Sharing a Story on Ignorance


The only good is knowledge and the only evil is ignorance.”  ― Socrates

One time when Confucius was traveling to East China, he came across two young boys arguing with each other. Confucius asked them about their argument. One boy said, “I believe that the rising sun is closer, and the midday sun is further away.”

The other boy claimed confidently, “I think the midday sun is closer and the morning sun is farther from us.”

The first boy repeated, “The rising sun is as big as the wheel of a vehicle, and the midday sun is only the size of a dish since an object looks bigger nearby but smaller farther away.”

The second boy said, “Weather is cold with the morning sun, and it is as hot at noon. Don’t you know that a burning object makes us feel warmer when it is closer?”

After presenting their arguments, when both boys asked Confucius’s opinion, Confucius said, “I actually do not know.”

Confucius, a wise Zen master, once told his students, “I am going to teach you about knowledge. What you know, you say you know; what you don’t know, you say you don’t know. Then you are a real knowledgeable person.”

The Zen master was not afraid of saying ‘I do not know.’ He chose to acknowledge this fact rather than being pretentious about it. Why pretend to know everything and live in a world of ignorance? When you can explore the world of knowledge by learning something new every day.

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