By Rich Kozlovich
It has been my experience that being insatiably curious is its own reward and its own punishment. The reward is the satisfaction of “knowing” that which is true. The punishment can be finding yourself at odds with everyone else. Make no mistake about this; there is a difference between traditional wisdom and conventional wisdom. Traditional wisdom has stood the test of time. Conventional wisdom is merely what everyone believes at the moment and may only last until the next philosophical flavor of the day appears.
We have the desire to “know” things; to have the right answers, but that requires an understanding of a great many things. It has also been my experience that most things aren’t as complicated as they appear on the surface; we just fail to understand the root problem properly. As a result, we increase the difficulty of problem solving. There has always been an amazingly intricate interplay between people that has been at the heart of it all. It is a fact that everything in life is paradigms and demographics. Paradigms create demographics and demographics create paradigms. So many demand perfection when history has shown that the “best we can hope for us the most tolerable imperfection”. A man once said that if you ever find the perfect organization; join it! However, he said, remember that the minute you have joined, it is now somewhat less than perfect!
It is also true that ignorance is the natural state because we all start our lives ignorant. And for all of our lives we will remain ignorant about a great many things, because there is so much to learn about so many subjects, therefore a varying degree of ignorance is understandable. Ignorance simply means that we don’t know. That is fixable! By learning about things, many things, we can reduce our level of ignorance continually, but never totally! However, if we choose to remain ignorant, that is stupidity. It is the stupidity that I hate.
Reading history is one way of avoiding being more ignorant than everyone else. Mostly because history is the fruitage of the work of millions of people over thousands of years. Unfortunately it only works when we read it. It only matters if we understand it and remember it correctly. History has all the answers. There is really nothing new under the sun, everything that exists today has its foundation in man’s history. The technology may become more advanced, but the application of all things is still based on that intricate interplay between human beings.
The correct information and necessary understanding to make the right decisions is there, if we read it. Yet we don’t read, understand or care about history as a society. That makes us easily fooled by those who twist and manipulate history for their own ends; and so many times those ends are in direct violation of traditional wisdom. I find that those who twist history seem to have one thing in common. Their interpretation of events usually denigrates or diminishes traditional wisdom. That doesn’t necessarily make it wrong by the way, but it should at least be a warning bell that should make us want to dig deeper into the subject to find out for ourselves.
We need to understand that if we don’t bother to read and have the correct understanding of history we will be like the waves being washed back and forth by every new wind that blows our way. Wisdom is the application of knowledge and understanding. Without correct knowledge and understanding we have no anchor for our thinking, no touchstone to gauge our values by. We then are incaplable of any real direction, as a result we fail in our judgments; judgments that will have a negative impact on society over the long haul. That society is our children and our grandchildren.
Some things really are right and some things really are wrong. There really is such a thing as good and evil in the world. There....that is a good start for foundational thinking.