On Being a Fool

It probably will seem that I'm on some kind of wise/fool philosophy kick lately, but it actually hasn't really been on my mind*.

While reading this evening I came across this quote from the Former US Secretary of Defense:
"As we know, there are known knowns. There are things we know we know.
We also know there are known unknowns. That is to say we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns, the ones we don't know we don't know."

I remember this statement and the incredible backlash that he received for it, and it has always bothered me. Aside from the fact the it is a very verbose way of saying "the fool believes himself to be wise, while the wise man knows himself to be a fool." (I will give him credit for saying all of that correctly; I'd have messed that up horribly...)

(Note: this is not being apologetic towards the views or actions of that Administration. I'm going to let history be the judge.)

One of the things that I've learned since leaving the Corps is that the civilian popultion has a very different view of the Military than do those who have served. One of the first times that I really noticed this clash of cultures was when someone was describing how they invisioned a project to execute as "Military Efficiency" or like a "Military Exercise". I was about to burst out laughing at his cynicism over the success of his project when I noticed that he wasn't being sarcastic. I think I actually asked him what he meant by that...**

In my mind the Rumsfeld backlash does resolve into a culture clash: a combatant takes Intel with a grain of salt, whereas the civilian (particularly the news media) population the idea of incomplete situational awareness is unthinkable...

Though, on the other hand, he might have escaped some or all of it by saying 'we've got some good information that we're acting on, but we also know that the picture isn't complete...'

Anyway, yea... Um, Knowledge!

...and knowing is half the battle!


* This is, of course completely ignoring the cramming of Obj-C, C, and OOP principalia that I've been doing lately. I know that so far all that I've really covered and grasped so far is little more than what I already know from other languages, but in Obj-C stylings. I know how far I've come, but still know that I don't know anything...

**Note to Civilians: Don't use military comparisons, jargon, etc., unless you're actually a Veteran. Chances are you're going to make a fool of yourself. (I once had a company President/CEO argue that I was confusing the difference between "tactical" and "strategic". I should have offered to trade him one of my tactical butt-whippings for a strategic one of his...")

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