Wednesday, December 24, 2008

The more I learn, the less I know

The other night I was watching Anthony Bourdain trekking through Peru and he made a comment (I'm sorry but I don't know who said it first) that the more he learned, the less he knew.  

At first it sounded quite paradoxical, but then, as I thought about it, it began to make sense.  When we are born we know nothing, our world is the six inches in front of us; but, as we absorb all that we come into contact with, our world expands.  

As a child we are the center of our own universes.  Everything outside is a mere abstraction.  But the more knowledge we absorb the more we come to understand that we are but a small piece in a much larger mosaic.

The same dynamic continues as we move into adulthood.  Seven years ago my (now)wife and I spent the holidays backpacking through Spain.  In those two-and-a-half weeks I learned a lot about Spain, her traditions and her history, but I also learned a lot about myself, my relationship with my wife and my country.  Things kind of fell into perspective as I sat in a church that was built before the pilgrims landed in the Americas for midnight mass.

As a criminal defense attorney I find the more I learn about DWI law, the breath test machine, police coordination tests, jury selection and closing argument, the less I know.  Every new door I open up reveals another.

Strive to know less.

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