Being curious and willing to learn is most useful
The simple statement “I know!” coupled with arrogance is probably the least important and least useful attitude to have at any time. That is because, this “I know it already” attitude blocks other perspectives from coming in. And listening to another perspective, if nothing else, could lead to a better understanding of what one already knows. A better understanding means that one now knows a little more than what one thought they knew. So, in that sense, what one thought one knew before was not complete. So, even when one is completely convinced that what they know is all there is to know, the truth most probably is that they do not know everything there is about that subject. Simply put, I might know more about something than others, and that does not mean that I know everything there is to know. So, when I say, “I know,” is that really true? And more importantly, is that useful?
“I already know” acts like a door that prevents anything new from coming in. It does not allow new thinking, views and thoughts to enter. And the Dalai Lama, says it beautifully, “When you talk, you are only repeating what you already know. But if you listen, you may learn something new.” Regardless of anything that one believes their knowledge to be, it is important to stay curious and willing to learn. A little more on that, and how having this attitude might be very useful, in this article. And both the “for and against” are being listed out.
“When you talk, you are only repeating what you already know. But if you listen, you may learn something new.” – The Dalai Lama
In the iconic Thamizh movie, and one of my personal favourites, “Thillu Mullu” (starring the one and only Rajinikanth, and directed by his mentor K.Balachander) there is a scene of an interview. Incidentally, this movie is the remake of the very popular Hindi movie, Gol Maal, starring Amol Palekar and Utpal Dutt. In this particular scene, Rajinikanth (as A A K Chandran – or Ayyampettai Arivudainambi Kaliaperumal Chandran) is being interviewed for a job by “Thengai” (Coconut) Srinivasan, who plays “Sriramachandramurthy,” a very strict business owner, with some fixed views on many subjects. Let this not become a review of the movie. (Another aside is that this is probably a movie I have watched the most number of times; I won’t mention the number though!)
In this particular scene, Chandran tells Sriramachandramurthy, the interviewer, “Sir, my father has told me this – In this world there is none who is superior to you; so you do not need to feel that you are less than anyone else. Similarly, there is none in the world who is inferior to you – so never ever think less of anyone else. This is what my father has taught me, and this to me is the gospel.
In this world there is none who is superior to you; so you do not need to feel that you are less than anyone else. Similarly, there is none in the world who is inferior to you – so never ever think less of anyone else.
To me personally, in many ways, this has been the way to be. Respect each and every person the same way. Of course, there are always some who have made a deeper impression or a greater contribution, and these people will always have a special place in my heart. These are people I remember with the greatest gratitude and affection – my parents, my gurus, and those who have contributed to making my life better.
And this “equality of all beings” is the truth. Each and every one of us, and each and every being on this planet is equal. Each knows something that the other might not. Take the example of someone who is not financially well off, and looking to survive from taking alms ( am intentionally not using the term “beggar”.) This person knows something I might not – that of abject poverty, and constantly living with hunger for food. I do not know that! So, there exists someone who knows something I do not. And so on, there are countless others who know something I do not, and I might know something they do not. Net result, we all know about the same level of knowledge as one another. None greater, better than another. All beings equal.
Each and every one of us, and each and every being on this planet is equal. Net result, we all know about the same level of knowledge as one another. None greater, better than another. All beings equal.
And therefore, it is always useful to believe that there is still a Universe of knowledge (pun intended) that one does not know, and yet has access to. There are so many things in the Universe that we do not know. Albert Einstein said, “We still do not know one thousandth of one percent of what nature has revealed to us.” The operative part of that answer from Einstein is “what nature has revealed to us.” With all the advances in technology, ability to access remote areas, we still come across news that there is a new species that has been found, or some hitherto unknown knowledge being discovered.
Albert Einstein said, “We still do not know one thousandth of o