The Wisdom of Ignorance

June 4, 2023 by Charlie Hedges − 0 Comments

There is great wisdom in ignorance.” Rick Rubin With Krista Tippett

I first noticed it forty years ago.

Only two years into the Christian faith I entered seminary in Portland, Oregon. Although, at 32 years old, I was most certainly the oldest student in my class, I was also the youngest in the Christian faith.

A Proclivity for the Novel

Surprisingly, it became apparent to me that my short history with Christianity was actually a huge advantage. I had none of the baggage that comes with being raised in the Christian environment. I was free to think without being burdened by predetermined “right answers.” The result? I graduated from a very theologically conservative institution with a not-so conservative understanding of the nature of God and the church.

In fact, the last words of my seminary mentor tell the story. “Charlie, you will become an influential pastor, but this I have against you: You have a “proclivity for the novel.” Hahaha. What was intended as words of reproof were, to me, words of inspiration and validation. My “proclivity for the novel” has served me well for decades.

Finding the Freedom to Experiment

Sometimes knowing too much can be a barrier to new thought and creativity. Rick Rubin, perhaps the most influential of record producers, tells the same story. When he began, he knew almost Nothing about traditional record producing. For Rick, there were no rules, there was only doing what felt right and what sounded perfect. By the way, a few of Rick’s successes include Adele, Metallica, Aerosmith, Linkin Park, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Beastie Boys, and Johnny Cash.

Rick is the first to say that he owes much of his success to not having the baggage of education or training in the discipline of producing records. He relied on his gut, intuition, and what he felt sounded good. He sings his praises of the value of Freedom to Experiment. As a result, Rick Rubin continues to be one of the most sought-after record producers in the industry.

Develop Creativity and Confidence

In my career(s) I have often been in the position of having little or no education in the fields which I was considered to be a thought leader. I relied on reading the need and formulating a plan for success based on the needs of my clients. I love it: The freedom to create without the restrictions of “the right way.” Instead, I developed even greater creativity and confidence.

How many times have we heard, “ignorance is bliss?” I find much truth in that phrase, but how about “ignorance leads to creative solutions.”

So many times it is better to go with your gut in spite of what the so-called experts say. Inspiration is the birth-child of ignorance.

Respect Your Ignorance

To Find the Freedom to Experiment

Photo courtesy of francescoch at istockphoto




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