The General Knowledge Dilemma

To be conscious that you are ignorant is a great step to knowledge.
 Benjamin Disraeli (1804 – 1881), Sybil, 1845
During my lifetime, I have come across many people who claim that they are very happy knowing what they know and that they have no intentions to start thinking in a different way. This is when I start thinking about myself: “Do I know only what I need or use or Do I know something more than that?” Well, thanks God, I know I bit more. How do I know that I know more than only the things I need in order to do my job? Well, this is easy to answer:
  • If I did not have a “healthy” amount of general knowledge, I would not be able to understand the countless references to history and mythology J.K. Rowling makes through all the Harry Potter book series. Names, characters, scenarios, locations, almost everything is related to something of the “real world”.
So, if I want to understand Harry Potter I need to know beyond my field of expertise. Or tell me, is “Planning” gonna help me to understand the books? No, right?
  • If I did not have a “healthy” amount of general knowledge, I would not be able to understand any of the jokes and situations developed in “The Big bang Theory”. To be able to laugh honestly when they make jokes and not only to laugh in order not to look as an ignorant in front of my friends, I need to know about USA culture, new trends, technology, comics, movies, cartoons, Hindu culture, Jewish, even other sitcoms (they had made references to Law & Order and Two and a Half Men).
So, Is MLA gonna help me if I want to understand “The Big Bang Theory”? I certainly do not thinks so.
  • If I did not have a “healthy” amount of general knowledge, I would not be able to understand the News. I need to know why two countries are at war, why in the USA some people cannot conceive the idea of Universal Health Care, why some people get obsessed with everything Apple launches, or why the prices of the Oil fall around the world’s stock markets and in Costa Rica everything is more expensive because of the Oil prices?

Again, Is Beowulf gonna give me money to pay my bills? That is a big NO.

Knowing more that you need to survive is essential to appreciate day by day interaction with the people and the elements that conform our world. We cannot narrow our minds only to the issues that are interesting to us. We need to be able to recognize and understand as many topics as possible if we want to “brag” and say: “I know”.

This topic might not be new for you, but it is something that we sometimes take for granted and I consider necessary to create a “need” in ourselves: A need for knowledge. We cannot get inside our little world in which we feel very comfortable with the things we already know, because out there, there are people who are not comfortable with the little they know and they learn more and they experience more while we take things for granted hoping to be tested only in the topics we enjoy and master. Sadly, this does not happen regularly.
Finally, if we are going to start getting interested on the idea of broadening our knowledge and our “mastery” of the world we know, we must do it for ourselves and not because we expect a pay raise or a better job position or any kind of reward. There is no more important reward that knowledge.
Chaucer? Who's that guy? General Knowledge doesn't hurt anybody
Chaucer? Who’s that guy?
General Knowledge doesn’t hurt anybody
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