Can you know too little?
Short answer: Yes, of course. There is always more to be learned.
Long answer: Sometimes, less is more.
Much of this thought is connected to our modern society, and the information overload we’re fed daily. On any single given subject, there are probably a minimum of a half a dozen outlets reporting. Multiply that number in certain circumstances, and the number of viewpoints becomes utterly untenable.
Truth at its base comes in three brands — mine, yours, and the absolute. When, however, you factor in the individuality of people, that number grows exponentially.
For example: Every time Trump puts out a new Tweet, countless sources, credible and otherwise, will examine, analyze, exaggerate, minimalize, report on, and otherwise share it. Here there will not just be three brands of truth, but uncountable brands instead.
Everyone has opinions. These get based on experience, education, situation, environment, personal perspectives and viewpoints and more. Sometimes you as an individual can have multiple opinions on a single topic. Point being, the truth as we believe it outside of the absolute is going to be rather variable.
If you go to the trouble of taking in multiple sources reporting on a single thing like a Trump Tweet, you could easily drive yourself mad. Odds are pretty good you’ll make yourself feel negative, either in agreement or disagreement with one of those opinions you encounter. From there, it doesn’t take much to become really distressed.
The point being that knowing less is to your betterment.
To know too little is better than overwhelm
This is very topic specific. Overall, knowledge is power. But there is a fine line between knowledge and overwhelming information.
You may desire to be apprised of current affairs. This can help in making informed decisions in elections, whether to participate in protests, call and e mail members of Congress, and so on.
But do you need to dig into the story and get all the gory details? Does intimate knowledge of a particularly unpleasant or troubling subject serve you?
If it is going to bring you down, cause you to feel negative, or otherwise distress you, likely the answer is no.
To know too little is not the same as being ignorant. Ignorance is a total lack of awareness. It is knowing nothing at all about a subject. Knowing too little, on the other hand, means you are aware of the subject, but probably not a subject matter expert.
If knowledge is power, how can there be too much? The real question is, do you actually need to know this?
Mindfulness is all about knowing the self. It is becoming aware of your own thoughts, feelings, and actions. When you know what you are thinking and what and how you are feeling, you become more able to be in the here-and-now.
In the here-and-now, you can be best connected with yourself.
The past is passed, and the future is unwritten. However, right here, right now, is the only true reality. As Einstein said,
“Reality is an illusion, albeit a very persistent one.”
Being hyper-informed about certain topics, in particular matters way outside of your personal control, is not mindfulness. Neither is it tremendously useful, as it will most likely just frustrate, upset, and draw you away from self-awareness.
Much of this type of information is a form of distraction. This draws attention away from deeper problems, and robs you of your true reason and awareness. The type of knowledge that this involves won’t help you grow or develop as a person.
It will clutter your mind, fill you full of junk like eating a bag of potato chips, and very possibly make you unwell mentally, spiritually, and even physically. This is not knowledge that provides anything useful to you and your mindfulness, which is why knowing too little can be a good thing in this instance.
Knowledge is power, but moderation is wisdom
It is certainly important to stay on top of current affairs around the world. Nobody can nor should live in a bubble, because we are all a part of the world. Yet at the same time, over-imbibing in this sort of information can be just as dangerous as drinking too much or doing too many drugs. It will distort your mind and soul, which in turn could hurt your body.
You need to be aware of what the government is and is not doing, places you may be better off avoiding in the world, and other such information. But that awareness doesn’t need to be too in depth. Getting into the nitty-gritty and minute details of much of what is going on out there does nothing but feed the fear-base.
Fear sells. It also disempowers. The greedy use it to make more money, while the powerful use it to hoard more power. When you buy it, like attracts like, and you get more. This is not true knowledge, its information made of judgement and propaganda intended to empower a very small few while disempowering the masses.
This is where the slight distinction between awareness and mindfulness can be considered. Awareness is knowledge of a thing, whereas mindfulness is a more in-depth awareness. Mindfulness should be applied to the self, because it is only the self where change can begin on any level. As such, it’s good to be aware of what is going on in the world, but be mindful of how that impacts you and your thoughts and feelings.
Can you know too little?
When it is a matter of maintaining mindfulness and taking in information that won’t improve upon it, yes. You get to choose how much or how little you desire to know, and whether that serves you or does not.
Awareness of information and mindfulness of the self can coexist. You get to decide where the line is for yourself. Knowledge is power — recognizing the knowledge that empowers versus information that disempowers will let you choose, because knowledge is not just power, it is empowerment. Find your personal line between knowing too little and knowing too much, and empower yourself. The more you are empowered, the more you can help empower others.
What do you find you can readily know too little about?