65- In May 1965, Liverpool won the FA Cup
Lao harks back to a past when the wisest people in society taught the not-so-wise how not to know anything. Those were the days, he says, unwrapping a Werthers Original and ruffling the air of the heavily armed watchman who stood between him and his path. Do you know, they were more innocent times. A person could go out and leave their door unlocked and everything would still be there when you got back. In those days, a thief might break in to actually leave you a new TV or a pound of oranges.
ἓν οἶδα ὅτι οὐδὲν οἶδα as Socrates said, “I know that I know nothing.” Acceptance of your own ignorance has to be the most liberating thing going. No more do you beat yourself up for not knowing why we say The wheels on the bus go round instead of the wheels on the bus go around; no more will you drown your sorows after work in a bottle of Jameson’s asking yourself how a real teacher would have dealt with the problem. Because now, like Socrates, you know that the only thing that you know is that you know nothing. In fact, if I’ve learnt anything in the thousands of years since Socrates, it’s that all I know is that I know nothing and that nobody else knows anything either. We’re all on this planet blagging our way along.
So if we are to be good teachers, we should ensure that our students know as little about our subject as possible. How charmingly esoteric and mystical, O bearded one. I’ll fish this one out at a dinner party. But Lao’s not being arsey. He means it. When they think that they know the answers,/ people are difficult to guide./ When they know that they don’t know,/people can find their own way. Because we are not going to teach them nothing. We are going to teach them how to recognise their own ignorance. And we do that best by recognising our own.