Questioning My Quest for Knowledge

October 7, 2011 / Philosophy, Psychology / 8 Comments

I’ve always been an inquisitive child. My bedtime story books were primarily encyclopedias. It’s not out of tiger mother coercion. It was simply the thrill and joy of knowing how the world worked. I loved learning about the stars, the plates beneath the Earth, the times before mankind dominated the world.

Into my teens, I became more fascinated with society. How the world ended up going into two world wars, and why the French Revolution happened.

And as I stepped into my college years, I discovered the world of political philosophy. What is a good, virtuous life? What is a good, virtuous society? Justice? Love? Beauty?

Or is it Truth and Wisdom?

Now into my 20s, my pursuit for philosophical knowledge progressed into my thirst for psychology. Why do people do the things they do, say the things they say? More importantly, why do I do the things I do, why do I say the things I say?

Then, I could see — see how the world really worked. How one act, one thought, one feeling can affect the whole world. And that everything in this world was connected one way or another.

I thought bliss would come with knowledge and wisdom. I thought truth and enlightenment would make life more fulfilling.

But it didn’t.

I’ve fallen into a funk recently. I can’t bring myself to read another book and my Google Reader has been showing 1000+ for the past few weeks. A part of me can’t help but feel like that there’s no light at the end of the tunnel. That my generation will be forced to clean up the impending mess that humanity’s collective actions of the past and present are bringing. It’s a dreadful feeling. A lost hope. A lost generation. (The link points to a fantastic read by Umair Haque, by the way.)

The same part of me also wished I hadn’t embarked on this journey. I used to scoff at the idiom Ignorance in bliss. But now I’m starting to see that there’s perhaps some virtue in ignorance.

But of course, one can’t possibly unsee what one sees. I can only continue walking until I reach my destination. Hopefully, the Sun Socrates promised will still be waiting when I get there.