Thursday, March 13, 2014

What Purpose Knowledge Use?

...That is, in contrast to the act of acquiring knowledge. Knowledge matters most, when it exists as recognizable means to multiple ends, both experiential and practical. However, those are the environments that people need to consciously create for one another when they do not exist. This is sort of a back to basics post for me. Thinking about resets (yesterday's post) made me a bit weary, but I'll get over it! So, I'll use this space as an opportunity of sorts to reintroduce myself.

Some readers may be curious: why all the focus on knowledge use, anyway? What's the big deal with that? Especially from someone who did not finish their college degree, and never had the time earlier on to fully apply the logic of knowledge in their work...I know, it shows. Sorry. Some of the dots I "connect" as a consequence are nothing short of unusual, to others. I've spent far too much time over the years, answering my own sets of questions and musings.

Knowledge of all kinds can be most helpful in one's life. Just the same, without the ability to contrast, compare and utilize knowledge with others; knowledge gain can sometimes turn into a consumption activity of limited benefit. When no means exists for knowledge share and exchange - economic or otherwise - it's easy to lose perspective as to one's intellectual identity. No matter how many books one reads, or classes one takes: if the topic is not being actively discussed in one's environment, individual logic (knowledge applicability) as to what one attempts to learn, still exists as though an unused muscle.

After all - if little about what we study is relevant at home, among friends and acquaintances, or in the workplace; what we learn may not have a chance to matter beyond our own energy and commitment. We think of this as a problem mostly in relatively undeveloped countries, but it still poses a problem in numerous areas of developed  countries as well. Only consider the simplest example of taking a class in a foreign language, which turns out to be a book, tests and lectures. Without discussion in the language itself, not much may be recalled afterward, beyond certain words and easy to remember phrases.

Much reading on my part was of a solitary nature, in that there wasn't always the chance to discuss those books with others. Of course, like some avid readers, I can find the pace of lectures somewhat slow in comparison to reading speed. And yet I tend to be slower than normal in discussion, for it takes extra time to craft a thoughtful response. That also slows me down in internet discussions. Still, I've enjoyed keeping up with commentary in recent years, because economics blogs with added dialogue can be like books come to life. Some classes over the years didn't even provide that experiential element. The input of multiple perspectives at the same time can make a difference, thus it's something that any digital education of the future needs to consider.

Knowledge use in action, frequently requires more logic - hence concentration - than reading a book. In recent years I've learned to think of logic as a muscle that everyone needs to be able to use. How could life be otherwise? And yet too much of the workplace sorted itself as though some individuals would not need to think at all, to get through life. Hopefully that can change. At the very least, logic can still be developed even as one gets older and gains a chance to put it to use. In a sense, active knowledge use is like an Olympic sport. For the real competition involves overcoming one's own limited perspectives, in the company of others.

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