“A little learning is a dangerous thing,
Drink deep or taste not the Pierian Spring,
There shallow draughts intoxicate the brain,
And drinking largely sobers us again.”
These are very famous lines by the English author Alexander Pope. These are very true because knowledge is very powerful.
What is Knowledge?
Knowledge refers to facts, information and skills acquired through experience or education. It can denote the theoretical or practical understanding of a subject or a field of study. It may also connote familiarity, awareness and comprehension of data, information and description related to objects and situations.
There are three ways of acquiring knowledge— by perceiving, discovering or learning. Knowledge is an imbibing of facts and experiences. The study of knowledge is known in philosophy as epistemology. Knowledge is extremely essential for any progress in life.
Types of knowledge
There are various types of knowledge in this world. They are personal knowledge, academic professional knowledge, religious, spiritual and moral knowledge.
This refers to knowledge of oneself. It can be attained by self-analysis, introspection, inward thinking and self-study. Such knowledge is useful as a tool for self-improvement, gaining better mental equilibrium, making informed choices about one’s direction in life, channelizing one’s talents and potential into appropriate avenues for greater development and finally remaining peaceful and contented in life.
For example if a child is good with numbers from a very early age, he may be able to self-analyse his strength and choose a career in Physics or Mathematics or Engineering once he is older. Similarly a creative young boy or girl may be able to introspect and choose a career in Fine Arts or related creative fields.
This refers to the knowledge we imbibe from books, classroom teaching, and task – based activities and project – based learning in our educational life. It refers to the knowledge we attain from formal or non-formal education systems in our society.
This may also include vocational education to hone our skills as appendages to our academic degrees. This kind of knowledge is extremely essential for the achievement of literacy, skill building, development of qualities required for the workforce of the nation, improvement of the human resource potential of our society and finally to enable the best choice of career leading to maximum productivity of individual and society.
For example the essential qualification for becoming a primary school teacher is at least a Teacher’s Training Certificate (TTC) or equivalent recognised degree along with the successful result of the twelfth standard board examinations. This can only be obtained by academic knowledge.
This refers to the skills and work experience needed in addition to the essential academic degrees in a career. It may include specialised training’s, internships, certifications and other professional activities one may have engaged in to hone one’s skills better for the workplace.
This kind of knowledge may also include awareness and understanding of latest updated trends in one’s filed of specialisation, staying abreast of latest developments, keeping an eye open for various better opportunities of professional development.
For example, a teacher cannot only teach but must also learn and stay informed about the latest updates in her subject in order to improve her quality of service.
Religious, Spiritual and Moral Knowledge
These types of knowledge are all overlapping with each other, interrelated and intersecting. They are very necessary for living our life with goodness and fulfillment. Religious knowledge is imparted either by our parents or our religious teachers. Such knowledge enlightens us and gives us peace.
It works as a spiritual guide and enables us to form good morals and habits and thereby develop a positive and virtuous character.
Such knowledge makes us understand the message of peace, equality, harmony and unity and helps us achieve better social coherence.
This leads to the strengthening of the country. For example the “path” in the temple, “azaan” in the mosque or the “sermons” in the church all convey the same message of love, peace and universal brotherhood and encourage us to live in harmony while being free to practice a religion of our choice.
Effect of Knowledge
Francis Bacon is famously believed to have written: “Knowledge is power.” This is very true. If we acquire total and complete knowledge about anything we can become masters and specialists of the same.
This can lead us to use or misuse the same at our wish and will. Then it becomes an instrument of power. It is up to us whether we use it wisely for the good of society or unwisely for the destruction of man. Science has proved this. Misuse of scientific knowledge led to the creation and use of the atom bomb and nuclear weapons for mass destruction.
Today the same science is being used for eradication of diseases and positive fruitful research. Terrorist organisations distort religious knowledge to incite young impressionable boys and girls to engage in anti-national activities.
On the other hand many schools and colleges multi-faith knowledge is being spread in order to enable the students to understand the value of living in harmony in society.
Knowledge therefore has immense power. It is however an instrument. Its use or misuse lies in the hands of human beings who can use to it to create or to destroy.