Useless Knowledge

Not all knowledge is created equal.

What was the first thing you did the last time you were trying to remember something, like the name of a movie starring Anthony Hopkins, or some other, on the tip of your tongue fact?

You Googled it.

We live in a disjointed moment in history where the majority of what we are taught in school are facts while at the same time we have human collective knowledge in the palm of our hands.

Facts are easy.

Memorization is a skill (also something that’s not taught, beyond simple mnemonics.

Even most universities haven’t caught on yet. I help my sister with her statistics this past semester. She wasn’t being taught statistics at all though. She was being taught how to plug numbers into a calculator.

Knowledge is only useful if it’s relevant to who you are.

Let’s pick on math for example. Math is vital to the basis of society. Bridges, roads, buildings, houses, music, money… everything involves numbers. But when you’re a kid in a classroom all you know is that you gotta add one thing to another thing, and divide a thing to solve for a thing.

The why is abstracted from the what.

Useful Knowledge is relevant, relatable, inspiring, challenging, practical.

Facts are great and all (especially trivia night) but aren’t as profound and powerful as they could be when combined with the wisdom of why the facts are relevant.

You could spend years learning everything about cars and never utilize that knowledge because you live in a city where you walk everywhere and ride the train. Or worse in my mind, you could know everything about cars, and never have driven one. There are exceptions of course. Your interest in mechanics could lead to a use of that knowledge on a new invention idea you have, or lead to you working on rockets. But even then you’ve gotta get your hands greasy, so to speak.

Knowledge is powerful when used. It can change our lives for the better (when used ethically of course).

There’s a caveat of course :) Anything you find enjoyable to learn, useless or not, is not a waste of time. In fact, no information is useless if you brings you joy.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,

— Josh W.

Josh Waggoner