If we know that we cannot fully know, should we stop from attempting to know?

Luke 11:29-32.

“There is something greater than Solomon here.”

This verse resonated with me as an educator and researcher. Solomon represents the one who is blessed with the highest form of human wisdom. Jesus claims that there is something or someone greater than Solomon; wiser than the wisest.

Even the wisest man is not immune to sin, and there is Someone who is wiser even than the wisest of men. Our understanding will always be imperfect and limited. It’s easy to ask: what’s the point?

What’s the point of taking courses?

What’s the point of writing research?

What’s the point of quenching our curiosity when this thirst can never be fully satisfied?

I find solace in the difference between “perfectionism” and “excellencism”. The former talks about being flawless, but the latter acknowledges weakness but still being a better version of ourselves despite our weaknesses.

Maybe we can learn from Olympians on what virtues and flourishing means. World records can be broken and it also involves a lot of luck. But isn’t that more motivating? Those who come before us can build foundations; on their shoulders, we can stand. Humanity’s progress is built on the insights of those who came before.

There’s something romantic in creating a virtuous cycle, an infinite flourishing. “Human perfection” (if it exists) is boring; human excellence and virtue is more captivating.

If we know that we cannot fully know, should we stop from attempting to know? My answer is a resounding no!


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