Knowing, now and in the future

I must doff my hat to Robert S. because during the course of our correspondence he has mentioned a sneaky but significant idea. “Sneaky” because it has burrowed its way into my mind and made for itself a cosy home. The idea is this: We don’t know half as much as we think, and we’ll never know half as much as we’d like.

Visualised, part one.

we know nothing 1

Visualised, part two.

we know nothing 2

The tendency of humanity is, first, to overestimate our current epistemic reality—we think we know more than we actually do—and second, to overestimate our future epistemic potential—we think we’ll be able to know more than we actually will.

This is one of those concepts that makes me think, “What the hell am I supposed to do with that?” But after reflecting upon the notion of humanity’s epistemic arrogance, I think the answer is, quite simply, “Keep it in mind in order to keep our selves in check.”