Ben Franklin once famously said that ignorance is the beginning of wisdom.
I remember having my first Franklinian dose of wisdom-acquiring ignorance around the age of seventeen or so.
This feeling hit me most in the art & culture department, rather than, say, science or politics or business.
I suddenly realized how little I knew about “High Culture”, how little I knew about the works of Beethoven or Duke Ellington or TS Eliot or Matisse or Dostoyevsky or Sylvia Plath or Sam Peckinpah.
So began my path to becoming cultured. I started reading books, going to museums and art-house cinema, buying records, all that good stuff.
This process was accelerated when I got into the advertising business, where having all these cultural references in the back of your head made your job as an idea-scavenger much more interesting, and was encouraged by one’s bosses.
It was accelerated even more when I became a professional artist, ‘natch.
So after a couple of decades later, what do I think?
Hard to say. Though I’m glad I did it, I’m not sure if all that effort was worth it, frankly. Sure, it enriched my life, but at what price? Can you actually put a price on it, anyway? Had I had the same level of interest in say, financial markets, I’d probably now be living in a much bigger house. Like I said, hard to say.