“I know that I know nothing” usually comes with a smug grin that really says, “I’ve won.”
Nobody really knows that they know nothing though. And that’s confusing.
Descartes thought he knew something. Montaigne said he didn’t.
If you’re really willing to admit you know nothing then you might suffer paralyzing doubt. Nobody feels eureka! at actually not knowing.
Admitting you don’t know is the beginning of constant doubt. Doubt that is painful for a mind that needs to know something. Doubt that can never be safe.
In order to realize that you know nothing you need to believe at some point that you know something.
It’s hard and it doesn’t come with confidence.
Confidence comes once you’ve become okay with not-knowing. It comes when you realize that being wrong is learning. It comes when being right is less important than learning.
It doesn’t let you shrug off somebody else’s idea because now you’re responsible for trying it on.
“I know that I know nothing” forgets that it doesn’t know itself.