9 February 1851

by layman k

I have heard that there is a Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge. It is said that knowledge is and the like. Methinks there is equal need of a Society  for the Diffusion of Useful Ignorance, for what is most of our boasted so-called knowledge buta conceit that we know something,which robs us of the advantages of our actual ignorance.

For a man’s ignorance sometimes is not only useful but beautiful, while his knowledge is oftentimes worse than useless, beside being ugly. In reference to important things, whose knowledge amounts to more than a consciousness of his ignorance? Yet what more refreshing and inspiring knowledge than this?


My desire for knowledge is intermittent; but my  desire to commune with the spirit of the universe, to be intoxicated even with the fumes, call it, of that divine nectar, to bear my head through atmospheres and over  heights unknown to my, feet, is perennial and constant.

from the journals of Henry David Thoreau