The Infinite Thread

Wisdom, it seems, may actually be a function of how many good questions you have, not how much you know.

When you're a kid you imagine that at some point you will be an adult.  You'll be large and you'll wear nice clothes and you'll have figured out the world.  The time of being a kid is when you don't understand and the time of being an adult is when you do.


The older you get the more you realize that nobody knows anything about anything.  There isn't a single human that can tell you how the global financial system works.  There isn't a single human who can manufacture and assemble a computer mouse by herself.  There isn't a single human who can solve climate change.  As a single unit of person, we know nothing.

You come to realize, when the infamous adulthood is reached, that two things have happened and one is not what you were promised; you've gotten bigger and you have even more questions.

In the naïveté of youth, I bear the phrase 'Out there's a river that winds on forever...' in ink on my right arm.  To me, it is a reference to the complicated relationship we all have to information.

An idea comes into your mind and you pull on that infinite thread as if you're going down a river, bend by bend.

You'd think that with each pull you'd unspool the tangled mess of thoughts you once had and all would become clear; a straight, linear thread.  This could not be farther from the truth.

Within our modern systems, there is nothing that is an isolated, straight piece of yarn. As you pull the infinite thread by listening to a podcast, reading a book, digging into the world over a meal and a bottle of wine, you spontaneously summon several other rivers, several other spools of yarn, several other questions.

You will never pull until the yarn untangles.  You will never paddle a river that no longer bends.

Ideas are like a river that winds on forever.  Information is like pulling on an infinite thread.  If you're smart, you'll ask more questions and recognize that you know far less than you think you do.