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Discussion 1 to Meditation 683
Humility and Wisdom

by: Will Petillo

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Jasmine:

I suspect your friends consider your point of view ignorant for the same reason that “if you are so apathetic, then why start a web site?” is on the list of frequently asked questions on this web site’s homepage.  Namely, they are confusing your humility with something akin to anti-intellectualism. 

When you say that you “don’t care” about the origin of the universe, I imagine you mean this in the sense that, although you may find intellectual discussions about topics like string theory intensely interesting, you really have nothing at stake in the outcome.  Believe it or not, that is not an intuitive interpretation of apathy for most people.  I’ll bet that your friends, when they hear you say that you “don’t care” about the origin of the universe, think you are expressing boredom and disinterest in what they consider a fascinating topic and want to pull the conversation towards something less intellectual.  Thus, when they say that your point of view is “ignorant,” they are not criticizing your lack of certainty (as you pointed out, they don’t know the origin of the universe either), they are criticizing what they perceive as your lack of interest in increasing your knowledge. 

Point out this misconception and explain the distinction between different meanings of “apathy” and I wager that, not only will they stop calling your point of view “ignorant,” they will be impressed by your humility and wisdom.