Sunday, December 21, 2014

A Knowledgeable Mind: Too Much Knowledge, Too little Knowledge, Which is more Dangerous?

A little knowledge is a dangerous thing. So is a lot. – Albert Einstein

We are moving into the digital era in which information is only a click away, and knowledge is abundant. The old adage “Knowledge is the Power” is timelessly true, however, there is pitfalls for either too much knowledge or too little knowledge, let’s dig through the BiG WHY:

One of the biggest challenges will be to remain humble. It only reiterates the fact that knowledge is a powerful weapon and it would indeed become dangerous if people do not know how to wield it properly. The general inference derived by people who have a competence in interpreting this is that a little knowledge makes people believe they are more expert than they really are. This can lead to errors in judgment and wrong decisions. Dangerous does not mean that it is bad. It only means that it must be handled with care like high voltage electricity. It demands that we equip ourselves to deal with the complexities which extensive knowledge will bring along with it. We need to look at this as a warning. We will need to be more and more responsible as we expand our knowledge. One of the biggest challenges will be to remain humble and believe that there is always lot more knowledge still out there in spite of the lots we might have already grasped.

Too much knowledge may limit your imagination, deprive you of holistic thinking: While the dangers of too little knowledge is widely acknowledged, not everyone appreciates the inherent dangers of too much knowledge particularly because of the inconsistencies and incoherence in the body of knowledge that surrounds us. There is also the danger of super specialization, which can deprive people of a holistic understanding of life. Digital means hyperconnectivity, just like physical world is blurring with the virtual world, now different domain knowledge are also converging and across-disciplinary understanding is not "nice to have" but "must have" in order to solve many complex issues facing business and society today.

Knowledge is no doubt important but more than that is complete awareness of what is happening in the context. Once you do that, you use your ability to classify the elements and know their linkage. Then you use your specialized knowledge. Over and above that one has to be practical in relation to the context and not let your absolute knowledge overpower practicality. Little knowledge is not dangerous but little application of what you know can be dangerous. The ability to apply, right kind of knowledge, at the right time, with right attitude comes through wisdom & diligent practices.

A little knowledge is a dangerous thing. So is a lot. – Albert Einstein. What Einstein meant that those who don’t know enough have no way of predicting the total outcome of the application of their knowledge while those who do are manipulated by those who don’t. In other words he/she was appalled by the misuse of creating energy from splitting the atom which in his immense knowledge he/she could see the potential benefits for all people, but those without any real understanding of what was involved in creating that energy or of its potential side effects , were willing to ignore these factors in their ridiculous use of this "new" energy to create these forces to hurt humanity. The statement was an ironical criticism of the society in which he found himself , and he knew it would be dangerous for him to overtly criticize it. And so he knew the true meaning would not be understood by the people around him, but none the less the paranoid people in power around him would have punished him had they been intelligent enough to understand his intelligence.

If little knowledge is dangerous, then name a person who knows so much as to be out of danger. Too much knowledge may not be dangerous in itself, yet showing off that knowledge to anyone and anywhere at all the places can be dangerous because it does attract envy.. Similarly a lot of knowledge is also not dangerous but thinking that I know a lot can make you complacent. It can obstruct from further learning; or become obstacle to getting out of comfort zone; turn to be the burden to explore the new horizon, or even turn off the sparkling of your imagination.

Knowledge is the power, you have to apply it at the right time in the right circumstance with the right attitude. Being in awareness of how much we know is essential & applying it authentically in real life is more essential....


Are we confusing Knowledge with Information? Information is what you are fed Knowledge is what we know. Far too often I hear people recite or reproduce information which they do not know but have read, the perfect example being school children reciting what they have read on Google. Other examples are popular 'fads' such as unusual but popular diets.

Thanks for the comment. One's knowledge is other person's information only, an effective KM shall manage information-knowledge-insight-wisdom life cycle more holistically. So modern KM can not manage knowledge as an isolated or static entity, but focus on achieving its value to enable and empower digital workforce in their personal growth and decision making.

Post a Comment

Twitter Delicious Facebook Digg Stumbleupon Favorites More