‘Ignorance can sometimes — not always, but sometimes — be as beneficial as knowledge. Ignorance is beneficial when we are aware of it.’


Source: Los Angeles Times

Author: Viet Thanh Nguyen

Almost exactly 20 years ago, I arrived in Los Angeles in the month of June. I had received my doctorate from UC Berkeley in May and had turned 26 in February. That summer, I found a small apartment in Silver Lake and began preparing for a new career as a professor at USC. I look back on myself with bemusement and sympathy, for there were many things I did not know when I was 26. My naiveté protected me when I sat down to write at my small kitchen table and in that hot, stifling, first summer in Los Angeles began a short story collection. If I had known that it would take me 17 years to finish that collection, and three more years to publish it, perhaps I never would have even begun.

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2 thoughts on “Viet Thanh Nguyen: In praise of doubt and uselessness

  1. There are some things I try to closet myself away from. Like I don’t seek out knowledge of drug habits and the details of drug culture. I don’t watch a lot of news because I’ve found that I dwell on events instead of focus on what I want to do in my own life.
    Ignorance, sometimes, can be bliss.

    • Ignorance, I’ve always found, feeds my desire for knowledge although I know I’ve had my head in a book since I could read. Sometimes I feel like The Beatles’ Nowhere Man who appears as a cartoon character in Yellow Submarine, treading back and forth, muttering ‘so much to do, so little time to do it.’

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