way, scientist have their own way to explain, but the questions still remain unanswered.... The more you think about them, the more you discover about yourself. The greatest knowledge in the world is knowing that you know nothing....." Last few words put me in a serious contemplation.

PS: (1) If you have ever answered any one of those questions to anyone like my grandfather, please do let me know, I would love to try and get into some serious conversation with him again! (2) Originally Socrates had said something similar to what my grandfather had said (and of course, being not much educated, my grandfather doesn't know anything about Socrates), "The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing[wiki]"


Anonymous said...

I recently read bhagvad geetha. My first impression was this is how most of the non-scientific indians think and this is THE book that you can give to such a person to answer their questions.

if you read it you might understand your grandfather ideology better. I know most of the books available have lot of author explanation but you can read only the direct translations (which can be done in less than half a day).

Anonymous said...

If you want know more knowledgeable the quote "I Know that I Know nothing"

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