glyph 153: value of ignorance . creativity . sight unclouded . unspoiled original sense preservation of mental open space ... inventors ... book


Henry Ford - Wild Wheel, Innocent Mind

Garrett Garrett's biography of Henry Ford, The Wild Wheel

From Garrett Garrett's The Wild Wheel, chapter six:

"With his great friend Thomas A. Edison, the self-made wizard, Ford shared a naïve faith in what they called the value of ignorance. Ignorance was not the right word. Innocence would have been better. What they meant was that in order to act upon a thing in an original manner you have to see it as it is, see it directly, with no labels on it to tell you what it is and no preconceived impressions about it. Thus, as Ford would say, the less you know about a thing beforehand, or think you know, the better."


"Whether Ford got the doctrine of the value of ignorance from Edison, or Edison from him, is an immaterial question. They were born that way. Both made their discoveries by a kind of unspoiled original sense. For their attacks on the impossible they had but one tool. That was trial and error."

A marvelously perceptive and illuminating meeting with Henry Ford, the man seen whole. Regarding "trial and error" see Karl Popper's "Objective Knowledge". -leif

"Failure is only the opportunity more intelligently to begin again." -Henry Ford [quoted by Garrett, chapter six, same book]

If you are an inventor, or aspire to be one, in any field, this book is wonderful reading. -leif

Note to machinists: a few pages into chapter six Garrett tells us of Ford's venture in precision gauges.

Henry Ford educated generations of tradesmen — the Henry Ford Trade School, 1916-1952.
entered before July 9, 2006

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