Thursday, February 11, 2010

What do We Know?

When I was a kid, I thought adults knew a lot. I thought adults knew nearly everything. That they had all the answers. It was a comforting thought. In case I had any doubt, I'd ask an adult and that was it. The doubt was gone. With this method any possible doubt could be eliminated very easily. The world was simple.

Today I'm an adult and I see it is not quite like that. At this point I ask myself what do we know?

We know a little about economy. Today I know why doesn't the toys store sell remote controlled car miniatures for 10 cents each, as I suggested my father once: "Dad, I don't understand why do stores sell toys for such expensive prices. Damn, if I owned a store I would sell each toy for 2 "Cruzados Novos" (brazilian currency at the time, witch was not worth much) each. I would sell so many toys in this way, so many toys, that I am sure I would make more money than all other stores." But my father patiently explained me how things work. He explained me how shops need to pay employees and buy toys from a factory which has more employees and has to buy raw materials and so on. In summary, he explained nothing is for free in the world. I, more or less, understood that explanation, that is, children can understand basic economics. From that to understanding the international stock market it requires just a little more reasoning.

We know some math, if we decided to pay some attention to those lectures at school. We know some biology (Darwin is the man!), a bit of physics (Newton and Einsten are also the men!) which we developed a lot to better bomb and kill each other. We know a little history, but not enough to avoid the same mistakes and wars to repeat over and over throughout the planet. We know how to program computers. Now I know a bit about such things, which I didn't know as a kid. But is that it? We invented economy ourselves. And we invented math, physics and biology. We invented computers and registered history. But what do we know about the world? About life? Damn, adults should have all of the answers. I think I have so few. Actually, we are not really sure of anything. Anything at all.

And we see so many obviously wrong in the world. Hungry children, people bombing each other under the archaic pretext of "religion", well paid shameless politicians stealing their own countries, wars for oil... just to state a few of the thousands of examples. And we don't see significant efforts to change all that. You know what, adults look like children! Children with guns in their hands and with the arrogant looks of adults with all the answers. Pathetic. Sometimes the world seems just pathetic.

No, I don't have any solution. This is just a grumpy text. Socrates was right when he said "All I know is I know nothing". And, since we mentioned Socrates, do you know what did he die of, dear reader? He was executed by poisoning under the accusation of having "corrupted the minds of the young in Athens". Responsible for his conviction were the politicians of the time. Adults who certainly knew all the answers... I honestly don't think I know so much more than I knew at the age of 12, if you know what I mean.

Translated from my original post in Portuguese.

1 comment:

Sapna said...

That is very true Leo. Also, I guess a PhD aided in it. A PhD also teaches you that you know nothing and everyone also knows nothing. :) It's time you finished the PhD.