Tuesday, November 12, 2013

On Knowledge Learned

I Corinthians 8:1  ". . . Knowledge puffeth up . . . "

I'm constantly being surrounded by people who behave as though their extensive knowledge in one field gives them license to expound on and practice in other fields.  This is very prevalent in university circles.  For example, a professor who has a doctorate in reading concerns insists he/she should be allowed to teach psychology.  A person with a Bachelor's in business decides that gives her expertise in reading blueprints.  Yet, when we get realistic, we know that one area of knowledge does not really equate to another.

This is a problem many of us face when we accumulate a wealth of information in one field.  In our smugness about our learning in one concern, we tend to negate the value of knowledge in  another.  Just as I Corinthians 8:1 says, we tend to let a little knowledge "puff us up".

When I was earning my Journalism degree, we were not allowed to have a minor.  Our advisers wanted us to be well rounded individuals who had an introductory grounding in numerous fields.  We needed enough general knowledge to be able to report news stories on many subjects.  This was probably a good idea.  At the same time, we did not get a complete and thorough understanding of any field other than our own.  We became writing techs who had an entry level of knowledge into a number of bodies of knowledge.

My own ongoing battle with being puffed up is on high alert these days.  I get frustrated with individuals who are less informed than I, but who think they know more.  Yet, I find myself criticizing a resident lawn care individual for continuing to mow his yard five or six weeks after we all gratefully acknowledge the end of the growing season.  What exactly do I think my knowledge of journalism, social studies, psychology, religion, or business and economics have to do with how to tend grass?  Although I've had extensive experience cutting my own yard, it could be that someone who does lawn care for a living knows something I do not. 

The point here is that we can all learn from each other.  We can also learn both in and out of college classrooms.  We can get information from extensive reading, television, videos, DVDs, the internet and CD information.  We can even get it from good old-fashioned experience.

Should we not take care not to let our own knowledge, however learned, cause us to be all puffed up?

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