The Perils of Second Hand Knowledge
How do we know what we know? Do we know what we are required to know or we are just collecting useless information, which we may never use? There is no doubt that the present generation is far more educated than ever before, but that does not mean that they are also more knowledgeable than the previous generations. We might have acquired lots of information and learned many tricks in our schools and colleges, but that would have made us even dumber.
A fox was boasting to a cat of its clever devices for escaping its enemies.
‘I have a whole bag of tricks,’ he said, ‘which contains a hundred ways of escaping my enemies.’
‘I have only one,’ said the cat; ‘but I can generally manage with that.’
Just at that moment they heard the cry of a pack of hounds coming towards them, and the cat immediately scampered up a tree and hid herself in the boughs.
‘This is my plan,’ said the cat. ‘What are you going to do?’
The fox thought first of one way, then of another, and while he was thus debating, the hounds came nearer and nearer, and at last, the fox in his confusion was caught up by the hounds, and soon killed by the huntsmen.
Most of us are like the fox, who know so many things but when it comes to application of the knowledge, we fail miserably.
Albert Einstein has wisely said, “The only source of knowledge is experience”. Just like you can’t know the taste of mango unless you taste it, you can’t know the truthfulness of any information unless you use it. Hence, the real knowledge is one that can be put to use and the knower has personal experience of the same. We may call such knowledge as ‘First Hand Knowledge”.
The second type of knowledge is “Second Hand Knowledge”, which is the knowledge which we have never experienced but someone else claims to have experimented it and shared the knowledge with others. You can never be sure about the authenticity of such knowledge until you decide to use the knowledge in your personal life and experience its truth. We are getting plenty of such knowledge from numerous sources like friends, electronic media, social media and print media all the time.
You may convert the second-hand knowledge to first-hand by using it yourself in the real-life.
The problem with the modern world is that we have too much of second-hand knowledge but little first-hand knowledge. We know so many things, which are not authentic and yet believe them to be true without putting them to practise. People can discuss and debate about them without ever practising them.
Hence, when a real-life situation comes, they can’t decide the right course of action. Just like many people are suffering due to excess of food, many more are suffering due to excess of knowledge. In the words of Einstein again, “'A little knowledge is a dangerous thing. So is a lot.”
When our second-hand knowledge becomes far in excess of our first-hand knowledge, we lose equilibrium of life and suffer due to non-application or wrong application of knowledge.
Try to know only what is needed and useful o you rather than wasting your time for accumulating knowledge for the heck of it, without knowing what to do with it.