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Knowledge Gaps

3 October 2013

Because of a conversation at work yesterday, I realized I didn’t know quite where Estonia was. I had some vague sense that it was somewhere near Finland, but if you’d given me one of those blank maps they give third-graders, I would’ve probably pointed at the wrong country.

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Of course, this isn’t a blog entry on my failure to properly locate Estonia. It’s more about knowing what we don’t know.

If someone had asked me yesterday to point out Estonia on a map, or diagram the major ethnic groups that make up its population, I’d have told them “I don’t know.” (Today, I could tell you all of that. Thanks, Wikipedia!)

It’s not a stretch to say that most of us (Stephen Hawking and Mark Cuban aside) don’t know more things than we know. The tricky bit comes when we think we know something, or when we’re sure we know something. That colors our perceptions of learning new things.

So, today, I don’t know anything. I’m free to learn everything.

Of course, the sources we learn from can also color our perceptions… but that’s a blog for another time.

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