What are some things you don't know?

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The incredible number of things I don’t know is starting to drive me crazy. The problem is not knowing what you don’t know - the problem is knowing that you don’t know. For example, I became obsessed with learning about HOW telegraph stations sent their signals from station to station in a time before there was any kind of real power generation. It sent me down a path of investigation that kept growing and growing. Because people in those days would sent telegraph signals over anything - even barbed wire if they had to. And so the question of insulation came up because the first wires weren’t insulated. And then it was necessary to learn that those telegraph operators were also chemists who had to be mixing extremely dangerous chemicals in the back room in order to generate enough electricity in a groves cell to drive an electric signal to the next station… and so on and on and the topic keeps expanding and expanding until it becomes impossible to know anything.

When I was in business one of my partners said the problem with specialization is that that you know everything about nothing. I mean who really CARES anymore about how telegraph worked or when Berdan primed cartridges and self contained metallic bullets arrived on the scene?

Right now I am obsessed with packaging. After learning about how important the skill of basket making was for 10,000 years I am learning that the paper bag and cardboard box destroyed an entire industry and sociologically changed the entire society driving people to supermarkets from general stores all the way to standardized containers on ships crossing the ocean, all because a German company in 1807 wanted to cheaply package a new board game they invented and made a paperboard box that we still use for board games today. It’s just like the song says in “Music Man”, “It’s all the fault of the U-Need-A- Biscuit company… put the biscuit in a package put the package in a box and no more cracker barrel.” When Margaret Knight invented the paper bag she started the world on a new road that completely changed the world in so many ways.

Do you see? Do you see how this shit can drive you crazy? How just pulling one thread tips the entire world over because you can’t know everything no matter how frantically you research some obscure and useless factoid or invention or trend… Every single thing is connected to everything else and there is no way to pull one part out without the entire mess falling over like a giant game of Jenga.

There. I feel better now. Now I have to go back to learning more about Robert Nair and how he invented the die cut cardboard box in Scotland in the 1870s….

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