What is Knowledge?

What is knowledge? Lately opinion seems rampant, with few verified facts or even time to digest the information before it is publicly circulated. How can a meaningful decision or solution be found if we expect someone to respond immediately into a microphone to newly heard opinions? Do we confuse the person who responds forcefully and immediately with someone who has something of value and thoughtfulness to share? How could someone have much of value to share without time enough to gather additional information, other points of view and review it? Knowledge does grow and emerge out of information, experience, perspective and the openness to those who think and perceive differently.

Why are we sometimes threatened by those who think or believe differently? Wouldn’t their knowledge help round out our own in some fashion? Even if we don’t change our minds, understanding their point of view could help expand our knowledge base and maybe another time, would come in handy.

There is a beauty to contemplation and time to consider evolving information or facts. Do we imagine people are slow if they take time to consider a variety of consequences and outcomes before choosing a course of action? Naturally emergencies require quick responses, but everything is not an emergency. Much is gained by taking time, sometimes “feeling”our way through a decision in order to better commit to a right set of actions. And that takes time. Sometimes those who take longer to choose a course of action are actually considering more information and consequences, essentially being more thorough than those making a quicker decision. There are many decisions we as citizens, employees or community members are paying for because those that made decisions on our behalf didn’t make good ones. What knowledge base do we require of our decision makers?

Financially we pay penalties, fees and interests as consequences for some courses of actions, like rebooking fees because maybe we hadn’t thought through our travel plans well enough. There are costs and benefits to thinking things through, and using our knowledge well. Ideally we learn through our mistakes, for those of us who believe personal accountability and understanding matter.

Certainly opinions need be owned by the one offering the opinion, yet many opinions just seem like noise in an already noisy world. An opinion seems easy to offer with little productive value, like being a critic. But maybe an opinion offered with empathy, then that opinion would be based on far more than one’s own immediate reaction, ego or habit…that opinion could contain consideration and care that did help move the conversation in a productive way.


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