Sharon Lebell on the value of naiveté

“The wisest among us appreciate the natural limits of our knowledge and have the mettle to preserve their naiveté. They understand how little all of us really know about anything. There is no such thing as conclusive, once-and-for-all knowledge. The wise do not confuse information or data, however prodigious or cleverly deployed, with comprehensive knowledge or transcendent wisdom. They say things like “Hmmm” or “Is that so!” a lot. Once you realize how little we do know, you are not so easily duped by fast-talkers, splashy gladhanders, and demagogues. Spirited curiosity is an emblem of the flourishing life.”

From The Art of Living: The Classical Manual on Virtue, Happiness, and Effectiveness: Epictetus: A New Interpretation by Sharon Lebell


I was just speaking of the value of naiveté with a good friend of mine today. How fortuitous that I should find this quote here on brainpickings.com.

John

 

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