“The greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance but the illusion of knowledge”- is a renowned adage uttered by Stephen Hawking, the greatest English cosmologist, physicist, and author. The other person who is credited for this quote is Daniel J. Boorstin, an American historian. The human beings of the world should beware of the flaw of the illusion of knowledge. There is an aphorism “A little knowledge is a dangerous thing”. Yes, little learning is really a dangerous thing but, the current adage is more dangerous than this saying.
Ignorance is not a curse. When people consider that he is ignorant, he has the scope to learn. Even when people know a lot about a particular topic, it does not mean that they learn everything on the topic. When people feel the shortage of knowledge, his mind can grasp the knowledge around. That’s why, probably, ignorance is bliss to learning. What if someone boasts of having so much knowledge in him? Obviously, the consideration of these boastful people is fairly hollow. Most times, these people suffer from “illusion of knowledge”.
Let’s try to make out what the “illusion of knowledge” is and how it is dangerous. When people study more and more and visit various countries, they consider that they have acquired much knowledge that others do not have. The problem rises here. This is a vast world and people cannot acquire knowledge which is complete. You know the illusion of forming a sentence or reaching the solution of mathematics. There are numerous ways to form a sentence with the same meaning or there are lots of ways through which you can solve out the mathematical calculation. This sort of illusion is everywhere. If a person says that only one way of forming a sentence is correct that he likes and the other is not, or the way of the mathematical solution that he shows is correct and there is no other process which is correct, the person is surely doing some mistake! He is in the “illusion of knowledge”.
Let’s have another example where you will get the perfect answer for this illusion. When a patient visits a doctor with high shivering fever and body ache, an ordinary doctor may guess a particular type of fever without checking the other details. When the doctor is sure about his conception and ignores the conception of others, he is surely suffering from the Illusion of Knowledge. Every day, the diseases are coming to us with a new form with new or mixed symptoms. One conception is never acceptable unless it is proved by touchstone. The illusion of knowledge about the disease may jeopardise the life of the patient.
But, if a person remains eager to learn more and more, and justifies his knowledge with the touchstone or up-to-date information, he will surely go to the right direction. When the great scientist Newton knew so much, he uttered that “To myself, I am only a child playing on the beach, while vast oceans of truth lie undiscovered before me.”
Still, some people attempt to codify knowledge to the way they think and see. They do not consider the conception of others. It is sure that you may see a glass of water differently. You may see that half of the glass is empty, and the other may see that half of the glass is full- the matter in the glass is same- the conception is different. So, nobody is complete with any material knowledge. This is where the illusion of knowledge comes from. A few books on a topic cannot make anybody expert. We are not complete; we can only strive for being complete.