I recently met a man who knew everything. EVERYTHING. He knew all about places he’d never visited, implements and machinery he’d never laid his hands on, buildings he’d never entered, jobs he’d never done, and people he’d never met.
I listened to him speak, awestruck at his unshakeable confidence in his own knowledge.
People like the man who knew everything amaze me. Although they can be commonly seen grazing in the fields of social media, I hadn’t encountered one in person for a while, a few years to be exact.
They amaze me because there is absolutely nothing they are not informed about. Where the scope of the knowledge I have amassed over the years only reaches so far, the things I don’t know continue to stretch to infinity and beyond. I was particularly intrigued as to where the man who knew everything gleaned his bottomless treasure chest of knowledge, especially after he responded in this way to a comment about books – ‘I don’t do books.’
Coincidentally, on the day I met the man who knew everything a character in a book I’m reading, Cloud Cuckoo Land by Anthony Doerr, presented another character with this riddle.
“He that knows all that Learning ever writ, knows only this.”
Without even trying to think about it, an answer instantly popped into my head. An answer so simplistic I didn’t believe for a second it would be the correct one. But it was. Thinking about this, I suspect most people who read, who remain curious about the world they live in, could guess the answer to the riddle in the book.
But I’m willing to bet the man who knew everything couldn’t.