AnonymousDeleted UserSeptember 23, 2020 at 7:05 pm
I found the descriptions of various types of ignorance in Wendell Berry’s “The Way of Ignorance” to be very helpful. In order to assume a more intellectually humble posture, we must recognize the various manifestations of ignorance: arrogant ignorance, ignorance of the past, willful ignorance, moral ignorance, etc. Once we recognize and accept the limits of our knowledge and understanding, we can begin to learn what it means to become wise. Wisdom, I think, is cultivated and stewarded over many decades of recognizing how little we actually know, or even can know. Pychon reflecting on his earliest body of work in “Slow Learner” says, “…if through some as yet undeveloped technology I were to run into him today, how comfortable would I feel about lending him money, or for that matter even stepping down the street to have a beer and talk over old times?” It is stunning that a novelist as prolific as Pychon would reflect upon his earliest work – and his earliest self – with these words. On the other hand, these early short stories were formative to his craft as a writer. Pychon recognizes with hindsight that his journey to becoming a compelling writer -a wise writer – was paved with much ignorance. After reading both Berry and Pychon, it’s clear to me that my own journey is rife with examples of extreme ignorance reflected in my actions or lack of action. However, these experiences that I would now recognize as at the very least guided by ignorance, have also led to some of the wisest decisions I’ve made. The relationship between ignorance and wisdom can be complex, but in order to learn wisdom, one must go the way of ignorance.