SHOCK headline this week: six out of 10 of us don't understand carbon trading. Well, let me be the first to admit it: most of us don't know anything. We are children wandering around in an adult world. Really, you'd be shocked by what your fellow citizens don't know.
I'll go first. Then it can be your turn. I don't understand carbon trading. I'm fuzzy on the history of the conflict in the Middle East. And I have no ready explanation for the success of the band Coldplay.
I am also unable to pronounce the name of the new Russian president, am uncertain how to convert metres into feet.....some things, perhaps, are just beyond human comprehension.
Antigua - you might be interested - is a country in Africa, or quite possibly an island in the Mediterranean. The Battle of Pozieres was a very important battle during World War I or maybe World War II......(If you are having a dinner party at home play for time, try to distract them, say you are going to the loo and then look it up on Wikipedia.)
What's interesting is we are all staggered by each other's ignorance.
I love the way we're all so confident of our knowledge - right up until someone asks for a little detail.
I think back to my years of schooling and try to list all the facts of which I remain certain. It all comes down to this: Hitler was a vegetarian, an oxbow lake is something to do with a river. I'm also pretty sure that the way it gets colder as you go up a mountain is called the adiabatic lapse rate. I learnt this is year 9 and have been waiting for the chance to drop it into a conversation ever since.
Some knowledge seems to stick in my mind. Elvis Presley's stillborn twin brother was called Jesse. And Pete Best was the original drummer of the Beatles. These things - once learnt - can never be forgotten.
Yet other knowledge seems to visit briefly and then leave. For several weeks now I've been listening to a series of CD's by Bruce Lipton on the Biology of Belief - how our beliefs shape our health and destiny. I understand completely what the author is on about. I am with him sentence by sentence, right up until the moment I turn off the CD. I then find - one second later! - that I can remember nothing at all. Asked to repeat a single insight from the CD, I would babble like a baby.
And so I make an effort - reading The Herald, watching the news, listening to the PM program on the radio - and still the questions crowd in. So what exactly was the nature of the Palestinian nation before the formation of Israel? Why were negotiations with the IRA suddenly successful?
Should we feel embarrassment about these gaps in our knowledge? I take comfort from the way the experts themselves seem to know nothing. Consider the sharemarket and how all the commentators are so skilled at explaining, with absolute certainty, the inevitability of every move - but only after it has happened. In terms of prediction, their record is worse than that achieved by a deranged man with a sharemarket table and a pin.
So there you have it, is this phenomenon happening to anyone else out there!
Here is a photo I took in Kenya in 2006......they say elephants never forget!
37 minutes ago