‘What the deuce is it to me? You say that we go round the sun. If we went round the moon it would not make a pennyworth of difference to me or to my work.‘ – Sherlock Holmes to Watson
‘His ignorance was as remarkable as his knowledge’, wrote Watson of Sherlock Holmes.
Sherlock Holmes understood the constraints of his brain despite its remarkable potency. He realized that he couldn’t concern himself with non-essential facts. The price he paid for this discretion was to appear as stupid as a flat-earther in certain moments. Secure in his own competence, to appear stupid in certain worldly matters was Holmes’ strategic decision.
To appear informed on all manners of subjects is tempting – it is the easiest way to come across as knowledgeable at a restaurant table, in a drawing room or at a cocktail party. But this only feeds the hollow chambers of the ego at the expense of the well-springs of deep learning that lead to fulfilling life of scholarship and mastery.
We derive greater meaning in depth than in breadth. In the breadth of matters that don’t concern us, stupidity turns into an investment.