A fool thinks himself to be wise, but a wise man knows himself to be a fool.

Are you the Fool on the Hill?

I most certainly am.

Every sage since the beginning of time has expressed this sentiment. Each adds their own flavor to the aphorism, but all agree that the more you know, the more you realize how much you do not know. It is a very interesting paradox to me.

As a person works to acquire knowledge of importance their expanded understanding reveals layer upon layer of categories of knowledge yet to be learned. It is much akin to zooming in on a fractal. The father in you go, the farther in you discover there is to go. It is infinite.

When I obsessed on da Vinci, I was fascinated that he had tried to learn all that there was to know. And of anyone in history, he most certainly gave it one of the most valiant attempts. But in his era, they were just emerging from the Dark Ages. 1000 years in which knowledge had been buried, hidden for sages in the future to hopefully discover. Scrolls of various topics were making their way across the Ionian Sea from Ancient Greece and were being translated for new minds in the Renaissance to decipher and absorb. Can you imagine what that might have actually felt like? Finding documents more than 1000 years old bringing you knowledge that was fresh and new for your world to start to absorb. 

In my world, I did not remember the name of the sea between Greece and Italy and Google told me in a heartbeat. The massive disparity between how knowledge was stored and conveyed then vs. now is so massively disparate as to nullify a comparison. It is clearly a change of magnitude and with that change should have come a substantial enlightenment.

Humans being the specie that we are, there will always be a majority who are not educated, and whose lives are spent in the servitude of and loyalty towards a higher being with promises of a great afterlife that will fully reward them for the sacrifices they make in their existence in the here and now. This perpetual promise has been the lifeblood and life-force of billions of humans since the dawn of time. And the core truth is… there has never been a single shred of verifiable evidence that any of those promises of after life rewards are true. In fact, to the contrary, there is increasing evidence that an evolution of our life force or internal energy transforms upon the demise of our corporal vessel. 

Without any guaranty that anything exists beyond that which we know, it struck me that it would be amazing to know a lot. Perhaps that stems from my being incessantly curious. Whatever the cause, I have found myself diving into all sorts of pools of knowledge that I never would have expected to encounter. Running The Illusion Factory, I posed as a knowledgeable person in advertising and marketing, and slowly let all of my clients teach me about what those topics were all about. I was quiet when I did not know, listened acutely to those who professed that they did and played it by ear as I went along. In order to promote my client’s products, I had to deep dive into each of their topics, understand their products, and find a way to communicate such to knowledgeable people in their industry. When I was starting out, The San Fernando Valley was a remnant of the war effort for WWII, and all of the defense contractors were here. Before long, I was becoming conversant in flexible wire harnesses, silicone wafer chip manufacture, satellite dish technologies, high tech adhesives and countless other technologies that I never would have known anything about.

The point is that there are myriad rabbit holes to dive into. Each with their own vocabulary, methods, ideas, and expressions of such. Like diving into the fractal, at the end of the day, there is only our desire to catapult us into areas unknown. As you venture down those paths, you begin to get a sense of how much knowledge there really must be. If each category has so much to learn, how many categories in life are there?

Conversely, and to the point of the aphorism from the Bard, there are those who are comfortable with just enough knowledge to make them dangerous. Those seem to be the ones who run for office. Once in a position of power, they then, smugly feel capable of making unilateral decisions based upon their tiny soapboxes of ignorance. If they discover that they are a powerful orator, capable of making others listen, they become empowered by that new found position of strength, and (wrongly) presume that they are omniscient and therefore capable of making decisions that impact others. (In many cases, solely for their own greed and ability to provide for their family and mistresses.) Before long, many of the men in this position presume to tell women what they can and cannot do with their bodies and the overwhelming impact of their ignorance is quickly felt by innocents whose lives are massively impacted by others who are just trying to throw their proverbial weight around.  Ask the woman in Texas right now who is a single mom with 4 kids and discovered that she is pregnant again. 

The framework of our world is enshrouded by ignorance that is perpetually working to unseat intelligence. Ignorance hates intelligence because ignorance has no substantial comeback to an intelligent rebuttal. So ignorance works to snuff out intelligence because it is the only way for ignorance to prevail. It will never win on merit, only by domination. 

It is for this reason, that one of the core causes that I feel compelled to invest my time in on an ongoing basis through my writing, is to enlighten and teach valuable critical thinking to young minds. It is the reason I spend one hour each day writing all of this. The answer to fixing our country lies in the minds of the 15-19 year olds right now. They are emerging as the next wave of voters. The MAGA group is running out of angry old white guys and women. They are aging out and dying. In part by infecting one another with Covid. The future of freedom, democracy, liberty and our republic lies solely in making this next generation more sentient. 

So with my blog, and my book and my posters, and my social posts, I hope to continue to reach those minds in a way that causes them to just think a bit longer and learn to decipher truth from propaganda. To think for themselves and not single-mindedly follow a pastor or any religious leader or political leader or cult leader blindly without taking the time to discover how little they really know in life. 

If ever I send you one of these that resonates with you, I hope you will find a young, impressionable mind whom you will choose to share it with. Each mind that awakens to the topics I discuss and ventures on their own path of discovery, is another being capable of initiating change. 

Happy Thursday!

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Written by Brian Weiner
When I was 5 years old, I discovered that the lemon tree in the backyard + dixie cups + water and sugar and I was in business. I have been hooked on that ever since. In 1979, I borrowed $14,000 to create a brand new product... photographic greeting cards with no text on the inside, called Paradise Photography. That was the start of The Illusion Factory. Since then, The Illusion Factory has been entrusted by all of the major studios and broadcasters with the advertising and marketing of over $7 billion in filmed, live, broadcast, gaming, AR, VR and regulated gaming forms of entertainment, generating more than $100 Billion in revenue and 265 awards for creativity and technology for our clients. When I took a break from film school at UCLA to move to Hawaii, my mother did not lecture me. Instead, she took 150 of her favorite aphorisms and in her beautiful calligraphy, wrote them artistically throughout a blank journal. That is the origin of the Lessons from the Mountain series. Since then, on my journeys to the top of a mountain to watch the sunrise, I have spent countless hours contemplating words of wisdom from the sages of all races, genders and political persuasions, constantly accumulating the thoughts to guide me on my life path. I hope you enjoy my books. Please let me know your thoughts, as I highly value your feedback!