Our story: 10. President Ignoramus


Ignoramus,  a 1612 farce by George Ruggle (1575-1622), introduced this Latin word into English.  It  means “we do not know”.  In the play, Ignoramus is the name of a lawyer who fancies himself to be quite shrewd but is actually foolish and ignorant.  Remind you of anybody?

Will Trump do good for the world?  Obama was a good man, but I don’t think he left the world better; though he did save the Banks and Markets.  I feel much the same way about world events.  Are they for good or ill?  Yes, my heart bleeds when I see the awful worlds that so many children enter.  The suffering caused by our human lusts.  But do I know what the import of any event will be.  For example, the two world wars of the 20th century had very positive impacts on wealth equity.

I am not suggesting that Trump will save the world deliberately or deliberatively.  It is because he is so deeply ignorant.  The Dunning-Kruger effect helps explain how he evaluates himself so highly.  Did you see his review of his first 100 days?

I am sure he really believes that, even though all he has done was to ride on Obama’s successes for a thriving economy.  Let us also not forget that he has created a lot of suffering for many families who were contributing to society.  We will see to what extent he accelerates climate change and planetary despoil.

The use of the word ignoramus is said to derive from its use in court documents.  When evidence was insufficient to justify prosecution, ignoramus meant “we ignore”  this case.  Is it possible to ignore President Ignoramus?  Sadly, not. Though some of you may not want to ignore, but to amuse yourself at his expense, or perhaps you are under his spell. But let’s try to as much as we can, and I think we will all feel better.  Trump Tweets and other emissions are really best ignored.  Just focus on what the people around him, the ones with real power, are doing.

Ignoramus et ignoribimus concisely states the limits to science by saying that not only we do not know, but also that we will not know.  Hilbert’s response to this aphorism was the ‘we must know and we shall  know.”  And tried to lay down the foundations of mathematics that would require no assumptions, that would be complete.

“Answers to some of Hilbert’s Program of 23 problems were found during the 20th century. Some have been answered definitively; some have not yet been solved; a few have been shown to be impossible to answer with mathematical rigor.”

During 1931, Gödel’s incompleteness theorems showed that Hilbert was wrong  (through prime numbers, if you can understand that; I can’t.) .  Some mathematical questions cannot be answered. Even the abstract world of mathematics, there are limits to our knowledge; not everything can be known.

I got the image of ‘Ignoramus et ignoribimus’ from Aisa. The two words surrounded by unicorn and pegasus.  It seems possible for adults to speak of imaconcisely state the limits of science, Latin for knowledge.  I just watched the Republican Congressman who, when asked how does he know the health law will work, says “I know”.  Is this credible?

Science is based on showing how we know what we claim to be true.  And counter-intuitively, science can never prove anything; only remove the ideas that are wrong.  Like a flat earth, phlogiston, an after life, homoeopathy, time outside of space (what’s ‘before’ the Big Bang?), time as objective reality, animal magnetism, the divine right of kings, the Bible as the literal word of God, and rational behaviour of humans.

Relativity, quantum mechanics, and chaos provide different frameworks.  A frame or view of the world that defines by what it cuts out at its edges.  Have you heard of this paradox?  As the volume of our knowledge grows so does its edge, the area of our ignorance.  So, the more we know, the more we know we don’t know.

We are all guilty, the subject here is all of us:  ignoramus et ignoribimus.

Socrates, through Plato. And also Aristotle.  They described the almost inevitable progression from democracy through demagoguery to tyranny.  We understand the tyrant, the despot who makes all decisions about life and death in the state.  But what is a demagogue?

Derived from two Greek worlds: leader and people, which sounds good, but not if we said ‘leader of the mob’, with the implicit meaning of a leader who is  “exploiting prejudice and ignorance among the common people”.  I rest my case.

Yet, I still hope that humanity will wake up form its ignorance, and start to understand more clearly who we humans are; and our destiny to create God.

But let us remember the concept of ignoramus, so we can ignore much of the noise that he emits.  And hope that love not hate will win; even if it takes a dark road to get there.



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