The Paradox of Inquiry
“A man cannot search either for what he knows or for what he does not know. He cannot search for what he knows—since he knows it, there is no need to search—nor for what he does not know, for he does not know what to look for.” - Socrates
We often seek to gain knowledge in areas both new and familiar. However, the difficulty in this endeavor is illustrated in the quote above. Put in other terms, “we don’t know what we don’t know”.
How then, does one ever progress beyond their current state? The only answer that I have found is through surrounding myself with individuals far more intelligent and experienced than I am (and probably will ever be).
In doing so, we are introduced to novel concepts that we may have otherwise never considered. From there, we can continue to explore these ideas and eventually build upon them.
Jeremy Horn prepping me for a title fight
One of the best (and most difficult) decisions I have made was moving away from home to pursue my fighting career. Born and raised in Virginia, I spent most of my life in the small town where I was born.
After graduating college and enjoying a successful amateur mma career, I realized I had reached the limit of what my town had to offer. It was time to move on to the next phase. I knew I needed more of something, but of what and where to find it, I had no clue.
It was by sheer luck that an opportunity presented itself, and I was off to Utah to train with mma legend, Jeremy Horn. With close to 200 professional fights, I couldn't have found someone with more experience to learn from.
In just a short amount of time, it became evident just how little I actually knew about the fight game. Arriving on a 10 fight win-streak, I thought I had a pretty firm grasp of things. However, I was introduced to a level of knowledge and skills that up until that point, I had no idea existed.
As hard as it was to leave everyone and everything I knew behind, it was absolutely necessary to progress and grow. Too often we let our comfortability and fear of the unknown prevent us from taking risks. We stay right where are and continue to do the same things, hoping to achieve better results.
What I learned in a matter of a few months would have most likely taken years to figure out on my own. This is the benefit of looking to those who have walked the path before you. We may not know what we're missing, but chances are there is someone out there who does.
On the rare occasion, life rewards us in unexpected ways when we venture outside of our comfort zone. In this instance, my connection with Jeremy Horn ultimately led me to the distinguished gentlemen mentioned in our previous blogs. Learning from them has broadened my horizons and greatly expanded my depth of knowledge.
I'm certain that I am nowhere near smart enough to offer a solution to Socrates' paradox about inquiry. In fact, I'm not sure I have any solutions to anything at all. What I am confident of (at least for my own path) is that sailing into uncharted waters has proven fruitful thus far, and will be something I continue to do as long as I am able.