Knowledge

3 10 2007

Has anyone ever wondered about the average level of knowledge? What I mean basically comes down to how advanced a civilization is. For example only a few centuries ago we believed frogs came from mud. Things like that have obviously changed. Instead of regions being isolated due to geography or whatever reason the entire world is connected via communication and travel. How exactly is all this knowledge gathered and preserved so that you can go beyond it?

That may seem like a simple answer at first, you could easily imagine schools, colleges, ect. However consider the human postition. The average person does not store anything beyond grade school possibly middle school level knowledge. Some keep enough high school knowledge stored but never move beyond that point. Then there are the college folk. The thing about college is that often you end up specializing in one field. Very few people have college level knowledge in more than a few fields down pat.

So human civilization as a collective seems to support itself by having certain things specialized in so you always have experts on that field. This is good and bad as you could easily imagine, good in that you can focus and improve upon the specification, bad in that you aren’t spreading out the knowledge.

What all that nonsense I just said means in normal terms is like say we want to upgrade Earth to a more advanced stage. You would need to pass along some knowledge to be learned at lower levels so that you could accomodate the new. Or basically New-> lowest college-> high school, ect so that college becomes high school level knowledge.

 The sad fact that most people could care less about school around the middle school level means we have a gap and it will be a long time before Earth can fully advance on a large scale.

 I have no idea what all I just said means please elaborate for me and make me stop using big words!

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5 responses

3 10 2007
The DT

So what you’re saying is that children need to be taught things earlier and earlier in order for them to understand everything. This is only true if you attend a school where they teach you all facts known to man. The world is pretty much done exploring English, Mathematics, Physics, and the like. Even if a new word is created, or some new biological creature is discovered, it would only take up about 10 minutes of class time. If you want to learn about the fast-developing world of nanotechnology, you’d go to college and take a specialized course. It would make no sense to bump down the level at which something is taught. There’s no sense in teaching gene splicing to kindergarteners.

3 10 2007
decayedsoul

hmm perhaps, but i wasnt speaking of elementary level.

it is my personal belief that at the middle school age you are able to learn fully, as it is the age when i had my paradigm shift.

and trust me their are ways to learn something that need to be taught, its not always the content but how you go about it. we have become too reliant on calculators for example.

4 10 2007
Ellira

It’s certainly easier to learn when you’re younger, but that makes no difference as you age. Using myself as an example :p I used to have an aptitude for a broad range of subjects, but as I’ve got older, my brain’s become less and less capable, and more and more specialised, despite my education taking information from various areas. It just happens. The human race is also naturally inclined to want to specialise–people get an interest in only one area, and don’t really care about the others.

In a way, it’s a good thing. Having people focussed on one area means that they can think more deeply *into* that area. If they had two or more specialisations, they’d never get as far.

Still, it’s an interesting idea. Maybe the way forward is to get experts from different fields together and swapping ideas.

5 10 2007
joebec

so what you’re saying is that frogs are NOT made from mud? damn!

7 10 2007
writerchick

Hey DC,
Interesting topic. I think that the problem with knowledge and retention of same is that the approach to ‘teaching’ has changed immensely in the last couple of decades. In my mind, it is the lack of really teaching the basics and assuring a good base of basic knowledge that leaves kids/people floundering at the higher levels. Also, there is too much philosophic crap thrown in. It seems to me that that rule of thumb ought to be how useful will this knowledge be in the real world. Trig is great, so is learning all about global warming but will it enable the student to balance his checkbook, find a job, secure housing and feed himself once on his own?

Also, I think the propensity toward specialization has been borne out of the fact that people don’t know the basics and are educated from the view that it always and only the individual who is important and their self expression.

People have an infinite capability to learn and retain knowledge, regardless of what formal education they have. If one reads and is curious one can learn an enormous amount of interesting and useful things.

WC

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