The shelves of books that i have read are mere pale shadows of that which i do now know: libraries of knowledge that fall far beyond the threshold of my ignorance. The age of mankind is littered with the artefacts of thought: codified wisdom, held in frameworks of understanding, there for us to pick up and explore. Some based in fact, some in belief.
In short succession i have just read Carlo Rovelli’s two fascinating books on time, learning, in the process, how ‘time’ does not exist, or rather, does not exist as i experience it. I won’t pretend to be able to explain the physics behind it, except to say that, as i read each paragraph twice, for one short, blissful minute (possibly a minute of my fictional thermal time), i thought i understood it.
Now i bask in the shadow of that understanding. I live in ignorance.
I am not ignorant of the thing that i formerly did not know: i am ignorant of the thing that i know exists.
I am uncertain whether i have come away with more knowledge, but i have certainly come away with a sharper impression as to the specific dimensions of my ignorance, and i am happy that this is a gap i will never bridge.
Some paragraphs i enjoyed for their content, others i appreciated for the beauty of the terms that meant nothing to me, but clearly spoke their meaning to Rovelli. A language of maths and physics that form a door to which i have no key. I guess we can find beauty in the knowledge of others.
I was reminded of the door i saw in the religious library in Fez, a door with four keys: no single scholar could open it, instead needing all the scholars together, each with their individual key, to kick the door ajar.
I am not that scholar, but i take solace in the fact that they exist. I find a certain solace in their quest.
Some problems are just hard: Rovelli himself, towards the end of his book, lapses to contemplation of mortality, and the introspection of age, other lenses through which he contemplates time.
Some knowledge i seek to know, but much will forever be beyond me. But there is a comfort in knowing that others stride through those distant aisles of the library. And in their shadow, i can take solace in the pleasure of simple ignorance.