I just began reading The Discoverers by Daniel Boorstin. Boorstin, the former Librarian of Congress Emeritus, Nobel Prize-Winning historian and author of numerous books, wrote The Discoverers as a "History of man's search to know his world and himself." Beginning with the discovery of time, Boorstin not only chronicles man's great discoveries but also...
These "illusions of knowledge"--everything we were so sure we already knew--were, in many ways, the greatest obstacles to discovery. Not only did they dull our curiosity and temper our ambition, in some cases they created real, violent opposition to the discoverer's quest for the truth from his or her contemporaries.
I take comfort from this. Perhaps it means I'm on to something.
What "illusions of knowledge" plague us today? Which certainties are currently thwarting discovery? I plan to search my own heart as I read the book. I'm certain I'm blinded by many assumptions. I encourage you to do the same. It seems a good time for us all to adopt Boorstin's attitude that, as he says in his note to the reader, "This is a story without end. All the world is still an America. The most promising words ever written on the maps of human knowledge are terra incognita--unknown territory."
Spread the fire. GS