"Only the very ignorant are perfectly satisfied that they know. To the common man the great problems are easy. He has no trouble in accounting for the universe. He can tell you the origin and destiny of man and the why and wherefore of things."
- Robert Green Ingersoll in "Liberty In Literature" (1890)
Some ideas of my own on the quote:
A sad fact of life is that the more you accumulate knowledge, the more acutely aware you often became of limits of your true knowledge. Robert G. Ingersoll points out that only a person with a very limited view of all available knowledge can harbor a misconception of having found some final and unmovable answers to the really big questions concerning our universe.
This situation is made even more complicated by the fact that the more you acquire knowledge, the more you usually do become aware of the fleeting nature of most of it.
However, outside the realms of mathematics and some parts of natural sciences, there are very few truly immutable facts. The true scientific method is based on the very basic idea that there are no scientific ideas or findings that cannot be reviewed and analyzed again if refining our knowledge requires it.
This rule stands, even if a fact has been see as true for a long tine. This needs to be done, even if chancing some very basic findings or ideas can require rethinking of big chunks of knowledge.
Absolute certainties are very comforting and reassuring. This may even be the main reason why people choose to believe in their existence, even if their reason says that absolute certainty is just on illusion. Even more the illusion of absolute certainty is often manufactured for just the exact purpose of creating these feelings of comfort and assurance.
(This piece was refurbished on 31th of October, 2012)
"Robert Green "Bob" Ingersoll (August 11, 1833 – July 21, 1899) was a Civil War veteran, American political leader, and orator during the Golden Age of Freethought."
Robert G. Ingersoll is also in Facebook at: