Distance is required for real knowledge

Without welcoming the strangeness, you can’t really come to know the world.

Obs.: this is a refined thought from my personal notes, and was originally published here — https://www.timelesscraft.org/distance-required-real-knowledge

Photo by Paweł Czerwiński on Unsplash

There are multiple ways for one to develop knowledge. And knowledge, itself, may have many forms. But in the common sense, knowledge is that which we can call known — something familiar and usual. Knowledge, then, becomes a safe-spot where we can lie our thoughts and trust as truth.

But the problem with such familiarity is that it demands closure. And the more close you are with something, the more enveloped you get. You start getting surrounded by usual things only, which reinforce the mere-exposure effect and the confirmation bias.

After a while, previous knowledge start blocking the apprehension of new knowledge. According to Nietzsche (and, in the words of Mark Sentesy, 2002), attaining new knowledge is only possible if you get distant from what you already know.

If you don’t expose yourself for unknown situations, or circumstances that contradict what you know, you won’t have enough substance to come to know again. If you are too close from yourself and your familiar world, you also get lost into the small details and be blind to the big picture.

Familiarity is a double-edged sword. It is required for mastery, but it also holds us back (we are blind to risks of familiar situations).

Though, for Nietzsche, if we want to develop real knowledge we must welcome the strangeness from times to times. We have to distance from ourselves and form what is known so we can gain a new perspective about it. We have to inquire the function that things and concepts have to our lives, and interrogate the shapes of the world we witness.

Without confronting conformation, you can’t really come to know — neither yourself, neither the world. Because, most of the time, you are just seeing what we want to see — not the reality.

For creating such a distance, here are some golden rules that might help:


“The problem of knowledge implies the need for clear reflection, clear consciousness, and in The Gay Science, distance and self-reflection are associated with writing one’s life, with artistry, and confession. The life of knowledge is for Nietzsche the life of aesthetic, reflective distance” (Sentesy 2002)

Nietzsche says that what both common people and philosophers “want when they say ‘knowledge’ [is for] something strange… to be reduced to something familiar ” (§355).[…] For they believe everything predictable, everything that submits to the rule of the herd to be safe. (Sentensy 2002)

Also relates with:




Crypto enthusiast and philosophy-head. Into pragmatism, craftsmanship, artistic expression, and lifestyle experimentation.

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Icaro Moro

Crypto enthusiast and philosophy-head. Into pragmatism, craftsmanship, artistic expression, and lifestyle experimentation.