Ignorance is truly bliss

  • #1
Mathnomalous
81
4
Now that I am fully immersed in my college education I have finally realized that the more I learn the less I seem I know. I always thought it was an old saying but nothing like hitting the "reality" wall to truly open your eyes. Presently, I find myself 4-5 hrs in a library hunched over a book, writing, and thinking. This situation is like a drug.

Sometimes it makes me wish I was dumb and happy; luckily, it's just a fleeting thought. The only conclusion I can draw from this situation is that it is impossible to learn everything yet you can't stop trying to learn everything.
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
rootX
465
4
I have finally realized that the more I learn the less I seem I know.
Congratulations!
 
  • #3
Mathnomalous
81
4
Thank you! The day I came upon that, I went to McDonald's and ordered a double quarter-pounder, supersize Coke and fries, 2 apple pies, and some nuggets. For a short time, I felt just as happy as the people that eat that food every single day and don't know how unhealthy it is. :rofl:
 
  • #4
Kajahtava
106
1
Dunning-Krueger effect, go look it up, fascinating thing.

Happiness is overrate I'd say by the way.
 
  • #5
fourier jr
757
13
that's like when working through a single section (or even just a problem) in a book, only to find that there are whole other books covering that same stuff in way more detail
 
  • #6
Pengwuino
Gold Member
5,124
17
You know, they say the more you learn, the less you seem to know... but think about it, people who are ignorant don't know ANYTHING! They don't even know that they know nothing!. While you on the other hand do infact know something... even if it means you know the scale of how little you know :)
 
  • #7
leroyjenkens
610
49
The more you learn, the more you realize how much there is to learn. A lot of people who think they have a good grasp on what's going on just don't have any idea of the volume of information that's even out there.
I know I can't learn everything, I just want to become smart enough to be aware of most of the stuff I don't know
Thank you! The day I came upon that, I went to McDonald's and ordered a double quarter-pounder, supersize Coke and fries, 2 apple pies, and some nuggets. For a short time, I felt just as happy as the people that eat that food every single day and don't know how unhealthy it is. :rofl:

Well you have the meat for your protein, the bread (wheat), lettuce and pickles for your vegetables, cheese for your dairy and apple for your fruit. That's the four food groups. If you got a diet coke, that would have been a perfectly healthy meal.

I haven't been to McDonalds in years. I'd rather go to a feeding trough for livestock, if there's really even a difference between the two.
 
  • #8
cronxeh
Gold Member
1,004
10
An American dream come true for one person is a nightmare for those around him.
 
  • #9
Jimmy Snyder
1,095
20
Well you have the meat for your protein, the bread (wheat), lettuce and pickles for your vegetables, cheese for your dairy and apple for your fruit. That's the four food groups.
And a healthy week's supply of salt.
 
  • #10
Kajahtava
106
1
You know, they say the more you learn, the less you seem to know... but think about it, people who are ignorant don't know ANYTHING! They don't even know that they know nothing!. While you on the other hand do infact know something... even if it means you know the scale of how little you know :)
Point is that (most) people aren't capable of feeling a 'void of knowledge', and subconsciously fill in that which they don't know with some thing they made up.

I mean, say you're in a room, say there's a wall, say there's a room behind it you never saw, I ask you 'what's behind this wall?', you may say 'Don't know?', but as soon as I have reminded you of the existence of a space behind it, you still subconsciously fill it in, you imagine some kind of room behind it. Which will undoubtedly be very far from the truth. The human mind just isn't capable of experiencing a void of knowledge, it fills it with extrapolations which are often further from the truth than just 'nothing'.

I mean, even if I type this, your mind will probably try to construct some kind of 'image' about who I am right? My guess it's around this: male, 18-25 years old, white, blonde, short hair, as soon as I type the word 'education' here you not only wonder, but also at some level fill in what I have studied until you see an example to the contrary right? The mind doesn't leave blank what it doesn't know, it fills it up, often with completely incorrect information.
 
  • #11
MotoH
47
2
That's weird. What does it feel like to not know something?
 
  • #12
Kajahtava
106
1
That's weird. What does it feel like to not know something?
Is this one directed at me?
 
  • #13
cronxeh
Gold Member
1,004
10
To add insult to injury, we not only don't know a lot of things, we tend to forget the things we've learned. The forgetting curve is truly the biggest disappointment as far as being human goes. You can't really run fast, you can't really kill most animals with your bare hands, but sure enough you are guaranteed to forget most of the things you learn, eventually. Born to die, study to forget, work to retire, it is all very zen.
 
  • #14
MotoH
47
2
Is this one directed at me?

No, I knew the answer to life, the universe, and everything when I was born.
 
  • #15
Kajahtava
106
1
This is where I stop from following you.
 
  • #16
AUK 1138
28
0
it really is quite amazing. knowledge breeds humility.

Point is that (most) people aren't capable of feeling a 'void of knowledge', and subconsciously fill in that which they don't know with some thing they made up.

I mean, say you're in a room, say there's a wall, say there's a room behind it you never saw, I ask you 'what's behind this wall?', you may say 'Don't know?', but as soon as I have reminded you of the existence of a space behind it, you still subconsciously fill it in, you imagine some kind of room behind it. Which will undoubtedly be very far from the truth. The human mind just isn't capable of experiencing a void of knowledge, it fills it with extrapolations which are often further from the truth than just 'nothing'.

I mean, even if I type this, your mind will probably try to construct some kind of 'image' about who I am right? My guess it's around this: male, 18-25 years old, white, blonde, short hair, as soon as I type the word 'education' here you not only wonder, but also at some level fill in what I have studied until you see an example to the contrary right? The mind doesn't leave blank what it doesn't know, it fills it up, often with completely incorrect information.

i've never really thought of that, but that's awesome and shocking at the same time.
 
  • #17
bassplayer142
432
0
Some people know that they don't know alot. But it doesn't make a huge impact or revalationary feeling to consider something. As of right now you feel enlightened but maybe in 5 years you will get a PhD and feel the same feeling at a greater degree. Its all relative.
 
  • #18
Kajahtava
106
1
i've never really thought of that, but that's awesome and shocking at the same time.
I find this even more interesting:

Code:
\O/
 |
/ \
See that that simple character there?

She is called Ngkonge, she lives in Gandia, is eleven years old, in a long term relationship, with another woman, she also misses an eye.

What if I told you this:

He's called John, 25 years old, he lives in California, single man, is trying to find a girlfriend though, perfect health.

My guess is that in the first story you flinched a couple of times. You expected a man, didn't you? You expected an adult, you expected a westerner, you expected a single person, you expected a straight person and a healthy person didn't you?

Wherever I go, I notice:

You have to tell people that you're black/asian/indian/whatever, they will assume you're white if you don't tell them, no one ever tells anyone they're white.

You have to identify as a female on line, people will assume you're male unless your nickname is reaaallly feminine.

You have to tell people you're occupied, people always assume you're single until you say you're occupied.

Same for all the other things.

Not only are people not capable of leaving these things open, they also have a more or less similar concept of 'neutral', see this: http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/TertiarySexualCharacteristics

If you draw a comic and give it no features, people assume it's a white adult guy, you have to explicitly draw childlike, or feminine or racial features to sway them away. Look at xkcd, the males are featureless, the girls have feminine hairdo. And all people assume both to be white is my hunch, also look at this:

spirited_away.jpg


An Asian as drawn by an Asian animation company:

http://www.tripmastermonkey.com/images/articleImages/simponsareasian_articleImage.gif

An Asian as drawn by a western animation company.

In fact, if I didn't tell you, you probably assume the girl from spirited away to be intended as a westerner. She's not, she's not intended as any thing, she's intended as 'a girl', which in the mind of a Japanese person defaults to Asian, just as it defaults to European in the west, because the European race is dominant in the west.

mimi_nendo3.jpg


A European girl as envisioned by an Asian, stereotype, nay?

Donald Duck has no gender characteristics whatsoever, Daisy is basically Donald + eyelashes + bow + skirt + high heals + overtly stereotype feminine pose.

Filthy thing eh? that human mind.
 
  • #19
GeorginaS
327
1
Some people know that they don't know alot. But it doesn't make a huge impact or revalationary feeling to consider something. As of right now you feel enlightened but maybe in 5 years you will get a PhD and feel the same feeling at a greater degree. Its all relative.

Were you just illustrating the meaning of this thread's title for us? :wink:
 
  • #20
GeorginaS
327
1
Yes, of course, it stands to reason that people living in a country where the majority of people share physical characteristics, it's fair that they assume people they encounter -- who they cannot see or hear -- fall into the majority unless expressly told otherwise. I'm failing to see the significance of that, be the people in question living in Japan, North America, Europe, or Africa. Although, if I'm frequenting a message board that originates out of, and is hosted by someone out of the UK, I'm going to assume that the majority of posters are from the UK and not North America.

I have a question for you, Kajahtava. Why do you suppose that Asian cartoonists drawing Asian characters represent those characters as having eyes with a more rounded appearance like Caucasian eyes?
 
  • #21
Kajahtava
106
1
Yes, of course, it stands to reason that people living in a country where the majority of people share physical characteristics, it's fair that they assume people they encounter -- who they cannot see or hear -- fall into the majority unless expressly told otherwise. I'm failing to see the significance of that, be the people in question living in Japan, North America, Europe, or Africa. Although, if I'm frequenting a message board that originates out of, and is hosted by someone out of the UK, I'm going to assume that the majority of posters are from the UK and not North America.
My point wasn't as much that, as what I'm getting at below:
I have a question for you, Kajahtava. Why do you suppose that Asian cartoonists drawing Asian characters represent those characters as having eyes with a more rounded appearance like Caucasian eyes?
Because that's how Japanese eyes look?

Get a drawer to it, if you measure Asian eyes and European eyes, they are almost the same hight. My point was thus that that neutral height is perceived as normal, thus Asian, by Asians, and as normal, thus European, by Europeans.

For a European to perceive eyes as Asian in a cartoon (which omits detail), it has to be ridiculously small, likewise, for an Asian for eyes to be perceived as European, they have to be ridiculously huge.

What however in the end for the most I find interesting, is that people aren't able when they see a stick figure to just mentally for themselves have a blank person in mind with nothing filled in yet. The mind can't fill things in with void, it has to fill all things in.

In fact, I think it's a symptom of a bigger problem I think, and it leaks into SCIENCE.

All right, they used to think that an object falls with a speed proportionally to its mass, right? Of course, it's easy to see that this is not true, and in fact, a lot of people tested it, and saw that it wasn't true, but also couldn't find the formula that did apply, until some one came up with the awesome idea of air friction and acceleration.

Now, the people that said it wasn't true were pretty much ignored until some one came with an a new and better formula that could replace it. People will rather believe a thing that is just trivial to show to be false, than believing nothing at all on the subject. As soon as they think of a quaestion, they have to have some answer to it, at least subconsciously, and they will sooner have an answer that is so obviously and easily false, than no answer at all and just mentally and subconsciously have an 'I don't know?' there.

I mean, see the psychiatry discussion, it's the same thing I suspect, psychiatry is obviously a very dubious practice with inconclusive backing and no hard proof to its effect and theories. But there is currently nothing that can replace it, as soon as some one comes with a scientific materialistic grounding that can solve mental problems, people will admit instantly that psychiatry was just a myth. People practised leaches before, people did exorcisms to cure the insane? Even though it's so simple to test if it works or not. But there was no solution to those cholera at that time, and people will rather believe in a lie like leaches solving it, than just admit to themselves that they simply don't have a clue how to solve it. In some cases, doing nothing at all works better than doing a counter-effective thing like draining people of blood when they need their oxygen the most. People defended Newton's infinitesimal, even though it's easy to see it's a self-contradicting concept, and Berkley's correct criticism on it was ignored, until some one had the splendid idea of the limit, and only then did people begin to admit that the infinitesimal indeed was a bit shaky.

I really don't think people are out to find truth, people are out to find some thing that can fill the void of ignorance, and if truth is not around, a lie will suffice in favour of nothing at all.
 
  • #22
Jimmy Snyder
1,095
20
Now that I am fully immersed in my college education I have finally realized that the more I learn the less I seem I know.
This effect is brought about by the specialization process. It's not that you know less, it's that you know more and more about less and less. By the time you graduate, you will know everything about nothing.
 
  • #23
Kajahtava
106
1
This effect is brought about by the specialization process. It's not that you know less, it's that you know more and more about less and less. By the time you graduate, you will know everything about nothing.
Ahahaha.
 
  • #24
leroyjenkens
610
49
Get a drawer to it, if you measure Asian eyes and European eyes, they are almost the same hight. My point was thus that that neutral height is perceived as normal, thus Asian, by Asians, and as normal, thus European, by Europeans.
Then what makes Asian eyes look different from Europeans? Are we just imagining there's a difference?
For a European to perceive eyes as Asian in a cartoon (which omits detail), it has to be ridiculously small, likewise, for an Asian for eyes to be perceived as European, they have to be ridiculously huge.
That's a caricature.
Are you saying that if an Asian person sees a cartoon character, they'll perceive that character as Asian and if a European sees it, they'll perceive it as European? What if a black person sees it? Will they ignore the skin color and see it as a black person?
What however in the end for the most I find interesting, is that people aren't able when they see a stick figure to just mentally for themselves have a blank person in mind with nothing filled in yet. The mind can't fill things in with void, it has to fill all things in.
Is this your theory? Because when I see a stick figure, I don't fill anything in. I see the stick figure for what it is; a stick figure.
 
  • #25
Stratosphere
373
0
"If Ignorance Is Bliss, Why Aren't There More Happy People?"
 
  • #26
GeorginaS
327
1
Is this your theory? Because when I see a stick figure, I don't fill anything in. I see the stick figure for what it is; a stick figure.

Okay good. I thought I was the only one but didn't want to come across as suggesting I'm soooo special that I deviate from the norm. The stick figure is a stick figure. Actually, I looked at it and then looked at my keyboard to try and figure out how I could make one of them too. I didn't fill in anything about it, though.
 
  • #27
Kajahtava
106
1
Then what makes Asian eyes look different from Europeans? Are we just imagining there's a difference?
The difference in real people is minute geometrically speaking.

That's a caricature.
What is?
Are you saying that if an Asian person sees a cartoon character, they'll perceive that character as Asian and if a European sees it, they'll perceive it as European? What if a black person sees it? Will they ignore the skin color and see it as a black person?
Nope, because a black person again has clear characteristics, again, look at this:

http://www.biojobblog.com/uploads/image/dr-hibbert-from-the-simpsons.jpg [Broken]

Observe the skin tone and the hair.

Now observe this:

http://vnmedia.ign.com/vault.ign.com/images/rerolled/homer-simpson.gif [Broken]

Apparently this guy is a white adult male. But he's yellow? Also his hair lacks any detail whatsoever. He doesn't have any racial features at all.

Unrealistic skin colour and hair -> white male in the perception of most people.

To make it a black male, you need to add a realistic skin tone for that race in the perception of most people.

Featurelessness -> default what people subconsciously perceive as 'normal', in the west, that is usually the white adult male.

I mean, the big catch in Metroid was that Samus was actually female, people always assume it's male if you don't give any indication of gender.

Is this your theory? Because when I see a stick figure, I don't fill anything in. I see the stick figure for what it is; a stick figure.
No, not at all, it's actually a common thing in comic books too.

Look at xkcd, the males are plain stick figures, the females have added tertiary gender characteristics. I'm sure there are some people don't aren't as susceptible to it. But in general, that is how drawings work, it even has a term in the literature I linked, it's called 'tertiary gender characteristics', the behaviour that in cartoons, the males have no gender characteristics, and the females have extreme stereotypes. Mickey is just a mouse, Minnie however has eyelashes and a bow.
 
Last edited by a moderator:
  • #28
leroyjenkens
610
49
The difference in real people is minute geometrically speaking.
True, there's not much of a difference, but there's a difference between an Asian eye and a European eye. If you showed me pictures of just eyes, most of the time, I could distinguish which ones are Asian (oriental) and which ones are not.
What is?
Small slanted eyes for Asians and huge eyes for Europeans. I could draw a quick caricature of an Asian person where their features are exaggerated and you could tell that it's an Asian person. If I wanted to make it realistic, it would take a little bit more time to draw it non-exaggerated, but for you to still be able to determine it's an Asian person. Like you said, the differences are geometrically not that different.
Nope, because a black person again has clear characteristics, again, look at this:
So the gist of what you're saying is that if there's a cartoon character that looks "normal", Europeans will say it's a European and Asians will say it's an Asian?
Apparently this guy is a white adult male. But he's yellow? Also his hair lacks any detail whatsoever. He doesn't have any racial features at all.

Unrealistic skin colour and hair -> white male in the perception of most people.

To make it a black male, you need to add a realistic skin tone for that race in the perception of most people.

Featurelessness -> default what people subconsciously perceive as 'normal', in the west, that is usually the white adult male.
I kind of see what you're saying. But why don't we perceive Homer as Asian, since his skin color is yellow? Is it because of the eyes? Do Asians perceive Homer as Asian?
I mean, the big catch in Metroid was that Samus was actually female, people always assume it's male if you don't give any indication of gender.
Did girls who played Metroid assume Samus was a female?
Look at xkcd, the males are plain stick figures, the females have added tertiary gender characteristics. I'm sure there are some people don't aren't as susceptible to it. But in general, that is how drawings work, it even has a term in the literature I linked, it's called 'tertiary gender characteristics', the behaviour that in cartoons, the males have no gender characteristics, and the females have extreme stereotypes. Mickey is just a mouse, Minnie however has eyelashes and a bow.
Are you saying we perceive the normal stick figures as men because we're men? Does that mean women perceive them as women, until the stick figure with boobs is introduced?
 
  • #29
Kajahtava
106
1
True, there's not much of a difference, but there's a difference between an Asian eye and a European eye. If you showed me pictures of just eyes, most of the time, I could distinguish which ones are Asian (oriental) and which ones are not.
Ah yes, but as we know, the human brain has two recognition centra, one for human faces, and one for all the other things, however it doesn't apply that easily to cartoons.

Small slanted eyes for Asians and huge eyes for Europeans. I could draw a quick caricature of an Asian person where their features are exaggerated and you could tell that it's an Asian person. If I wanted to make it realistic, it would take a little bit more time to draw it non-exaggerated, but for you to still be able to determine it's an Asian person. Like you said, the differences are geometrically not that different.
Ahh, but the point is that Asians that if we make it non exaggerated and not make it photorealistic but still in all effects a cartoon. Asians will perceive it as Asians and westerners as westerners is the idea.

So the gist of what you're saying is that if there's a cartoon character that looks "normal", Europeans will say it's a European and Asians will say it's an Asian?
Exactly.

I kind of see what you're saying. But why don't we perceive Homer as Asian, since his skin color is yellow? Is it because of the eyes? Do Asians perceive Homer as Asian?
Apparently not even skin colour is enough, it needs the eyes for us.

And yes, if Simpsons was dubbed in CJK, speaking, C, J, or K respectively, they would probably subconsciously perceive it as an Asian until told otherwise.

The same for the girl from Spirited Away speaking English, people here really don't realize she's Asian.

Did girls who played Metroid assume Samus was a female?

Are you saying we perceive the normal stick figures as men because we're men? Does that mean women perceive them as women, until the stick figure with boobs is introduced?
No, that's the interesting part, it's not about the ego, black people here also perceive it as white males adults.

Now, children do perceive it as children oftentimes, so it seems to be related to what's important in your culture. It's a man's world, and it's a white's culture. White males are simply the dominant group here, little to deny about it. So they become registered in the subconscious mind as the 'default', all other things are 'special' and 'not normal'. Giving out no clear cues to what it is, the mind perceives it as 'default', that is, a white male.

Cyanide & Happiness and The Doghouse Diaries are also interesting, for this, because they both only feature women, or other races than white, if it's essential to the clue of the comic. If not, and either could, it's always white males, or rather, featureless bald stick figure comics with a beige tone. For it to be female, one has to add stereotypically female hair.


I think the things with the eye is because unrealistic comes down to featureless for the mind, because the mind cannot place it into any thing. Unrealistic skin colour -> white.

You know, if you make a cartoon series and make every character in that purple, with strange unrealistic anatomy and one eye, aliens, it some times happens, people will subconsciously think of them as 'white males', and even at a lot of times introduce females and black males / females to them by giving them the appropriate stereotypes. Just think of it, it does happen a lot.

Bowser: http://vally8.free.fr/jeux/papermario/images/bowser.jpg

Girl bowser: http://i23.photobucket.com/albums/b377/Vergil146/Bowser__s_motives_by_DistantJ.jpg
 
  • #30
Zantra
781
3
We must learn our limits. We are all something, but none of us are everything

We are all just chained in that cave staring at the images on the wall, waiting for something to break us free to see what's behind us. Some people are just content to keep staring at the wall.
 
  • #31
Kajahtava
106
1
By the way, about the original topic. It might not be just a human property, it might also be due to the fact that most institutions teach in the inverted order. I was just reading: http://docs.plt-scheme.org/guide/intro.html when I realized some-thing.

It's a comprehensive guide into the Scheme programming language (wonderful language if you don't know it by the way, it eats FORTRAN, but that aside), but as you read it, each new page basically tells you 'Okay, what we told you before actually wasn't completely true, it goes deeper than that.'

I mean, they start by saying you can define a function like (define (name argument) function-body), then they tell you that is actually a special syntactic sugar for (define name (lambda (argument) function-body)), and on and on and on...

As far as I know Scheme, the quintessential property of Scheme is that code = data. If (a . b) is an ordered pair and () a special constant, the last code is actually just some syntactic shorthand for:

Code:
(define . ([I][U]name[/U][/I] . (lambda . (([I][U]argument[/U][/I] . () ) . ([I][U]function-body[/U][/I] . ())))))
Which is how Scheme works, the implementation basically re-aranges and transforms such data which is provided in some ad hoc form to simulate functional programming, but in reality, it's just a datastructure translator, and in such a datastructure we can basically encode a function.

If they started from the bottom up explaining all things correctly, there wouldn't be a 'the more you learn, the less you know' feeling each time you realize that things are more complex than you thought. There would be a 'the more you learn, the more you know' feeling, you don't find out that things are a little more complex than you first thought, because that never happens. Same thing with all things, they first teach you calculus before you even know what a function is. They first teach that to say 'He has ...' in Finnish is 'Sillä on ...' and later on you see it actually means 'On that/it/her/him is ...'

I had some debates about this, they called me insane on #scheme for thinking that learning it bottom-up instead of top-down is a superior method to understand the language. I learned German top-down, all kinds of phrases I learned before understand the systematics behind it. I learn Old English bottom-up, I first learned the phonology, then the grammar together with all linguistic data on the pattern behind the umlauts (which also greatly expanded my knowledge of German) and even though I had about three times as much time for German, and the latter way had a learning curve, I'm probably the only Dutch person on the planet who has less troubles reading Old English than German nowadays.

Especially in programming languages, understanding just exactly what happens before using it of course is essential to security.
 

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