Universal Truths: “If Knowledge Can Create Problems, It Is Not Through Ignorance That We Can Solve Them.”

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Through one of his profound quotes: “If knowledge can create problems, it is not through ignorance that we can solve them”, Isaac Asimov shows his perception for knowledge and ignorance as well as to what they lead. Based on his thought, the expansion of knowledge leads to expansion of problems while ignorance responds to smaller number of troubles and struggles. More knowledge causes more uncertainties and harder life whereas ignorance simplifies people’s way of living to such extent that there is no meaning in their existence.

Knowledge is the reflection of the things as they are, independently of our own subjective expectations and desires. Knowledge is the Reality, but, still, it may develop. .According to Asimov, the more we know, the more we understand that what we still don’t know is more than what we already know. As better we get to know the world around us, we see its complicity and profundity. With the expansion of our knowledge our horizon extends as well. Thus, the boundary with the Unknown becomes bigger and since the Unknown contains only problems and uncertainties, one has more contact with them. Also, knowledge may be uses in order truth to be defined. Since the ways of achieving truth are not perfect, this leads to a lot of uncertainties which create problems. Thus, the cycle is completed and reiterated- bigger knowledge would always lead to more problems.

Ignorance, however, would not lead to problems. As less knowledge one has, he struggles with fewer problems. If he is lost in ignorance, he will not be able even to differentiate problems in his life. The boundary with the Unknown will be so small that the problems he might eventually has will be simpler and easily to be solved. Also, ignorant people can’t solve the problems of knowledgeable ones, moreover, they don’t even have such troubles. Actually, if the ignorance is complete, there would be no problems at all because one would not have enough knowledge to see a problem in something. An example could be the main character’s in Gogol’s Overcoat. The character is a perfect illustration for ignorant person for whom the biggest problem is how to buy a new overcoat and how to keep it clean. Instead of paying more attention to the actual problems he has, which include problems with job, lack of family and inability for communicativeness, the character is only interested in his overcoat. Thus, he doesn’t leave anything after himself and when he dies at the end of the book, nobody goes to his funeral. With this story Gogol derides the ignorance of such people and shows their insignificance as well as their pointless existence. Ignorance doesn’t bring to such big troubles as knowledge does and thus, ignorant people’s life is simplified and maybe even happier. Instead of having to worry about many problems, one just sees the things on the surface and is not interested in the reasons which caused them as well as the consequences they might lead to. This way of thinking avoids problems, but from the other side it could be considered frivolously. Thus, ignorant people’s life is simplified and easily to be lived, but insignificant as well.

Asimov’s though might be also observed through moral point of view. More knowledge that one has leads to higher expectations from the world around us. Based on one’s broader understanding, he creates higher requirements toward the society he lives in. Because of the knowledge he has gained, his criteria changes and becomes more supreme. Thus, this strongly influences on the relations with people. Expecting from them higher morality, better understanding, valuable ideas about meaning of life, one ends up being discouraged and despondent. Realizing that anyone in the society around doesn’t response to the ‘ideal image’ makes one feel disappointed. This reflects on the attitude toward the world as a whole. For example, similar situation could be observed in Miguel De Cervantes’s novel Don Quixote . The main character lives...
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