Jack Godbey: You don’t know what you don’t know until you know it

Published 4:37 pm Monday, December 12, 2022

Have you ever met someone who thought they knew everything? I had a co-worker that assumed I was interested in having a conversation and the more he spoke, the more it became clear that he was an expert in everything. The more I tried to pretend I wasn’t listening, the louder he spoke. He spoke about his extensive travels, and said he wanted to travel out of the country. When I asked him what country he wanted to go too he said, “Probably Alaska”. I decided it was time to just walk away.

My run in with my co-worker brought to mind my favorite quote that says, “It’s better to remain quiet and have folks think your stupid than open your mouth and remove all doubt”. I thought about how humans tend to think we know everything about the world around us although we clearly do not.

With every bit of information at our fingertips with a quick Google search, it’s easy for us to think we have all the answers. However, if you think about it, we know very little about the world around us. I read an article that said over 80% of the world’s oceans are still unexplored. This must be where the Loch Ness Monster and Bigfoot have been hanging out this whole time. I bet that’s where my Publishers Clearing House Sweepstakes entry is as well.

We develop campaigns to save the whales thinking we know best. In reality, the whales can take care of themselves. If we would just leave them alone. Unlike humans, whales don’t have issues with homelessness, racism, or poverty. Maybe they should start a save the humans campaign?

Scientists try to push information down our throats when they may not know what they are talking about. I can remember not so long ago we were told that eggs should be avoided at all costs due to raising cholesterol. Now they rave about their nutrition benefits. I’m waiting patiently for them to change their mind about Oreo’s and discover they have been full of vitamins all along.

We try to label and categorize everything around us and assume if we don’t know about something then it must not exist. Science still can’t explain UFO’s or near-death experiences despite the fact that we know everything. We pretend to know the migration patterns of birds flying south for the winter but can’t produce a GPS that doesn’t try to make me take a left turn on a road that doesn’t exist. We build rockets to try to find life on Mars but still can’t make a grocery cart that doesn’t have at least one wheel that wobbles like a bowl of Jell-O. If we can’t figure out how to make underwear that doesn’t ride up and socks that don’t fall down, then I doubt we can conquer discovering alien life.

There’s another study I heard about to discover why we yawn. Maybe I can help. I yawn when I’m sleepy. Study completed. Compared to humans from a hundred years ago, I suppose we have learned a thing or two about our world. However, we don’t know everything. If we did, we’d know why those yawns are so contagious.