Jon snowI think that Socrates with his “One thing only I know, and that is that I know nothing” and Ygritte from the popular Game of Thrones with her “You know nothing Jon snow” were both right. This of course needs further explanation, recently it was brought to my attention an article published in Journal of Cell Science in 2008 with the catching title “The importance of stupidity in scientific research“. The main conclusion I extract from the article is the good of stupidity, understood as ignorance by choice, for the progress of science. In other words, if you don’t feel “stupid”, meaning that you don’t have questions to answer related to your research project, either the problem you are trying to solve is just trivial or you are not  trying hard enough. In the article it is also discussed the fact that teaching  at universities may not be effective enough as students are not aware of how difficult research is and do not learn how to use their so-called “stupidity” in a productive way.

There is something else I would like to discuss in this post. I enjoyed the concept of “productive stupidity”. But, what if there were no more questions what if you reach the point when you solve the riddle, not just the one but all, I rather die. There is one more important point I do agree with in the article, we (scientists) start loving what we do at first because we are good at science then it comes more (at least that happened to me), we need the knowledge, to solve the puzzle and there is never enough. Knowledge has been my driving force since I remember, to the point that when I master a topic I need to refresh and search for more challenging things. So I hope I can always feel “stupid” and know nothing and have always someone around me able to tell: you know nothing.