Unknown Unknowns

The Idea

Contributed by @raretiger |  Edited and curated by @philhagspiel

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We are completely ignorant to almost all of our ignorance. That which we do not understand dwarves that which we do understand.

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World View

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Self-Perception

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Mental Models

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In all areas of knowledge — psychology, technology, biology, physics, product development, economics, business, human behavior, ... — there's a lot that we, individually, don't know about.

However smart, knowledgable or experienced we are, a large part of the total landscape of knowledge remains outside of our field of understanding.

However, it might often not seem this way since much of what we don't know isn't obvious to us. We don't know what we don't know.

For basically any topic — whether personal, professional, political, scientific, societal or cultural — there exist a whole range of facts, facets and nuances that we are ignorant of; without realizing it.

It's only through consistent exploration, a cultivation of curiosity and self-directed learning and tinkering that we continuously expand our knowledge and can stumble upon that which enlightens our understanding of ourselves and of the world.

"The more you know, the more you know you don't know."

— Aristotle

"We live on an island surrounded by a sea of ignorance. As our island of knowledge grows, so does the shore of our ignorance."

— John Archibald Wheeler

Explore

➞ This Wiki page explains the closely related concept of the Four stages of competence.

➞ This beautifully aesthetic Aperture video gives a glimpse into the abundance of unknowns.

Resources

If this idea resonates with you, some of these resources might add value to your life.

LinkNAMEFormatAuthor
Conscious
Book
Annaka Harris
A Short History Of Nearly Everything
Book
Bill Bryson
Sum - Forty Tales From The Afterlives
Book
David Eagleman
Atomic Habits
Book
James Clear
Finite & Infinite Games
Book
James P. Carse
12 Rules For Life
Book
Jordan B. Peterson
The Prophet
Book
Khalil Gibran
Figuring
Book
Maria Popova
Antifragility
Book
Nassim Taleb
Skin In The Game
Book
Nassim Taleb
Sparks — 61 Insights About Life, Love, Truth and Happiness
Book
Philipp Hagspiel
You - The 4 Pillars of Self-Determination
Book
Philipp Hagspiel
Principles
Book
Ray Dalio
Six Not-So-Easy Pieces
Book
Richard Feynman
Six Easy Pieces
Book
Richard Feynman
The Great Mental Models (vol. 2)
Book
Shane Parrish
The Great Mental Models (vol. 1)
Book
Shane Parrish
A Brief History Of Time
Book
Stephen Hawking
Great Thinkers
Book
The School Of Life
The Story Of Philosophy
Book
Will Durant
Sapiens
Book
Yuval Noah Harari
21 Lessons For The 21st Century
Book
Yuval Noah Harari
Derek Sivers
Blog
Derek Sivers
Complexity Condensed
Blog
Louis Pereira
Brainpickings
Blog
Maria Popova
Paul Graham
Blog
Paul Graham
Wait But Why
Blog
Tim Urban
Marginal Revolution
Blog
Tyler Cowen
Lesswrong
Blog
Edge.org
Blog
Changing Minds
Blog
Seth Godin
Blog
Ribbonfarm
Blog
Freakonomics
Blog
The Roots of Progress
Blog
a16z Future
Blog
More To That
Blog
Second Order Thinking
Article
Shane Parrish
The Tail End
Article
Tim Urban
The TED Interview
Podcast
Chris Anderson
Hardcore History
Podcast
Dan Carlin
North Star Podcast
Podcast
David Perell
The Joe Rogan Experience
Podcast
Joe Rogan
Jolly Swagman Podcast
Podcast
Joe Walker
Lex Fridman Podcast
Podcast
Lex Fridman
Mindscape
Podcast
Sean Carroll
Akimbo
Podcast
Seth Godin
Philosophize This!
Podcast
Stephen West
The Tim Ferriss Show
Podcast
Tim Ferriss
Impact Theory
Podcast
Tom Bilyeu
Philosophy For Our Times
Podcast
Stuff To Blow Your Mind
Podcast
Science Weekly
Podcast
Hidden Brain
Podcast
HBR Ideacast
Podcast
99% Invisible
Podcast
Stuff You Should Know
Podcast
Radiolab
Podcast
Kurzgesagt
YouTube Channel
Pursuit of Wonder
YouTube Channel
Academy of Ideas
YouTube Channel
TED-ed
YouTube Channel
Wireless Philosophy
YouTube Channel
Closer to Truth
YouTube Channel
Quanta Magazine
YouTube Channel
Primer
YouTube Channel
Physics Videos by Eugene Khutoryansky
YouTube Channel
CGP Grey
YouTube Channel
Veritasium
YouTube Channel
Thoughty2
YouTube Channel
Physics Girl
YouTube Channel
Talks at Google
YouTube Channel
Aperture
YouTube Channel
Crash Course
YouTube Channel
Seeker
YouTube Channel
Minutephysics
YouTube Channel
Vsauce
YouTube Channel
Exurb1a
YouTube Channel
Daily Bald
YouTube Channel
Sadhguru
YouTube Channel
Skillshare
Courses
Masterclass
Courses
Udemy
Courses
Wondrium
Streaming Platform
Joscha Bach
Twitter
Jack Butcher
Twitter
Naval Ravikant
Twitter
Visualize Value
Twitter
Paul Graham
Twitter