Copyright © Louis Schmier and Atwood Publishing.

Date: Wed, 19 Jan 2000 03:32:53 -0500 (EST)
Random Thought: When Knowledge Is Ignorance

Good morning. It's 3:00 a.m. and I am wide awake. Try as I may, my eyelids refuse to get heavy. So, here I am at the computer desperate for a visit from Morpheus, when a phrase once again popped into my head. It has been bouncing around in the back of my mind for the past few weeks. It was put on the table by a professor at a flagship university during an extended discussion about the Boyer report on reconsidering the relationship and status of scholarship and teaching. "I will never be convinced....." she finally said with defiant certitude, and the exchange was suddenly ended. Such an uncreative, unimaginative, inflexible, stagnating, close-minded proclamation from such a knowledgeable person.

And, over the past few weeks I intermittently and slowly thought of the unspeakable. There are times and instances when knowledge is ignorance.

Knowledge is ignorance? How can that be? They're not synonomous terms. Ham 'n eggs partners they ain't. Knowledge is beautiful and therapeutical; ignorance pimply and ugly and is pathological. Knowledge, we are told, is an essential serum for the eradication of ignorance, not it's carrier. They are contradictory; they are antithetical. They are not allies. They, the forces of light and dark, of progress and stagnation, are uncompromising foes engaged in mental, intellectual and spiritual battles of biblical proportions. They cannot be the same.

Ah, but they can walk hand in hand indistinguishable from each other as if they were identifcal twins dressed alike. Let me tell you how I think that is possible.

If knowledge is only a narrow spotlight rather than a broad floodlight, if it is a set of blinders that tunnels our vision and blots out the broad horizon, if we teach or are taught only answers rather than to question the answers, if we teach or are taught to see one way, one approach, one technique--the way we do it now--if we teach or are taught not to see other ways or the possibility of other ways or to encourage experimentation with other ways, then, knowledge is pathological; it is blinding, deafening, paralyzing ignorance.

I'm going to give the pillow one more shot. Otherwise, I'm going to be a zombie. Got an 8:00 a.m. class coming up for starters. Good night--I hope.

Make it a good day. 


Louis Schmier           
Department of History    
Valdosta State University
Valdosta, GA  31698                        /~\    /\ /\
912-333-5947                       /^\    /   \  /  /~ \     /~\__/\
                                  /   \__/     \/  /     /\ /~      \
                            /\/\-/ /^\___\______\_______/__/_______/^\
                          -_~     /  "If you want to climb mountains, \ /^\
                             _ _ /      don't practice on mole hills" -\____

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