To understand the World you are brought face to face with obscure concepts, difficult physics problems, and theories that are as complex to postulate as they are to validate. You are dealing with elusive questions at the very edge of Human understanding , where it does not help to consult physics textbooks or history because nothing of the sort had ever been attempted before. A place where you are alone.
Humans often fool themselves into thinking they know more than they do because they might be using an arsenal of many names. But, knowing the name amounts to nothing if you do not know what lies behind the name.
And to know what lies behind it, you must be willing to explore the edge of your understanding, rigorously and with a Love of truth, while at the same time keeping in mind the fact that not knowing does not have to be scary – indeed, it is what makes the whole thing fun.
One kid says to me, ‘See that bird? What kind of bird is that?’ I said, ‘I haven’t the slightest idea what kind of a bird it is.’ He says, ‘It’s a brown-throated thrush. Your father doesn’t teach you anything!’ But it was the opposite. He had already taught me: ‘See that bird?’ he says. ‘It’s a Spencer’s warbler.’ (he didn’t know the real name.)
‘Well, in Italian, it’s a Chutto Lapittida. In Portuguese, it’s a Bom da Peida. In Chinese, it’s a Chung-long-tah, and in Japanese, it’s a Katano Tekeda. You can know the name of that bird in all the languages of the World, but when you’re finished, you’ll know absolutely nothing whatever about the bird. You’ll only know about Humans in different places, and what they call the bird. So let’s look at the bird and see what it’s doing — that’s what counts.’
I learned early the difference between knowing the name of something and knowing something. And knowing the name of something does not mean you understand it.
Either you make the effort to understand what is around you or you satisfy yourself with a pretense of knowledge through parrot-like repetition of the names someone else had come up with. It is a little like demanding to be given fish to eat, but refusing to be taught fishing.