I gave my all to know and understand but have not given my all to share or communicate that which I have learned and understood. In which state am I the worst, being content in ignorance or selfish in possession? I understand we will all make it, in whatever way we may define making it, until we don't and after that it's out of our hands.

closed as primarily opinion-based by virmaior, Keelan Jan 23 '18 at 19:16

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    I fail to see why this should be a dichotomy. Why does it have to be in terms of "giving all"? Isn't there like a middle ground, that is more fruitfull? – CaZaNOx Jan 20 '18 at 19:02
  • To cazanox, none of us mere humans give our all in pursuit as we must eat, sleep, and eliminate bodily waste. I mean all of the intent we can muster. – This human Jan 21 '18 at 12:48

Each and every human is wishing for contentment in life. It is a great thing. You needn't worry even if the contentment is because of ignorance.

On the other hand, a learned man if he is selfish, we can make sure that he hasn't learned the actual thing that is to be acquired through learning (because the required behavioral change is not seen in him). He is egocentric.

So, being selfish in possession is worse than being content in ignorance. [That is, not giving our all to share or communicate that which we have learned is worse.]

You can read some explanations (that support this) in the Bhagavad Gita.


  • Thank you for your answer mr thought. I worry myself in hope for the discontent of humanity. – This human Jan 22 '18 at 1:03
  • Sharing is a good remedy for many problems now we are facing. It can do wonders. – SonOfThought Jan 22 '18 at 13:34

Let's break this into two questions:

  1. Is it important to "give our all" to know and understand to begin with?
  2. Is it important to share what we've learned with others?

I think it's safe to say that most philosophers see virtue in striving to understand the world we live in. But some people (possibly including a few philosophers) would argue that ignorance is bliss. (I personally don't agree, but I have learned that the truth can be very painful, and broadcasting that truth can alienate friends and loved ones.)

The simple fact that philosophers have recorded their thoughts and ideas suggest they also believe it's important to educate others...but that's far easier said than done.

In the scientific arena, there doesn't appear to be a huge problem. Scientists have been learning and sharing their knowledge for generations. Millions of people are eager to learn the latest news about the evolution, psychology and the cosmos.

In the philosophical arena things are a little more confusing. However, there are people who are interested in philosophy and who are eager to share what they've learned.

The political arena is very different. In contrast to science, one has to navigate an ocean of propaganda and a multitude of cognitive biases before one can even understand. The next step, sharing that knowledge with others, can be even harder. In fact, most people would probably give up in despair.

So we might once again look at this from two different perspectives, personal and community, or holistic.

If you believe that knowledge has value to the larger community (or the human race), then sharing that knowledge would appear to be a good thing.

But even if, for some reason, you can't share that knowledge, it's still good to continue observing, studying and thinking for your own sake.

The Greek philosophers appeared to be quite arrogant; they thought their philosophical pondering made them superior to other people. And, in a sense, they may have been right. How can you teach someone something you don't know yourself?

We can also look at your question from both a philosophical and practical perspective. Do you want to educate people because you think it will somehow improve the quality of their lives? Or do you believe in knowledge for the sake of knowledge?

There are obviously practical advantages to knowledge. Inventions like electricity are damn handy, and it's comforting knowing that Medieval superstitions (like burning cats and witches) are no longer in vogue.

But even if you can't convince others to believe some of the things you've learned, the simple pursuit of knowledge and truth can be a fulfilling quest for some people. It all stems from curiosity, which is one of the most important aspects of our consciousness.

So I would argue that not sharing knowledge and ideas, though bad, is NOT as bad as not attempting to learn and understand in the first place. The first step in your journey is to EDUCATE YOURSELF.

Educating others is the next step. But remember the saying, you can lead a horse to water but you can't make it drink.

One final perspective: I feel great sympathy for people who are oppressed by corrupt political systems. But at the same time, I can't help but feel a little contempt when I discover that so many of these people don't appear to make an effort to think, let alone fight back. (I suspect the ancient Greek philosophers might have shared this sentiment.)

In reading about the Latin American revolutionary Che Guevara, I sense that he experienced something similar; his idealism was blunted by the reality that the people he wanted to help were crippled by ignorance, laziness or whatever.

Which begs the question, do we have an obligation to help people who can't be helped? I haven't abandoned the cause, but my first obligation is to educate myself.

  • Dear Mr Blomstrom, thank you for your time and effort. I am not saying believe as I. I am saying investigate what is written, Bible, and seek assistance of the One that is written of in openness that He who is more than mere human, such as I and the writers of Bible, may provide greater understanding and ability to communicate as He has for me in understanding and as I desire for Him to in my communication ability. – This human Jan 21 '18 at 13:09

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