Many people like to be “in the know” these days. They read their posts on Facebook and watch the news; some go a step further and watch documentaries on fascinating subjects. Unfortunately, all they get from these sources are facts and information. Oh, information is important, don’t get me wrong, but it doesn’t make you knowledgeable, and knowledge is a precious thing.
According to the Merriam Webster dictionary, knowledge is (1): the fact or condition of knowing something with familiarity gained through experience or association (2): acquaintance with or understanding of a science, art, or technique. Knowledge applies to facts or ideas acquired by study, investigation, observation, or experience. In simpler terms, it is the understanding and skill gained by experience.
Think back to when your mother told you not to touch the pan on the stove. You may have asked why, and she probably said, “Because it’s hot.” She gave us valuable information, but being the inquisitive, and sometimes disobedient, children that we are; we most likely touched the pan the first moment we got. As soon as the searing pain registered in our brain, we gained knowledge.
You cannot just sit and gain knowledge by listening to a bunch of facts, you need to use those facts to make correlations and sometimes even investigate the source of the facts for accuracy. I could not begin to tell you how many You Tube videos there are that demonstrate nifty tricks or experiments that are just downright false. Social sites like Facebook and Twitter allow people to post anything that they like, so you cannot just take it at face value. There are even skewed news reports that require you to do a little digging and find out more about the story. Once you search further for more information, you gain knowledge.
Since the beginning, humankind has sought after knowledge, and we have made many great advances because of it. From the use of tools to circumventing the globe to creating micro-bots for medicine, knowledge has made us a dominant species on our planet.
The next time you hear a bit of information, or a teacher gives you some facts, be grateful, but also take a moment to find out more. You will be surprised how much information is out there, and how quickly you can become knowledgeable in many subjects. If you do the work, you will earn a precious gift.