Shadow of Knowledge

There is no way of knowing that does not produce ignorance in its wake.

It’s simply not possible to see everything at once, so the act of observing any one thing naturally requires the neglect of everything else.

This is partly an implication of the uncertainty principle—which is really more of an unavoidable mathematical constraint, rather than just a concept from quantum physics. It’s a necessary product of math and empiricism.

Ignorance is also simply a limitation of finite perspectives. Discovery is always uncertain, obviously. But even without that, simple space issues come into play: Wherever memory is limited, the storage and retrieval of knowledge must be tailored and optimized, which always introduces tradeoffs.

What you’re left with almost always tends to be uneven territory that is difficult to navigate. And like any such territory, trolls and bandits lurk in the shadows behind every rock and road sign. Ask for directions at your own peril.

A gnomon ([ˈnoʊmɒn], from Greek γνώμων, gnōmōn, literally: “one that knows or examines”) is the part of a sundial that casts a shadow. The term is also used for a variety of purposes in mathematics and other fields.

In the Northern Hemisphere, the shadow-casting edge of a sundial gnomon is normally oriented so that it points due northward and is parallel to the rotational axis of Earth. That is, it is inclined to the northern horizon at an angle that equals the latitude of the sundial’s location. At present, such a gnomon should thus point almost precisely at Polaris, as this is within 1° of the north celestial pole.


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