What we know/humility

If you look back on a century ago, or moving further, a millennium, it is incredible to consider the changes in society.

I realised yesterday that it is nearly 100 years since the October Revolution.

If you subtract 1000 years, you are in 1017 – the Battle of Hastings was yet to come.

And, what will be 100 or 1000 years from now?

Will we be looking back on a version of the Bayeux and interpreting the comings and goings of guys dressed in awkward armour?

Will all of them be staring at iPhones?

I talked to some colleagues last week about de-prescribing – this is the modern-day equivalent of anti-alchemy. Where, doctors and nurses attempt to undo the folly of past times; we stop the harmful drug, reflecting on our ignorance only a few years before – ‘Huh, what good does that statin do someone in their 90’s?’ we might say. (Perhaps, it helped them get to 90?)

And, with this, the realisation that the certainty we carry with us today, the knowledge that staying out of the sun is good for your skin and, eating carrots is good for your sight, and, an apple a day, is likely to slip into the same antediluvian conception sooner or later. (But these, are scientific facts…)

How can any of us ever be certain about anything when we know that history is constantly re-written, when the moment more knowledge is gained we see things differently?

And this perhaps is my coming to terms with the meek inheriting the earth. Not necessarily the weak of spirit, but those with enough insight to see that certainty can only make you look daft; fundamentalism, fanaticism and, death before dishonour are all shades of the same silliness.

Let us all pause and reflect on our ignorance.

Amen.

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