The non-virtue of innocence

Ariyawen member Kirt White and I had an interesting conversation this morning. Kirt made the point that innocence is neither positive nor negative. It’s just empty.

His thoughts:
We are taught that Innocence is important and should be protected and cherished. The problem with that is that innocence is stasis, it is that moment just before the first step into the unknown when everything is safe and comfortable. The moment a choice is made to start learning you are taking innocence and letting it grow. Innocence can’t be lost it can only be transformed into knowledge and wisdom.

My further thoughts:
I agree. Innocence is a blank slate. There’s nothing innately virtuous about blankness. It’s rife with potential, and that’s why it’s romanticized, I think. On the other end, there’s a big difference between age and wisdom. Many people slam their thought-doors shut once they receive just enough input to make a decision (though a less-than-fully-informed one) and never grow to wisdom. The secret to wisdom is to remain childlike (open, intaking) not childish (the state of innocence, or blank-slateness.) Then we grow and grow to the end of our days and beyond!

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