Knowledge can be interpreted in many different ways. Some may see knowledge as learned education. Others may see education as intelligence. None of these perspectives of knowledge are right or wrong. Every person is entitled to their own definition, source, and use of knowledge in their lives. I view knowledge as the wisdom and insight that one may acquire over time, by personal experiences and influences in life.
Most of the basic knowledge acquired by people starting at a young age is in school. As young children, we learn elementary facts such as our numbers and the alphabet. The older we become, the more facts we are taught, and the more complex these facts become. The knowledge one may learn in school is what I think of as worldly knowledge that will get people into the colleges and jobs that they may desire. The people that are abundant in educational knowledge are the people who dominate our economy and run our country. Certainly, this is one of the more important types of knowledge there are and definitely one that we could not do without, but it is not quite as important as some of the others. Education is vital in life, but mere facts cannot aid in the solution to all problems.
Another source of knowledge is entertainment, such as in television, movies, books, or even music. Certain types of entertainment can even be education. For example, television shows such as “20/20” or “DateLine” are both very informative shows, but interesting enough to entertain the public. Entertainment can be tricky, though. The media can convince us, even brainwash us, to believe certain truths that may not be accurate. The television shows we watch and the music that we listen to are huge daily influences on our lives. They help shape the way we think, what we know, and what we feel. We follow the trends that television tells us are “in” and say the things that everyone says. We tend to try to model ourselves after the people on the big screen. The enormous impact that the media and entertainment industry has on the public grows daily with increasing technology. The internet is one of the newer sources of both education and entertainment. It is also fairly harmful. Many things that are banned from television and movies are easily accessible on the World Wide Web, to everyone, including children.
The relationships that we have with people, whether it is co-workers, family, or friends, directly influence us with every interaction. In the workplace, the people that one may work with affect our work habits. If a person works in a busy, fast-paced office, he will be used to that type of lifestyle. But if that same person were to move to a slow-paced, lazy office, he would feel unproductive and lazy.
At home, the people that we live with, our family, are our first teachers. Home is where we learn the morals and values that we, as adults, pass on to our children. Our manners and etiquette that are learned at home are what we bring into the outside world and portray to others. The knowledge and insight that we acquire from our family members are never forgotten and stay in our hearts and minds for a lifetime.
I believe that the relationships one has with friends and lovers are important in shaping a person’s thoughts and actions. These are the people that we turn to in good times and bad, troubles and joys. They are the ones we turn to for advice and consolment. They are the ones that are with us in difficult situations. For example, if there is a group of friends and a few start smoking, it is high likely for all of them to begin smoking. Boy/Girlfriends, however, are a different, more intimate type of influence. Personally, every guy that I have ever dated has changed me in some way, whether it is significant or not. Through the different experiences and emotions one may feel through falling in and out of love, one learns some of the most important lessons of life. Just from falling in love once, one can learn so many things through mistakes and good choices. Love is knowing.
My father is an extremely knowledgeable person. He may not be educated with diplomas and degrees, but he is educated with insight. His is a deeper knowledge that goes beyond the outside surface of people and into their hearts and souls. My father never passed high school education. The knowledge that he has acquired over the years has been purely from his own personal endeavors. I complemented him on his wisdom and he responded with this (in Korean):
“I never thought I was smart. I hated school and always played tricks on fellow students and my teachers. I was a class clown. But as I grew older, I wished that I had paid more attention in my classes. It’s such a waste.”
My father is a perfect example of wisdom without academic excellence. Don’t get me wrong. He is a very smart and clever man. His knowledge just was not learned by the books.
“I’ve had a hard life. I think I have. There have been so many hard times. Things always go wrong. But when something goes wrong, at least you learn and can keep it from happening again. I’m smart. With old age comes wisdom, you know? With every little thing that happens in your life, you learn. As long as you keep learning, you’re okay.”
I believe that knowledge is a gift. It is something that one can never have enough of. It is special and different in it’s own way in every individual. There is no bad or useless knowledge. Every type of knowledge has value, whether the knowledge is about math, cars, or even trash. Each piece of knowledge that we acquire make us into the people that we are. Knowledge is acquired not only through sights and sounds, but feelings and emotions. It is the key to life. As they say, “knowledge is power.”