Unknown Unknowns

How hidden ignorance governs our lives

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We are completely ignorant to almost all of our ignorance. That which we do not understand dwarves that which we do understand.

In all areas of knowledge — psychology, technology, biology, physics, product development, economics, business, human behavior, ... — there's a lot that we, individually, don't know about.

However smart, knowledgeable, or experienced we are, a large part of the total landscape of knowledge remains outside of our field of understanding.

However, it might often not seem this way since much of what we don't know isn't obvious to us. We don't know what we don't know.

For basically any topic — whether personal, professional, political, scientific, societal, or cultural — there exist a whole range of facts, facets, and nuances that we are ignorant of; without realizing it.

It's only through consistent exploration, cultivation of curiosity, and self-directed learning and tinkering that we continuously expand our knowledge and can stumble upon that which enlightens our understanding of ourselves and of the world.

To Remember

"The more you know, the more you know you don't know."

— Aristotle

"We live on an island surrounded by a sea of ignorance. As our island of knowledge grows, so does the shore of our ignorance."

— John Archibald Wheeler


➞ This Wiki page explains the closely related concept of the Four stages of competence.

➞ This beautifully aesthetic Aperture video gives a glimpse into the abundance of unknowns.


For a structured list of fascinating booksblogspodcasts, and Youtube channels related to rational analysis and decision making, visit mindvault.co/vault/unknowns.

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