Embrace your inner dumbass

Feb 162010
Authors: Andy Kruse

There are so many avenues of knowledge in this world, it’s mind-boggling. From the complex structures of the invisible microorganisms all around us, to the intricacies of running a business, to the politics that make decisions about our daily lives, there’s so much to know and so little time.

That’s why we settle for knowing a lot about a few things and a little about some other things. Then for the rest, we remain in the category of dumbass.
Now being a dumbass is not a bad thing; it’s a great thing. It means you have a lot to learn. And learning about how the world works is awesome.

But in order to learn, we must first embrace our inner dumbass and admit we don’t know. It takes a certain self-confidence to face a state of ignorance. It takes courage to stand up in front of your peers and be the one who doesn’t have the answer. But once you do, it can be extremely liberating.

We’ve all been there, sitting in class curious as to what exactly our professor is trying to say. You can tell it’s a cool idea, but you can’t quite grasp it. Well, chances are 75 percent of the class is thinking the same thing, they’re just afraid to look stupid and ask.

So step up and be brave. Embrace your inner dumbass and ask that question. Most of the class will appreciate that you put yourself on the line for the rest of them and class will be much more interesting.

We all have a responsibility to the world to become learned in a certain aspect of life and do something productive with that knowledge. And if each of us becomes learned in our own sector, and admits we’re unlearned in another, we can all become learned together.

But if we walk around too insecure to explore new ideas, we’ll inhibit not only our own knowledge, but those around us as well.

There’s a reason why someone knows that blue eyes originate from a mutation of the OCA2 gene. And there’s reason why someone knows that a runner on third base doesn’t run home on a fly ball but waits to tag up. All the different sectors of knowledge are what make the world go round.

Inside each and every one of us is an inner dumbass. And unless we embrace it, we’ll never learn anything.

Andy Kruse is an anthropology graduate student. His column appears occasionally in the Collegian. Letters and feedback can be sent to letters@collegian.com.

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