This conversation is closed.

Is Knowledge a Curse?

"In an article titled “The Curse of Knowledge”, it’s noted that as a person learns more about a subject, it becomes increasingly more difficult to discuss that subject with someone who doesn’t posses that knowledge. It simply becomes harder and harder to empathise with them.

This means that the more educated and passionate you are about a subject, the harder you will find it to discuss or teach it to others.

This effect is one of the cited possibilities for why teaching is so difficult a career, since it means that eventually teachers will become more and more disillusioned with the endless wave of perceived stupidity they’re forced to endure."

All of the above is from the article I read online, not my words.
What do you think? Is knowledge a curse?

Closing Statement from W T

Knowledge........information obtained from experience or education.

A lot has been said in this debate/conversation about knowledge.

One may conclude that knowledge, in and of itself, is not a curse. Knowledge is essential in order to function in society, and in order to help others.

Knowledge though, is just the beginning.......there are other things worth seeking beyond knowledge...........

Among those other things worth seeking are............ understanding.......... discernment............and perhaps, if we are fortunate enough, we might obtain...........wisdom.

How we handle the knowledge we have is strictly up to us.

The world is filled with passionate individuals who hold a wealth of knowledge, and who also possess understanding of that knowledge. Wisely they seek to share their knowledge with others, whenever, and wherever they can.

The example of Nan Hauser which is discussed in this conversation is a fine example for all of us. There are many other examples worldwide.

May we all continue to see knowledge as a blessing and use it wisely to better ourselves and others.

  • thumb
    Oct 26 2013: Is knowledge a curse? As Uncle Ben once said: "With great power comes great responsibility." Knowledge gives us responsibilities. You know fast food is toxic for you, what are you going to do about it? Gold mines are intoxicating rivers, what is your course of action? Some might consider it a curse, because they do not know what to do with that knowledge. We are cursed with the knowledge of not doing anything. But that is, of course, regarding knowledge that most would prefer to pass unseen.

    Now, regarding what the article is talking about, I have to quote Einstein here: "If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough." When I encounter people that don't know as much as I do on a subject, I see it as an opportunity. I love explaining new things to people. Yet, I believe teaching is a difficult career because year after year you have to explain the same subject; it is as if your classroom, regardless of five years in math, don't understand that one subject. I'd get tired as well. But in ordinary day to day conversation? I try to meet them where they're at and start from there.
    • Oct 26 2013: Thank you for your thoughts Chantal.
      If I had a nickel........

      Sometimes I think the "E" in TED could very well stand for Einstein. LOL
      Your view of knowledge in is harmony with what a lot of contributors have stated.

      As an educator, I too become bored with teaching the same material year after year....I have gotten around it by changing grade levels, and changing schools, and moving to different places to teach.

      Growing in knowledge, at the same time you impart knowledge to others is a good thing.

      Have you seen the Nan Hauser story. She is a marine biologist. I think you will find her use of knowledge to be quite interesting. I think you will enjoy watching the documentary Lejan linked.....here it is. Enjoy!!

      http://vimeo.com/64454577
      • Oct 27 2013: I like what you have said when quoting Einstein " If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough". I on certain subjects know it well enough to explain. While me the way i ask questions and explain it, i tend to put in in ways people don't understand it even though i put it in the most simply way i can. i try not to ask questions because when i do it boggles the teachers how i ask questions. sometimes when i ask things the way other students may ask things, i feel as though i'm asking it wrong and when i ask it my way nobody understands. I try to express myself and show people through doing things rather then explaining it in words. It's better that way for them, but harder for me. Is it better to teach a person visually or through another way? Help me please.
        • thumb
          Oct 27 2013: Hi Cinthia. :) I actually know how you feel. I'd often ask questions that were quite unusual during class; what I realized is that I wasn't searching for explanations per se, but for an expansion on that knowledge. I realize you said you try to express your way by doing things because it is easier for THEM, but not for you. It is hard for people to understand you if you have a hard time understanding yourself. If you don't feel comfortable by doing things, then simply go by word, comparison or representation. When people don't understand me I try to use metaphors, analogies or simplify my question and then follow it up with more questions until I get to the level I want.
        • Oct 28 2013: Hello Cinthia, thank you for your thoughts on this subject.

          May I add some further thoughts?

          Some people learn in a good way when you show visual help.......some learn just when you talk to them......others need to see you doing what you are trying to show them.

          I think it depends what you are trying to show and teach.

          It sounds like you have a gift for teaching others. As you get older and attain more knowledge of how we humans learn, perhaps you will no longer have trouble being able to impart your knowledge to others.

          I hope I have helped you a little.
      • thumb
        Oct 27 2013: @Mary M: Thank you for the link, Mary. I didn't even know another species of whales existed! I liked how Nan approached the issue midrange sonars with the NAVY. She used reason over passion, something we sometimes tend to oversee.

        By the way, I also agree that one of the best ways of learning is through sharing knowledge.
        • Oct 28 2013: That was a nice video wasn't it? I'm glad you enjoyed it.
          She seems like a well balanced person with a natural ability to make others comfortable around her.

          I have a quote for you regarding the sharing of knowledge.....

          "If you have a dollar, and I have a dollar.
          And I give you my dollar, and you give me yours,
          we will still each have only a dollar.

          But, if I have an idea that works,
          and you have an idea that works,
          and I share my idea with you,
          and you share your idea with me.
          Then, we will each have two ideas that work"

          Life is beautiful when we spend it sharing ideas that work with others.
          And we all have ideas that work, this knowledge is worth sharing......freely.......for the betterment of mankind. That is why having an open mind to other's ideas is so important.

          Thank you Chantal for contributing to this conversation. :)
          I'm Mary, nice to meet you!!
  • thumb
    Oct 19 2013: Acquiring knowledge can be an extremely empowering and satisfying life experience
    however
    it can also mean never being able to go back to the blissful ignorance we once enjoyed.
    • Oct 20 2013: Oooh William.....yes, knowledge is a curse in the sense that once you know something, you have a certain responsibility that might come with it.

      It's like being around the office when they install the new copying machine.....and YOU were the only one trained to use it.......curses!!! Each time someone has trouble with it, they come looking for you.
      You may choose to fix the problem, or you may choose to share your knowledge of the machine with others and share the wealth (of knowledge).

      I have friends that have never learned how to operate a camera, just because they hate being asked to take pictures........some people enjoy blissful ignorance.........less responsibility.

      Others love knowledge.........but they do not like to share it.
      And still others delight in sharing the information they have with others who are in need of obtaining it.
      Thanks William for joining the conversation.
      • thumb
        Oct 20 2013: even more poignantly, the German word weltschmerz refers to the depression that follows realizing one's own sheltered existence is s far cry from the poverty, misery and suffering that afflicts the majority of the people in the world.
        • Oct 20 2013: Oh yes.........and usually this weltschmerz hits in old age......,,,,or middle age.....when these same people think it is too late to learn anything new.

          I have had many conversations with the elderly and the old-at-heart about this very same issue.

          I am glad to see that many of the speakers on TED are up in years.....and many of the audience members are too.....as well as those of us in the TED community.

          Living = learning.............in my dictionary.

          Thanks amigo for your thoughts.
          Be careful with those pistols ya here Yosemite?

          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4eo0OY8GOuc
  • thumb

    . .

    • +4
    Oct 16 2013: The universe and everything in the universe is a blessing.
    Our knowledge is our attempt at understanding this universe.
    • Oct 16 2013: Yes Juliette, you are correct. Knowledge is a wonderful thing.
  • Oct 28 2013: I have submitted a list of quotes from various contributors to this debate.
    I hope that reading through it might give you an idea of the many insights that were brought out regarding knowledge.

    I have written the name of the contributors next to the quotes. That way you can go and find them and read some more if you would like.
  • Oct 28 2013: “Those who are cursed should not blame knowledge ... egos are most likely the cause.” Robert Winner

    “Knowledge is not a curse for the wise” Pabitra Mukhopadhyay

    “Regardless of how much content knowledge a person has, pedagogical content knowledge is vital” Fritzie

    “Without modesty the knowledge will turn into a real Curse for Man” Riadh Boukratem

    “As you educate yourself (grow in knowledge), you exile yourself from these circle-soothing societies one by one. It is a no win situation. How else to react to that than anger or depression?” Krisztian Pinter

    "Knowledge is knowing Tomato is a fruit, wisdom is not using it on a fruit salad." Gunjan Ghimire

    “If someone has an arrogant character, no matter how much knowledge he has, he always thinks he's right and others are stupid.” Yoka Feng

    “Knowledge becomes stale once it is known.” Manish Khatri

    “Knowledge is evolving so if one stops learning at certain point thinking s/he knows it all , in some other point s/he will find herself / himself an ignorant .” Salim Solaiman

    “Do you think there may also be a link between the considerable accumulation of knowledge and mental agility in some people with high-functioning autism/Asperger's syndrome - the 'curse' being related to their inability to impart that knowledge on others without labeling them as 'stupid”. Allan Macdougall

    "Our knowledge is our attempt at understanding this universe." Juliette Zahn

    "We should lower our intellect to the level of the child, not our emotions" Adriaan Braam

    “Anyone who is genuinely passionate about what he knows tries by all means to share it with others in order to bring them to his level of knowledge. This is how great leaders have transformed the world.”
    Bongani Sibeko

    "What makes people more vulnerable of being cursed are highly talented people who never struggled a lot with learning...they may be knowledgeable and smart, yet they often have difficulties to imagine that not all people have their brains." (paraphrased) Lejan
  • Oct 26 2013: In your first passage you stated that from "the curse of knowledge" it states it is harder to teach a subject you know so much about to a person who knows so little, correct? I am only 16 but yet out of my whole family i find it hard to discuss any of my interest based on any and all animals (almost all). i would one day love to be a marine biologist, but how can i do so if i can't discuss with someone the true meaning and importance of marine life if no one seems to pay mind when i say a sentence on the subject at hand. i find it hard for people in school to say something so ignorant about animals especially when finding myself in biology class last year. people would tend to say "wow that whale is a fish". while in fact whales are big mammals not fishes at all. I try not to discuss on any subject people don't know much about even if it is out of that subject. people are going to be ignorant and even though you know what is factual and based off real experience, people won't take what another person says into consideration because they just say "that's a lie, and are trying to show off". I don't feel that having knowledge is a curse but indeed a gift and such of importance, for the reason that when something that may or may not be a chaos people that have the knowledge of anything, from something so small as how to tie a knot to how to save a dolphin will always be a gift of life, and can one day come down to just that. Hope you see this has helped. Feel free to ask questions
  • thumb
    Oct 23 2013: I never would call knowledge a curse, but I agree that the more you know the more difficult it becomes to communicate that to others.
    Knowledge is something that drives humanity. Our curiosity for gathering more and more knowledge brought us to where we are today (good and bad).
    One could knowledge consider a curse maybe in the sense that the more you know the more you figure how little you know. In addition, with increasing knowledge one also becomes increasingly isolated because there will be fewer and fewer people to share this knowledge with.
    So, some people actually might consider ignorance is bliss.
    • thumb
      Oct 23 2013: I think knowledge should be developed with humanity too. Knowledge has no fault, it's humans who make it look like a curse.:)
    • Oct 23 2013: Harald, thank you for contributing to this small conversation of such a big topic.

      May I ask you a question?

      Have you watched the documentary that Lejan linked below on the Marine Biologist Nan Hauser?

      Here is the link......

      http://vimeo.com/64454577

      And I will have to respectfully disagree with you when you say "with increasing knowledge one also becomes increasingly isolated because there will be fewer and fewer people to share this knowledge with".

      Perhaps if you had stuck a "may become" and there "may be fewer and fewer" I could agree.

      But it is really up to the individual to choose isolation or loftiness.

      I think if you watch the Nan Hauser story you will realize what I mean.

      Thanks for stopping by and sharing your knowledge of this topic with us.
      • thumb
        Oct 23 2013: Hi Mary, no I didn't watch the video but I will and you are right, it should be "may become increasingly isolated", although fact is that not everybody is driven to attain knowledge, so inevitably, the gap between somebody seeking knowledge and those not interested in it will be ever larger.
    • Oct 24 2013: Yes Harald I believe you have a point there.

      But in today's technological age don't you think now more than ever before knowledge is abundant?
      And easily attainable, so that people are more likely to seek it?
      • thumb
        Oct 24 2013: I agree Mary, today it's easier to access knowledge, however, not everybody is interested.
        For example, I'm very interested in everything related to sustainability, however, most people I talk show little interest in deeper conversations about this topic, although they might agree that it is an important topic.
        Another example, among other things I'm also a sommelier, meaning wine is one of my passions. Although many people like to drink a glass of wine, few actually care about how wine is made, different grape types, the influence of soil and climate on grape quality, etc.
        I could give you many more examples but I assume you get the general idea.
  • Oct 22 2013: Knowledge is beautiful, liberating and fulfilling. Yes, the more you know the less people you can *easily* share that knowledge with others. But that only happens if you forget your roots. For example, I continue using the very same street slang I grew up with, even when explaining the science I work within.
    • thumb
      Oct 22 2013: Good point Entropy.....I agree:>)
    • Oct 22 2013: That is exactly the topic at hand.
      Thank you for sharing with us the strategy that helps you not to forget "your roots".
  • thumb
    Oct 21 2013: Upon reading about some of the 'favourite teachers' mentioned below I felt compelled to add one of my own. While in second year studies it came time for me to take a statistics course. However, when I mentioned this to my friends and colleagues many lamented how much they disliked the subject or what a terrible experience it was for them. These responses surprised me since I knew it would be about numbers and I liked numbers. Numbers make far more sense than most people ever do and numbers never lie or attempt to deceive themselves or others. So I chose to have a good experience.

    Unfortunately, such as not the case the first time around. I am sure the guy knew his stuff but I was already confused after the first week and went to him numerous times for help. But by the end of the month I dropped the course.

    However, the next semester offered a second stats class and I again signed up. This guy was what I was looking for. I was still confused in the beginning but when I went to him for clarity he had an infinite ways of explaining the same thing. While the first guy kept reiterating the same points but with different words, the second guy would offer different ways of perceiving the same idea until one clicked. And that was why I was grinning ear to ear at the end of that statistics course, the one that had no grade below an a-.

    Both knew statistics. But the second was far more competent at disseminating that knowledge to a wider audience.

    Another interesting note about the two teachers. The first looked and carried himself as a member of the pale, indoor, intelligent and informed community populating most universities. The second had the rugged outdoors look of a rancher or farmer complete with cowboy boots and big shiny belt buckle and might even have been a bit bowlegged :).
    • thumb

      Lejan .

      • +1
      Oct 21 2013: 'Numbers make far more sense than most people ever do and numbers never lie or attempt to deceive themselves or others.'

      Well observed. Which brings numbers somewhat close to domestic animals, in a way... :o)

      'While the first guy kept reiterating the same points but with different words, the second guy would offer different ways of perceiving the same idea until one clicked.'

      Thats very well put! Right on spot and what separates people with knowledge from teachers!
      • Oct 21 2013: I will second that!!
    • Oct 21 2013: You know, I have been fortunate enough throughout my life to meet very talented individuals, who also happen to be teachers. They have an innate talent to share the knowledge they have accumulated.

      How kind of you to come back and share your personal experience with all of us.

      Thank you William.........if you get the opportunity, I highly recommend watching the vimeo video that Lejan linked below on Nan Hauser.

      Be Well.
    • thumb
      Oct 21 2013: But beware, some numbers may still bite you ... :o)

      Sixty Symbols: Imaginary Number
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EIstpPXKWng
      • Oct 28 2013: I did a recap of the debate with quotes that jumped out at me as I reread the contributions.
        If you have the time, come back and read through them......
  • Oct 19 2013: As far as explaining things to others, Einstein said that 'if you can't explain it in simple terms, you don't understand it'; or something like that, I think.
    Another question is how are you going to handle that knowldge - what are you going to DO with it? (Are you optimistic or pessimistic?) Are you going to just sit there and build a worldview that veers ever-more to the unrealistic in your mind, or will you test it in the real world & develop realistic buttresses with other minds & bodies?
    And yes, Mike is right that many times people do not want to hear the actual truth! (And I'm beginning to wonder about how to connect better, so "the message" is secondary.)
    • thumb
      Oct 19 2013: I totally agree Steve C....if one cannot explain it in simple terms, s/he does not fully understand it!

      I also agree that HOW we use knowledge is a very important piece. Some folks would like to put themselves on a pedestal with their presumed knowledge, and if they cannot adequately share the information, what good is the knowledge? It is important to have the knowledge, AND be able to share the information in several different communication "styles", otherwise the message is lost to the audience.
      • Oct 22 2013: Seems that a lot of folks would like to be on a pedestal of any variety - and there are false pedestals to choose from as well.
        Yes, different communication styles, learning styles & thinking/feeling types are important too; maybe secondarily to being able to see if someone is more concerned with another impending matter than the one at hand.
        I've had recent deep thought on the matter - this "how" is how I've been holding myself back. "How" points very much to me & my fears, and my decisions about me & my fears, pains and distrusts.
    • Oct 20 2013: Thank you Steve. This quote by Einstein gets a lot of mention in TED conversations.

      Could you elaborate on your last statement that appears in parenthesis? I'm not quite sure I understand it.
      Thanks.
      • Oct 22 2013: Ah, "...I'm beginning to wonder about how to connect better, so 'the message' is secondary."
        You drudge that old thing up... I was hoping it'd get glossed-over by readers, as it concerns personal philosophies of a tender nature; questioning old assumptions & relearning life; "relationships-first."
        I think I spoke of it in one of my very first posts: "I am enough."
        This "gnowledge" has been one of my personal shields; as evidenced by the crutch of reading only non-fiction.
    • thumb
      Oct 22 2013: Ah.... yes Steve C, there are many varieties of pedestals.....you are right about that my friend:>) The problem with the pedestal, is that one who puts him/herself there, is isolated from other people, and therefor whatever knowledge s/he has, may feel like a curse because it is difficult to share information from way up there!

      Why do you think/feel that the "how" is holding you back? I find that if we are asking ourselves a question like "how", we are seeking information and moving forward. Yes, it sometimes reveals fears, and in my humble perception, that is how we learn and grow...."relearning life", as you insightfully say.

      We can feel...."I am enough" in this moment, while also knowing that there is more to learn....make any sense? To do that of course, we need to be off the pedestal......down on the ground rooting under every stone yet uncovered:>)

      Why do you think/feel that reading non-fiction is a "crutch"?
      • Oct 23 2013: Edited for size & reply
        If we're asking how, we're seeking, but if life asks us "how," we may say "IDK," and give-up.
        "How" holds me back because I never learned self-esteem well; Mignon McLaughlin said, "Learning too soon our limitations, we never learn our powers." I never learned to apply myself to anything difficult, (e.g. social); it was too easy to say 'I can't.' It's a vicious cycle to back away from fears & lose faith in one's worth. So I tried to learn facts, & grow theories of mind & matter in place of heart & soul.
        "We can feel....'I am enough' in this moment, while also knowing that there is more to learn...." That makes great sense. "I am enough," is golden; "more to learn," (if wisdom), is bonus. But "more facts," is just tinsel.
        Facts are a "crutch" when one still feels empty inside. I wonder now if some fiction may be a way for an author's dreams to explore possibilities of bravery, human worth and the hard stuff.
        "down on the ground rooting..." I'd agree, but I had a thought recently, as I have thought much of the subconscious mind, I now wonder if our true motives & volitional powers lie in our hopes & dreams.

        RE: Risk seems to be an almost-magical act.

        I grew up curious about science - but I had to defend inside.
        Fear of the unknown seems like a fear of being forgotten, of things left unsaid or not-done.

        "Be kind to yourself" is a hard-sell; seems too cliche. "I shouldn't have to reassure myself.

        An upward "cycle" - I imagined it as linear, but cyclical may be better.

        Emptiness, is close at hand to ponder, but no, I don't feel empty inside; talking, (talking's different than acting); it has a certain safe logic to it.

        I suppose I shouldn't expect anything but a long-road for a soul in an infinitely-layered universe. It does seem that everything is connected, but maybe some connections still have to be built, realized, (or merely "claimed or "exclaimed," as I imagine someone brave & strong do).

        thank-you for the "insight & wisdom" comments.
        • thumb
          Oct 26 2013: I agree Steve C, that sometimes not knowing how to explore something causes some folks to give up. Personally, I love exploring, because in each moment, there is an opportunity to learn and grow. So the curiosity stimulates the pursuit of information, which contributes to knowledge, which in my humble perception, is a joyful process:>)

          I also agree with you that it takes a certain amount of courage (or self esteem as you say), to take the risk of going beyond what we think we know at any given time. It is risky on our part to delve into something that may be unknown to us. You are very insightful to realize there may be a cycle involved...backing away from fears, losing faith in one's worth, ability and strength....which causes us to back away even more.....on and on....

          Once we start delving, however, and learn that it is not so terrible, we may discover that it is really a gift to ourselves......a gift that can strengthen our courage and self esteem. That is another cycle my friend....learn more, which strengthens our courage and self esteem, which causes more stimulation and curiosity to delve more.....you see?

          Be kind to yourself, because your exploration into "non-fiction book knowledge" does not have to be "in place of heart & soul". In my perception, everything is interconnected, so we can integrate everything we learn to form theories of mind & matter, heart & soul".

          I am curious....do you feel "empty inside" with this conversation? Because you are sharing some wisdom, knowledge, self esteem, courage with sharing your personal story, trust, and insight. Wherever that information came from doesn't really matter.....you are "applying" it very well my friend:>)

          Wherever our "motives & volitional powers" lie, may be unique to the individual, don't you think?
        • thumb
          Oct 28 2013: Steve C,
          I notice your edit.....beginning with...
          "RE: Risk seems to be an almost-magical act".....

          Regarding your comment...
          ""Be kind to yourself" is a hard-sell; seems too cliche. "I shouldn't have to reassure myself."

          When I remind myself and others to "be kind to yourself", it is more than an empty phrase. We are often taught to be kind and respectful to others, and it's important to extend that kindness, understanding, compassion and respect to our "self" when we need it.

          You say you "shouldn't have to reassure" yourself. There was a time when I believed that too my friend....I shouldn't have to reassure myself. I finally discovered that it was/is ok to reassure myself, and why should others give me the gift of reassurance if I'm not willing to give it to my "self"? Can we genuinely give something away that we do not have in and for ourselves? I don't think so.

          I agree with you that "some connections still have to be built, realized, (or merely "claimed or "exclaimed," as I imagine someone brave & strong do)."

          I believe we were/are connecting, building, realizing, claiming and exclaiming right here and now my friend.....thank you very much for this conversation...I appreciate you giving me more information, which may lead to more knowledge:>)
  • thumb
    Oct 16 2013: I do not agree that knowledge is a curse Mary M. I agree with Lejan...any teacher who perceives students as stupid would do us all a favor to seek another profession. Labeling students a "wave of perceived stupidity" seems like the teacher is telling us more about him/herself than about the students.

    In my perception and experience, those who have knowledge, also usually have the ability to recognize different communication styles, and if they so desire, can change their explanation to fit the level of understanding of those they are communicating with.

    From the teachers I know, I learn that teaching is more challenging these days because they spend so much time with discipline, trying to keep the class organized, and paperwork which is required before they can actually begin to teach!
  • Oct 28 2013: ---continued............

    “Knowledge can be followed by curses from others” Mike Colera

    “Acquiring knowledge……..can also mean never being able to go back to the blissful ignorance we once enjoyed.” William Clegg

    "The best knowledge is when it comes to you spontaneously rather than by hard learning.” Yubal Masalker

    “There is a huge explosion in knowledge but we are lagging behind in our growth of consciousness” Joshua Bond

    "Knowledge is a curse when no one understands you." Gio Rana

    "Many intelligent people may not be genuinely interested in sharing information because they might feel it is "below" them?" Coleen Steen

    “The more knowledgeable human's are getting the more Exploitation is happening either of Mother nature, either of other living creatures, either of Non living beings, or Space” Kuldeep Negi

    “The more you know the less people you can *easily* share that knowledge with others. But that only happens if you forget your roots.” Entropy Driven

    "Craving knowledge while neglecting the other aspects of life such as relationships and social life may become a curse..." Dian Mend

    “Knowledge gives us responsibilities.” Chantal Soldini

    Thank you to everyone who participated.

    I will be adding closing remarks tomorrow........after the conversation closes.
  • thumb
    Oct 27 2013: it's a cure to the curse of ignorance...after all
    • Oct 28 2013: Yes.......yes, it may well be that......after all.
  • Oct 21 2013: Knowledge Is a Seed
  • thumb
    Oct 21 2013: in addition to what have been said already, let me introduce my "mailman theory".

    observe mailmen, as they leave the post office in the morning. they depart as a group, and they immediately split up, some goes to the left, some to the right. then they split up further, some goes to the bicycle racks, some to the bus station, etc. and so on, as they go on their way, they split into smaller and smaller groups, and finally they arrive to their district alone.

    this happens with understanding too. the better you understand the world, the smaller the group of people sharing your views. and as you advance, it is inevitable for the group to eventually split. only if you stop, and all the others stop as well, you can keep the group together.

    in that sense, knowledge has an antisocial element. and i think this is one of the reasons behind anti-intellectual sentiments.
    • Oct 21 2013: That is an interesting theory.

      But, there is a difference between "understanding the world", and having in depth knowledge of a subject area............You cannot obtain a PHD in "understanding the world", but you may certainly obtain a PHD in marine biology and spend 30 years on a Pacific Island observing humpback whales and becoming a renown expert on these sea creatures.

      The question is, what will you do with that knowledge?

      How will you communicate with others?

      Will you look down on humanity for NOT having your knowledge?
      Or will you humbly share your passion and knowledge with those who seek to understand your field?

      You want an example? Here........this is an example of knowledge being a blessing and not a curse:

      http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-18563_162-57608090/the-secrets-behind-the-songs-of-humpback-whales/

      Nan Hauser shows us how an expert can speak to those less knowledgeable without being condescending.
      Notice her smile and her patience and her illustrations
      • thumb
        Oct 21 2013: yeah, my post addresses only a subset of learning, namely those that supposed to change your life. knowledge about quantum mechanics just excludes quantum mechanics from the topics you like to discuss, but does not exclude you from your social circles. not that big of a loss.

        i'm not necessarily talking about "looking down". in my experience, as the knowledge difference grows between two persons, first there is discussion, then there is teaching, then after some threshold it becomes either a desperate but hopeless undertaking or a simply lie. or of course it can be simply abandoned.

        as an example, after i finally (years of trying and failing) acquired a rough approximate understanding of the general theory of relativity, i can not anymore wholeheartedly support any popular approaches to it. the only honest approach left is to simply say: sorry, but this concept is not available, not even in a grossly oversimplified form, without high level mathematics. everything else is dishonest, and you should not listen.

        smiling is easy. admitting the truth is not always.
        • Oct 21 2013: "in my experience, as the knowledge difference grows between two persons, first there is discussion, then there is teaching, then after some threshold it becomes either a desperate but hopeless undertaking or a simply lie. or of course it can be simply abandoned."

          Yes, I see your point.

          I have often struggled with individuals who, despite my best efforts, are unable to understand the information I am trying to share with them.

          Sometimes, we just do not know why they are unable to understand.

          Call it entrenched inclinations.....memes....hard headedness.....hopeless morons.....or just plain lack of cognitive abilities, I do understand your point. I really do.

          So knowledge then is a curse at times, isn't it? Especially when we are at our wits end trying to make others understand us, and seeing that our attempts are futile, I'm I correct?

          I really appreciate you coming back and attempting to help me understand.

          And, because of you, I was able to link the Nan Hauser interview.......and because of that, Lejan linked his Vimeo video.........and due to that, now I am elated, it is some video, I hope you watch it!!...........So, thank you Krisztian, thank you!!
        • thumb
          Oct 21 2013: Unfortunately to long for you to watch, because of your to do list, yet maybe interesting to others:

          Sixty Symbols : Relativity Paradox
          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kGsbBw1I0Rg

          And no, math alone isn't key for understanding.
        • thumb
          Oct 21 2013: Highly recommended to see!

          Sixty Symbols : What confuses a physicist?
          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CVnJRfCSSEQ
    • thumb

      Lejan .

      • +2
      Oct 21 2013: You talk about branching, thats ok, yet there is no antisocial element in knowledge itself. The fact that it's been misused is what makes it 'anti' in social interaction, the way people act upon it too.

      The problem also occurs when one of your postman claims to be the only one who arrived at the true and only valid destination and mail receiver of them all. As 'the world', whatever than means, can be understood in many and equally valid ways.

      This is why it is so important, that acceptable social behavior and their nurturing conditions get decided by the majority of the people who form a given community, and not by just a view who claim to have found the only 'branch of wisdom' and attempt to rule them all.

      The only anti-intellectual sentiment I noticed so far is within religion vs science and against the so called 'leftist' body of thought in capitalist based economies. Both of them are artificially triggered and sustained by a ruling authority to maintain their position of power.

      Any other resentments are less generalized and mainly caused by 'intellectuals' who didn't manage to get their point across in simple and understandable terms.
      • Oct 21 2013: Did you see the clip of the marine biologist I linked Lejan?
        • thumb

          Lejan .

          • +1
          Oct 21 2013: Yes I did and it doesn't happen often to literally feel the spirit and heart's blood of a scientist that close via this media. Nan Hauser linked her heart with her face.
      • Oct 21 2013: This is a reply to your comment below.....about Celia Cruz.

        I think that Celia Cruz is very unique Lejan. No other Cuban entertainer that I know of has had the love for people that she displays. If you click on Juliette's links.....one of them shows Celia singing, and the camera continually goes to an older gentleman with watery eyes. That my friend was her husband. They were inseparable. He was quiet, also an entertainer, but quiet. Their love for each other was exemplary. That in itself was a great testimony to anyone who knew her.

        If you click on my first link below, you will see her intoxicating appeal.......she loved what she did. But the knowledge she had of music was never lorded over the audience. Her knowledge was not a curse......

        Hope you enjoyed your weekend.....I'm in the middle of studying for a midterm exam.....coming online relaxes me a bit.....
        • thumb
          Oct 21 2013: Either way we take it Mary, Bob Marley got it right in saying:

          No woman, no cry.

          But I know what you mean and the husbands testimony tells me more than that of hundred other people, in a way, because there could be other reasons for him to cry which may not all be sweet by their nature.

          It also didn't surprise me, that her husband was quiet by his temper, as it seems to be almost a necessity for highly extroverted individuals to have this form of counter-balance. I don't know if this is a matter of accessible 'stage space' or the attractiveness of the 'opposite', yet to me 'inseparability' is a very positive sign for a healthy and working relationship.

          Good luck for your studies! :o)
      • Oct 21 2013: OK, Lejan, I'm coming back to ask you about something that William Clegg mentioned below.....

        The word "weltschmerz".

        Care to share your view of this?
        You might want to check out his comment below.....William is dressed up as Yosemite Sam.......a piece of Americana............don't let the guns scare you.
        • thumb
          Oct 21 2013: Those guns have been pointed at me at kindergarten, so I am used to them since ... :o)

          The German word Weltschmerz has become an anachronism today in my view, as it is not used anymore within the current German language and, if at all, only used within the context of romantic literature or philosophy from times long passed.

          It goes very well with elegiac reflections and melancholic moments, yet is of temporary character only. Its most favorable season is autumn, or better was, and it is inseparably linked with an romantic view on the world.

          I think any German still gets it in their 'hello planet - welcome kit', yet the pace of modern times does not allow to practice it in young years very often.

          I personally substituted the word Weltschmerz by the following phrase:

          Optimism is a lack of information

          Which does not allow this reflection to be of just temporary nature and keeps pace with modern times without any problems and time delay. It works in all four seasons as well as under zero 'gravity' conditions (though I didn't like the movie). :o)

          The phrase on its own states, that 'knowledge is a curse' although this sort of knowledge is restricted to 'information' only, whereas the destruction of 'optimism' kills off any romantic aspect in it right away.

          I am certainly not happy about this necessary changes and adjustments, but Weltschmerz just doesn't fit anymore in this modern Zeitgeist.
      • Oct 21 2013: You should watch the entire 60 minutes presentation on humpback whales.
        It was riveting........and I mean riveting...........I won't spoil it for you......

        Here is the link:

        http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=50157525n

        Enjoy.......

        Oooops......let me clarify.......by 60 minutes I do not mean that the video is 60 minutes long.
        The show itself is CALLED "60 MINUTES". It is a news program that airs on Sunday nights in America, and it lasts for 60 minutes. The whale piece was just one of the stories last night.
        • thumb
          Oct 21 2013: Thank you for the link!

          It turns out, that Nan Hauser is as interesting as a person and scientist as the whales she is talking about. :o)

          Thats what I call a beautiful mind and heart!

          :o)
        • thumb
          Oct 21 2013: By the way, I once was very close to apply for a job opening at Sea Sheppard. The only reason which kept me doing this, was, that all their ships are strictly 'non smoking' areas, even at deck. :o)
        • thumb
          Oct 21 2013: Footprints on the water: Nan Hauser story

          http://vimeo.com/64454577
      • Oct 21 2013: "Nan Hauser is as interesting as a person and scientist as the whales she is talking about."

        May I submit this for the Understatement of the Year Award?

        What an amazing video.......let me say it again........What an amazing video!!!

        Serendipity!!! That's what these two days have been....filled with little moments that have all come together in this conversation. Wasn't she something else?

        Her life philosophy....."Why learn it, if you don't share it"

        I was pleasantly surprised at how it ended.........

        Lejan, thank you for sharing that video with us.
        I won't share any more from it because I hope everyone coming here will click on the link and watch the WHOLE thing.

        {If I score low on my test, I am holding you accountable} {Well.........partly} ;)
        • thumb
          Oct 21 2013: I hereby declare to accept responsibility for any low score on your test and leave any good ones to you alone. I think thats a fair deal, isn't it? ;o)

          As for the 'Understatement of the Year Award' I like to encourage anyone to remember, that this form of devotion, of personal calling and passion, often comes at a high price which does not become visible in documentations.

          I also tend not to super-elevate individuals, regardless of their talents, yet I do appreciate to learn from them in their field of excellence.

          Her credo, 'Why learn it, if you don't share it' is simply beautiful and I can only hope she is aware that much of her success is related to her very character. If not realized and wisely taken care of, her achievements may not sustain beyond her lifespan.

          Following those 'Footprints on the water', even though they haven't been set intentionally deep, can be a very difficult task for her followers. But because how the documentary ended, it seems she is already passing on her wonderful legacy ... :o)
      • Oct 24 2013: I have been thinking about what you stated.......... "I also tend not to super-elevate individuals, regardless of their talents".......

        I think that is wise of you.

        I think the teacher in me is always finding ways of praising people and thinking the best of them.
        I am a firm believer in "catch them doing good".
        • thumb
          Oct 24 2013: Wise or just another fox grape - it depends on ones point of view I guess.

          Prising students and to focus a bit more on their talents than on their weaknesses is not super-elevating, on the contrary. It creates a positive and encouraging stratosphere for them to unfold and explore their abilities and to widen them.

          Yet super-elevation would be destructive, as it spoils more than it would support.

          We are all just humans, thats what we are.
      • Oct 24 2013: Exactly......just humans.

        This human is going to call it a day.....

        Thanks for the exchange.... :D
  • thumb
    Oct 20 2013: Knowledge can be a curse, but only for as long as we are unable to integrate it.

    Such "integration" requires that we grow in consciousness so that we can reconcile (at a higher level) the increased duality which knowledge brings.

    Or if you prefer in a different language, that we reconcile the "good and evil" experienced from eating of that fruit. This 'fruit' enables the potential of an upgrade in wisdom, but it has to become actually realized as a higher level of wisdom, otherwise it is likely to be realized as rampant evil on an ever-increasing global scale.

    The huge explosion in knowledge in recent years, particularly through technology as an amplifier of the human mind, increasingly makes vital the need to grow in consciousness (ie: grow psychologically and spiritually). Such growth in consciousness is currently lagging behind, and we are unable to handle the huge increase in knowledge (currently potential for "good and evil") by integrating it as higher wisdom.
  • thumb
    Oct 19 2013: Knowledge is, actually, a boon in times of crisis. It is, however, a curse when your brain becomes overloaded with the knowledge you don't require. When it crosses a certain limit, your brain faces more difficulties in decision-making as more knowledge means more parameters/constraints to be thought about. So in such situations, when you know more than required, it becomes a curse.
    In a nutshell, know only what you need to know. Optimize the quality and quantity, and you'll see knowledge is nothing but a blessing.
    • Oct 22 2013: It has taken me some time to come back and ask you this.....I had to think about your contribution a while.

      Could you give us an example of knowledge that is Not required?
  • thumb
    Oct 17 2013: Ms. Mary M.

    It's true.
    I know you could find this hard to believe,... but, I have proof.

    You can go back into all the conversations I have had on TED, read my highly educated comments... followed by a number of curses from others.
    It's a cross I bear humbly..
  • thumb
    Oct 17 2013: Matt Ridley in his talk stated that (paraphrase) that willingness to communicate trumps IQ, by a lot.

    I think it comes back to something that Colleen and I state often, it boils down to interested v interesting.

    Many relish in being esoteric, right, mysterious, smarter, cooler, etc. but this is not interested in learning someone.

    And the corollary from the ignorance perspective. You has to know that you don't now before you can learn.
    • thumb
      Oct 17 2013: Agree Pat!

      Mary M. focuses on..."as a person learns more about a subject, it becomes increasingly more difficult to discuss that subject with someone who doesn’t posses that knowledge".

      While that scenario may be true for some, I agree that many intelligent people may not be genuinely interested in sharing information because they might feel it is "below" them?

      I have also seen many intelligent people who do not communicate very well, therefor, they miss their audience. What is information if it cannot be adequately shared?

      Good English usage again my friend!!!
      • Oct 17 2013: You bring out a point no one else appears to have mentioned, "that many intelligent people may not be genuinely interested in sharing information because they might feel it is 'below' them".

        I sometimes think that in the medical field this might present a problem. Doctors, who lack a desire to educate their patients, might perhaps fall into this category. Instead of being forthcoming with pertinent information on diet, and other relevant information that might help eliminate a patient's symptoms, they may choose to prescribe a pill. The patient walks away with a prescription, but without knowledge of how to prevent the symptoms from appearing in the future.
        • thumb
          Oct 17 2013: It DOES present a challenge in the medical field Mary M. I observe situations in which some medical professionals don't think the patient will understand, so they do not explain well.....and/or......there are certainly scenarios when the patient does not want to have all the information, the medical professional may sense this, so the patients don't get all the information.

          I think medical schools are focusing again, on connecting with patients, and informing them with accurate information IF they feel that the patient wants that. On the other side, it benefits the patient to know as much as possible about their body, how the systems of the body/mind are interconnected, knowing and understanding the dis-ease that is challenging the body/mind.

          I've heard some people say....I do not want to know the details. Personally, I seek every bit of information I can get because "knowledge is power". If we know how the systems of the interconnected body/mind work, there is a better chance to heal.

          Knowledge, of course is power in various situations of the life adventure.....the more information we have, the better able we are to make informed decisions and choices in ANY area:>)
  • thumb
    Oct 16 2013: It can be a curse, if the teacher loses touch with the basics of his/her specialism.

    Losing touch with the basics is a kind of elitism. Sometimes wantonly to increase one's intellectual standing within a group of peers and/or to massage one's ego. Or unwittingly through forgetfulness and insensitivity to student needs. Forgetfulness is probably forgivable and can be rectified by increasing a two-way interaction with students. Wanton elitism on the other hand is wholly unforgivable and usually difficult to rectify. That person, despite his passion, should not be allowed anywhere near a student in my opinion, until he learns to leave his ego at home.

    A show of disdain from a knowledgeable but egotistical teacher towards a student is far more damaging than a show of empathy from someone less knowledgeable. Students are likely to learn more from the latter than they are from the former.

    Knowledge is merely memorised facts anyway, and we should not be expected to go around like walking hard-drives or encyclopedias. To have that much concentrated knowledge (though impressive) is not only a waste of thinking space, but also the 'cone of knowledge' becomes too narrowed to retain contextual relationships towards other disciplines - maybe good for exams, but not for students themselves.

    Retaining those contextual relationships with other disciplines is a good basis for how to think in a panoramic and worldly context - rather than specialising too narrowly and losing touch with those students who may possess amazing potential.

    The stupidity actually lies with the over-specialised teacher who has broken that bond between himself and the as yet unknown potential of his students. He would be better off in another profession that doesn't involve close interaction with other people.
    • Oct 16 2013: Your points are very well elaborated.
      What happens many times with teachers who are guilty of this elitist attitude is that originally they did not seek a teaching degree. They are just knowledgeable in an area, and decide to come into the teaching field without having the pedagogy. I think Fritzie's comment sheds light on this.

      The word ego has popped up several times in this conversation........and I think that perhaps this is the root of the reason for knowledge being seen as a curse. In the hands of someone with an inflated ego, even misinformation becomes something to boast about........

      So the problem then is not necessarily knowledge itself, but the person. In what other professions may we observe this type of behavior?
      • thumb
        Oct 16 2013: I didn't mean to point my finger solely at teachers. I meant any presenter of knowledge whose job it is to inspire others and to move that knowledge forwards. That could be any influential person - parents, bosses, etc.

        Michael Sandel's style of imparting knowledge is one of the best in my opinion. He doesn't just spout his knowledge ad nauseam to a crowded room, he actually interacts with them empathically, respectfully and with genuine interest, asking questions that never belittles anyone, but rather to encourage deeper thought - and all with good humour.

        Listen to how he interacts with his audience in this BBC Radio4 programme "The Public Philosopher"

        http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b01g5ztq

        This is a fine example of someone who certainly is not cursed in any way by his considerable knowledge.
        • Oct 17 2013: Wonderful link. I had never heard anyone hold a debate in this fashion.
          Thank you so much for sharing this. This is precisely how teachers should conduct classes when dealing with controversial issues. What a fine example for educators, as well as anyone involved in leadership roles.

          I highly encourage anyone reading through this conversation to listen to the broadcast linked.
        • thumb
          Oct 17 2013: Thank you for the interesting link.

          Without doubt, Michael Sandel has a very fine way to moderate the process of learning and understanding, which I noticed the first time here on TED.

          In this particular BBC radio debate, however, he made in my view a crucial mistake.

          From the beginning, he established a certain frame, by calling speakers from the audience by their first names while he was interacting with them. Yet he made one exception, which was a medical doctor, for which he used her last-name as well as her title continuously.

          Although I understand, that as a University professor he might has an unconscious tendency towards these academic distinctions, it did damage the equality of personal opinions he was asking for in the debate.

          Besides this little lapse, I very much like his 'signature style' for interesting debates!
      • thumb
        Oct 17 2013: Do you think there may also be a link between the considerable accumulation of knowledge and mental agility in some people with high-functioning autism/Asperger's syndrome - the 'curse' being related to their inability to impart that knowledge on others without labelling them as 'stupid' (because they don't have the same level of knowledge)...?

        I have little evidence to support that (as yet) - it is just a thought.

        Given that we are all positioned somewhere on the autistic spectrum, is it possible that one of the curses of knowledge is related to social disability inherent in autism?
        • Oct 17 2013: This is a point I had not even thought about.

          Well, I take that back.....I have friends that are always telling me that they just can't find a way to say what they know. They cannot formulate the words into coherent sentences.....when they try, it sounds like a mix of thoughts with no formal structure.

          I don't know why this is so.........I have spent hours discussing this point with them, and asking questions about their schooling, and what goes through their minds at times.

          I have yet to reach a conclusion. Also, having many friends with autistic children, and being an educator, I don't for one minute consider autistic children any less capable of being knowledgeable than their counterpart.

          This "inability" to impart knowledge is quite amazing to think about..............speaking in sign language comes to mind. The human brain, once it realizes that communication is possible, seeks out to find ways to give information and get information..........I feel this is quite a strong desire in humans........Also, think of the blind...........I mean, there are many systems in place for humans with various difficulties in language skills to receive and give knowledge.

          I think your comment brings out a point that helps us to realize how important of a field neuroscience is. Since coming to TED, I have grown in my admiration of the human brain and all it's complexities.

          Here is an article from Neurology Now magazine. Although it does not directly involve our conversation, you might find this new technology very interesting. We are very complex creatures, and many of us have a strong desire to understand what we're made of.........the future holds fascinating gems of knowledge..............I am very optimistic as to what humankind will discover............

          http://journals.lww.com/neurologynow/Fulltext/2013/09050/Picture_the_Brain__New_brain_imaging_techniques.15.aspx

          You have given me some food-for-thought. I will think on your words.....thank you.
  • Oct 15 2013: Mary,

    I have to disagree with the article. Knowledge is always good but it must start with the knowledge of what you do not know. When you have knowledge and passion, you are willing to explain things in different ways and learn more ways to explain this.

    I have seen some teachers who know only 1 way and are scared to be shown up by students. They tend to have a lesson plan and stick to it to the letter without taking into account the difference in students. In fact that is what is fun in teaching, 1 method will work with one student while you have to use another to reach a different student.
    • Oct 16 2013: I think that you bring out an excellent point Wayne.

      There are different types of learning styles. So a teacher who is truly passionate about her professional pedagogy will be very knowledgeable as to this, and be very efficient as a teacher, seeing that every child is capable of learning.

      HOWEVER............once you get into higher education, then you run into professors with a huge knowledge base, but little patience for dumbing down the information.

      So what to do???

      I think this is what the article is expressing......that knowledge may be a curse to these types of individuals.

      I'll ask you the same question I've asked others Wayne, what other professions do you think this happens in? And, have you had any personal experiences with people like this?
      • Oct 17 2013: Mary,

        Think University is a different model - students choose to go to University and choose the course and professors - The burden of control of each student's education has switched from the Administration to the student. Most professors, especially non-tenured, must publish and do research - that is their primary goal, to get tenure. Most would like to spend more time with students and teach - they just do not have the time and it is up to the student to find the right sources, ta's, other professors, other students, the web, books. If a student expects to be spoon fed (had a student ask for me to go over the entire course 2 weeks before the final exam and they had never done homework or appeared in class - no other questions) those that are not great teachers usually are not great researchers - there are exceptions.

        I have seen this (never in the best people) in engineering and programming where people can not explain why they designed something that way. In good organizations, there are design reviews and they are questioned by their peers and answers are demanded. If the answers are not forth coming, the design is not allowed to go forward and the designer's reputation is damaged in the organization.
        • Oct 17 2013: You have just educated me in regards to design reviews.

          Thank you Wayne for your contributions. I appreciate your input.

          So perhaps then, learning to communicate your thoughts and knowledge effectively may be considered an important piece of the puzzle.

          I think that speech, the standing in front of others and explaining things, and sharing narratives on diverse subjects would be very beneficial to students in the lower grades. What do you think of this idea?
      • Oct 18 2013: I agree - I think having students, present, debate, even teach a class (one class)would be great. On the lower grades, below 6 - it would have to be tailored - It is not my area of expertise but grade 6 and above it can be done and was part of my schooling.

        The college I went to required a public speaking class or be on a debate or drama team in your freshman year. Thought it was a great idea. Still do.
        • Oct 20 2013: There are plenty of opportunity in the lower grades to teach oratorical skills to the little ones. There are science fair projects, where an oral presentation is required. There are oratorical competitions. There are show and tell sessions in class.

          It is up to the teacher to involve students in as much speaking as possible. Some teachers though, do not enjoy these activities. So some students miss out on cultivating and perfecting their skills.

          In college I also took part of speech class. It was a requirement. Great class......and lots of different speeches, each with it's purpose. I still remember the talks I gave......and that was a looooong time ago.
      • Oct 20 2013: Great - I would say that earlier the better. You have no idea how many engineers/programmers, even phd level, I have sent to a presentation class and speaking class.

        I also remember my final which was making an extemporaneous speech.
        • Oct 20 2013: I am very surprised to hear that you would need to send phd level professionals to speaking classes........well sort of surprised...........

          I love extemporaneous speeches.........it's what we do here on TED all the time isn't it?
      • Oct 20 2013: So was I at 1st - been working to understand why.

        and yes it should be what we do on TED
  • thumb
    Oct 15 2013: I don't think this is true. To take a slightly different example, I don't think people with large vocabularies and lots of years of education find it harder to talk to their four-year-olds than people with smaller vocabulary and less education. I think depth of understanding is an advantage in teaching a subject, in part because real understanding means the flexibility to view a subject from different angles.

    As you know, because you are a teacher, there is a distinction between "content knowledge," (like knowing the math) and "pedagogical content knowledge," (knowing what kids find difficult in a subject and the misconceptions they tend to have).

    Regardless of how much content knowledge a person has, pedagogical content knowledge is vital, which is why it is part of teacher training, with different issues addressed for a math teacher in training than for a reading teacher or an ESL teacher.

    Further, I think the idea of a negative correlation between expertise and empathy, or intelligence and empathy, is a myth.
    • Oct 16 2013: "there is a distinction between "content knowledge," (like knowing the math) and "pedagogical content knowledge," (knowing what kids find difficult in a subject and the misconceptions they tend to have)."

      To me, this statement is key in being able to educate without the "lording over" that may exist.

      Have you ever come in contact with someone whose knowledge base in their field was vast, and they found it difficult to converse with non-professionals? Although it is difficult to know what a person is thinking, sometimes there are clues when someone is struggling to 'dumb-down' information........some people just struggle to put things in layman's terms in order for the non-expert to understand.
      • thumb
        Oct 16 2013: Oh, of course. This can happen at the university level. In k12, the more common problem, I think, is not knowing the content well enough to teach it effectively.
  • Oct 28 2013: In the words of Einstein, "If you cannot explain a topic simply, you don't understand it."

    More adages for thought: Knowledge is power, power is corrupting & absolute power is absolutely corrupting.
    • Oct 28 2013: Einstein's quote has come up several times in this conversation........I was saving his quote for my closing remarks.

      Thank you Darlington for your contribution. :)
    • thumb
      Oct 28 2013: some people took it as: "if something can't be explained to me simply, it does not exist". and thus a whole sort of denialist was born.
      • Oct 28 2013: I believe that refers to the philosophical principal that the most simple answer is always the best.
        • thumb
          Oct 28 2013: but it underlines that "simple" is a relative term. it does not mean as simple as individual X demands. this saying is often misused.
      • Oct 28 2013: Who Krisztian?.....who are the "some people" saying "if something can't be explained to me simply, it does not exist?"
        • thumb
          Oct 28 2013: denialists.

          for example i say: there is no way that an airplane, a 150 ton metal beast can fly just because it has those tiny things on its sides. i mean, you gotta be kidding me.
      • Oct 28 2013: Relativists are just lazy armchair philosophers. there is an empirical truth in everything, whether the human mind has discovered it yet or not. The process of understanding can get pretty complicated, hence folks affinity to be relativistic- But I say that is BS- there is a truth and we're all out to seek it.

        For instance, the airplane example you used is not the most simple answer as it does not take into account propulsion or aerodynamics. Its a base assumption- and a base assumption is not "simple", its ill-informed.
      • Oct 28 2013: OK.......your example of a denialist is someone who is incredulous. I find people who are in denial are people that will continue to deny something, even after they have proof.....An incredulous person, once they see the proof, may very well start to believe.

        Quoting O'shea, Wiki has this to offer on denialism...... "It is an essentially irrational action that withholds validation of a historical experience or event".

        Incredulity, whose synonym is disbelief, appears to be reversible. At least that is how I perceive it.

        I do see your point however in that you believe that denialism is a way to twist Einstein's quote. I just had never heard anyone twist it that way. The connection you made was new to me.
  • Oct 27 2013: With great knowledge comes great sorrow. Always has, always will. One can prepare as best one can though.
    • thumb
      Oct 27 2013: "For in much wisdom is much grief: and he that increaseth knowledge increaseth sorrow." - Ecclesiastes 1:18. I am not a person who should be called religious, but I believe there is truth to that quote. Now the question at hand is, what are we doing with the knowledge? We can either stand idle or act fast.
      • Oct 28 2013: It is true Chantal..........."the greater a person’s knowledge, the more keenly he realizes that in a short life span, it is impossible to correct things fully. Such awareness brings frustration to many"

        I think wise King Solomon, when you read that text in context, realized that having knowledge and understanding and wisdom in and of itself is not that comforting, because there are just so many things in the world that need correcting and one lifetime is not enough to do it all.

        But like you said, we have a choice............stand idle, or act fast..............

        Thank you for your thoughts.
  • thumb
    Oct 26 2013: Personally, I believe it depends on the kind of knowledge you're acquiring and imparting. I used to teach Kindergarten and it was not a difficult task at all. On the other hand, I have a friend who is considered a genius( he used to be a consultant in NASA), is currently based inAsia but travels all over the world and doesn't seem to be content to all the things he has learned and learning yet he still longs to crave for more knowledge while neglecting the other aspects of life such as relationships and social life. i think knowledge has then become a curse for him.
    • Oct 28 2013: That is a fine example Dian.

      Thank you for sharing it with us.
  • Oct 24 2013: Is one stupid because one has no knowledge, or does one become stupid because one acquires knowledge.

    I argue people become less happy the more one learns.

    When I knew nothing, life was simple, less stressful, easier to cope. Now, the more I learn, the sadder I have become.

    The saddest people I have met, are in large part, the most knowledgable.

    Maybe knowledge is a curse..
    • thumb
      Oct 24 2013: One definition I like regarding the term 'stupid' is "possessing the required knowledge but refusing to utilize it" such as we see today with people texting while driving despite all the efforts to point out how dangerous it is. Arrogance also has a lot to do with this attitude as well.

      But the above definition distinguishes stupidity from ignorance which simply refers to a lack of information or knowledge. .
      • Oct 24 2013: Good point about stupidity.....I guess, "ignorance is bliss"...
    • Oct 26 2013: "I argue people become less happy the more one learns."

      Is this regardless of what it is they learn? Any exceptions?
      • Oct 27 2013: I can't think of one exception..... perhaps.... "Love"
  • Oct 24 2013: Regarding knowledge is curse or gift , It depends whether you choose to live(life) for the knowledge or Knowledge for the living.
    Analogy of the subject with 80/20 rule.
    80 % of the have common understanding of the subject and 20% people are more and in-depth understanding of the subject, so if we are in 20% of the people we would have only 20% of the people to discuss. If we want to discuss the subject with 80% of the people then become one among them or just smile and be Hippocratic.
    if we are neither 20% nor 80% then it should be Eureka..Eureka..moment.. lol
    If we are on the 20% we should have gone through the 80% situation. so i Like Entropy Driven comment on this topic about not forgetting the root.
    • Oct 24 2013: I really liked your analogy, thank you, and also your statement "It depends whether you choose to live for knowledge, or have knowledge to live".
      Yes, Entropy's comment is right on the money.

      Abbas, may I ask you a question?

      When you say "just smile and be Hippocratic"......did you mean "hypocritical"?

      I hope you do not mind my question. I am hoping to help your knowledge of English.
      Correct me if I misunderstood you please. :)
      • Oct 24 2013: Yes , Its hypocritical. Sorry about my spelling mistake.
        • Oct 28 2013: No problem, we help each other around here.
  • Oct 21 2013: What Footprints about
  • thumb

    . .

    • +1
    Oct 20 2013: Dear Ms. M.
    I am writing on this day since the closing date posted on top of your conversation is today. Even though the length of the conversation is one week I am afraid I must miss the rest of your class. This is a VERY IMPORTANT topic. I hope I have contributed only the best of what I could contribute to your page. I threw in the two shiniest cents I had in my pocket:) Sitting in your "class" was a JOY:) I can hardly believe how much I learned!! You are a wonderful teacher with great energy. My respect and appreciation.
    • Oct 20 2013: You are always a student who is welcome in any class I host......I'm afraid I am not much of a teacher on here, but I do my best to engage others in conversation so that I might learn something new.
      I am always pleasantly surprised by the willingness of others to impart their knowledge. ♥
      • thumb

        . .

        • 0
        Oct 20 2013: For you,
        In celebration of her birthday today!
        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Js0rKmv-0Iw
        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eSugYfy4ebU
        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DNkCX9-CrL4
        Thank you:)
        Have a great Day.
        • Oct 21 2013: Thank you, what a lovely surprised.
          I did notice that even Google is paying homage to this lovely Cuban singer.

          You know, when she died, people said that her gift to the world was her kindness.
          Everyone loved her. She always wore a smile.
          She was known for shouting "AZUUUUUCAR"......"SUUUUUUGAR"......and time and again she reminded everyone how "SWEET" life can be depending on our attitude.

          She even wrote a song about life........How we need to LIVE life, and not sit around complaining about our lot in it........Carnaval (Life is a Party....Sing your way through life) In the video she opens speaking English....Enjoy!!!

          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IibNqwndtCE

          The second one, which is a dancing song, has a wonderful beat......
          and you'll be able to appreciate all the wigs and outfits she was known for....
          It goes on a loop.....so 30 to 40 seconds of viewing will give you an idea of her style.

          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hwaSjHq2zwE

          Have a beautiful week ♥
        • thumb

          Lejan .

          • +1
          Oct 21 2013: @ Mary

          I don't know Celia Cruz, but I came to know a certain type of personality, which I call 'show people'. Those are loved by everyone too, as long no one gets to see behind their facade.

          The pure ones are those whose closest family members join the 'outside' view as well. :o)
      • thumb

        . .

        • 0
        Oct 29 2013: My core belief and value:

        The highest skill and finest art of teaching is to teach a student to speak, and in the process learn to listen and hear what the student has come here to say.

        See you
        ~ Juliette Zahn
    • Oct 28 2013: You might enjoy reading through the quotes I just typed at the top.......I tried to include as many insightful comments as possible. This turned out to be a wonderful conversation, because the TED members who participated were very generous with their contributions. Enjoy!!
  • Oct 20 2013: Knowledge is a curse when no one understands you. Perhaps mental institutions are filled with knowledgable people.
  • thumb
    Oct 20 2013: Mary,
    I got to thinking more about this subject and I was reminded of my college freshman algebra class. Our first day in class, our instructor introduced himself as a professor of mathematics and asked us to open our text book to Chapter one, page 1 which was Binomial Expansions. He turned to the blackboards which were on three walls of the classroom and proceeded to write with blazing speed line after line of algebraic problems making muffled comments to the blackboard and ending after an hour with him closely studying his work and saying that he had a error in there, referencing the blackboard and we would find it when we completed our homework. All said still facing the blackboard. That night, looking more closely at the text book, I found that he was a co-author and according to the bio on the dustcover, a renown mathematician. Who knew.
    I barely passed Algebra 101.
    But, in my defense.... I am a lover, not a mathematician.
    • Oct 20 2013: It is a privilege for me to know that you have thought more about this subject matter.
      I myself am amazed at the complexity of the subject, and all the wonderful insights this community has provided through their contributions.

      So, Love > Math?
      I see.
      Well then, perhaps you will appreciate this young woman's take on Algebra:

      http://www.yofx.org/wp-content/uploads/2009/10/math-+-love.jpg
  • thumb
    Oct 20 2013: Knowledge is a curse when it is misused to harm or exploit others. Knowledge is blessing when it's used for good purpose.

    I think knowledge should not be sought obsessively just for accumulating it as much as possible. If so, it becomes just as money or power which has become the targets of the human greed from the dawn of the mankind history.

    On the other hand, knowledge also should not be avoided obsessively due to some fear of it.

    I think it's the best when the knowledge finds you rather than you find the knowledge. In other words, the best knowledge is when it comes to you spontaneously rather than by hard learning. The each individual's task is just to create the conditions inside and around him//her to absorb the coming knowledge.

    Sir Ken Robinson had said this very truly in his talk: http://www.ted.com/talks/lang/he/sir_ken_robinson_bring_on_the_revolution.html

    The example you give in the headlines of teachers who find it difficult to teach -- it's precisely because they try to teach in atmosphere where the conditions of the individual students are not pre-prepared for absorbing the knowledge bombarded upon them. The system tries to teach by forcing the knowledge into the students rather than by letting them to spontaneously absorb it. It's not that there are necessarily easy solutions for this. It's only that it's important to observe the situation from the right perspective.
    • Oct 20 2013: A very balanced view of knowledge.

      There is something to your statement "the best knowledge is when it comes to you spontaneously".

      Your last paragraph identifies ono of the causes of disillusionment among teachers.
      Perhaps also, the reason for so many diverse types of schools that are popping up everywhere.
      The internet is allowing students with different learning styles to go in search of knowledge in diverse mediums.

      Thank you so much for your contribution.
  • Oct 20 2013: I agree with the fact that knowledge is a curse in certain dimensions: especially little knowledge or inadequate knowledge. If a person possesses inadequate knowledge, they tend to come to biased perceptions, which have been derived out of the limited set. This tends to further astray us from the truth. Moreover, as it is unable for anyone to actually gain adequate knowledge, then yes knowledge can be considered a curse in some manners.
    • Oct 20 2013: Hello Anisha, thank you for your contribution.
      What about those with in depth knowledge Anisha?

      That is really what this conversation is about..........the ability of those who have abundant knowledge of one particular subject matter to relay the information to others.

      Any experience with talking to individuals like these, and feeling lesser than them because they could not teach you what they knew?
  • Oct 20 2013: Mary,
    I agree with the notion that knowledge is a curse IN SOME OCCASIONS. If the knowledge is for research and development, then the more knowledge you have, the better. On the other hand, if your knowledge is used for teaching, then it would depend on the recipients of your knowledge you wanted to impart to. I would bet that even Einstein would talk differently when he talked with the general public, or he presented a research paper to colleagues in the same field of his. Furthermore, the quality or the intention of the students/listeners also makes a difference. Even in a topic which is generally accepted as appropriate for the student audience, some times portion of the students welcome only the necessary and required portion of the lecture and refuse to pay attention of why or how or the additional inference of the materials.
    I remember a math professor when I was a graduate student. He was young and brilliant and respected by most of his colleagues, but the student evaluations on his teaching are consistently mediocre. One of the observation of his teaching style is that it seems that his thinking just jumps around which is too fast for the student in the class to follow. As you probably guessed, that many students are just in pursuit of a passing grade, they care less in acquiring more knowledge than necessary, even in the graduate schools.
    Recently, there is a very interesting news which reported that the public school systems in the US are considering either to reduce or eliminate the pay scale difference between the teachers with masters degree and those with bachelors, with the same working experience. Because a new study shows that the effectiveness evaluation of their teaching are more or less equal. That might be related to what you have raised here.
    • Oct 20 2013: Bart, thank you for this expansion of the topic at hand.

      You have brought out a wonderful point....two actually.

      First.........that a person who has insight into knowledge acquisition, and levels of cognitive abilities, will adapt their language when imparting their knowledge to others. Adaptability, then, is important in sharing information with people. Adapting to their level of communication.

      Secondly......your titles, degrees, etc....do not constitute your ability to impart information. I had not read about the study you mention. Any links?

      I hosted a conversation a while back during Teacher Appreciation Week. I asked the TED community to share who their favorite teacher was and why.

      You might be pleasantly surprised at the comments given, since they validate much of what you have stated in your comment.

      Here is a link to the conversation, in case you want to peruse through it:

      http://www.ted.com/conversations/18204/in_honor_of_teacher_appreciati.html
      • Oct 20 2013: Mary , thank you very much for your reply and also your interest in Anna Yang's project. I promise that if and when I make any translation for Anna, I would send you a copy on my translation to you for you review and suggestions.
        When I saw your thread on memorable teachers, I thought of something but considered they are a little remote from what you were interested in there. However, the "teachers" who were memorable to me seem to be quite relevant here. I will introduce my experience here, then lead to the answer for the source of the news on teachers with master's degrees.
        When I worked hard and finally qualified to come to the U.S., with only an academic credential of completion of 7th grade, then self studied in business administration as well as in industrial production and engineering from work experience. When I applied for admission for a graduate program in Business Administration, they reluctantly agree to accept me as a "special student" and assigned me to an economic professor, named Leonid Hurwitz. as my adviser. However, later on I found out that Dr. Hurwitz actually was a very famous scholar, who was later awarded a Nobel prize in Economics in 1999. What this implies is that Dr. Hurwitz at the time would be really sought after by many potential advisees, if he wanted to have them. The reason that he was willing to accept me as an advisee is probably due to the fact that nobody else liked a gamble to advise an unknown quality like me. It only took a really knowledgeable professor like him to know that academic credentials are only one of many aspects for a student's ability to learn. So, perhaps he was the only one who was willing to take the risk for my sake, at that time. Would you agree that the better knowledge base of a teacher makes him more broad-minded and influenced less by traditional misconception on the unconventional types of students.
      • Oct 20 2013: This is the continuation of my previous post:
        My second memorable "teacher" was Professor Walter Heller, who later became the Chief Economic Adviser to President John Kennedy and Lindon Johnson. He was the instructor for my first course in the Theory of Economics. His course reading assignment included reading in 12 reference books, all the economic news and policies in the newspapers and journals in America and Britain during the past 6 months. All my classmates are economic majors in their undergraduate study. There was poor me who not only had no formal economic education, also didn't have much knowledge about the economic information in the U. S. whatsoever. Even though I am a fast reader, this was still impossible for me to read all of them in 10 weeks; the whole length of the course. However I barely got a passing grade out of it anyway. But, this really taught me about learning. It means that, if you want to be a well informed participant in any intellectual discussion like TED Discussion, it doesn't hurt if you can keep up all the up-to-the-minute information or data. to refer to in the discussion.
        That leads to my answer to you inquiry to the source about the pay scales of teachers with masters degrees. That information was in the Wall Street Journal on Monday of this week, I am not sure the information will be collected by Google, and less likely will appear in the TED speak or discussions.
        • Oct 20 2013: Bart, thank you so very much for your generous contribution, and for the wonderful examples of teachers you have had the pleasure of learning from.

          You ask the question:

          "Would you agree that the better knowledge base of a teacher makes him more broad-minded and influenced less by traditional misconception on the unconventional types of students."

          My answer is............sometimes.........that is the best I can do.

          I think that is precisely what the problem is today with knowledge.

          Full knowledge of a subject matter does not make one broad-minded Bart........There are plenty of knowledgeable people with a closed mind........

          Thank you so very much for the Wall Street Journal information.
          I found a video link to it...........Here it is:

          http://online.wsj.com/article/4303C363-2DB7-48E8-8CF1-0EE2838E98B6.html?dsk=y#!4303C363-2DB7-48E8-8CF1-0EE2838E98B6
      • Oct 21 2013: Mary, Just a short notice for you that the talk you cited is not the one concerned about high school teachers with master's degree. I imagine that the latter hasn't been made into video, or probably won't be ever. But I am certain that the article appeared between last Monday and last Wednesday (Oct. 14-16) in the WSJ.
        • Oct 21 2013: Gotcha!...ok....I googled and found the actual article:

          http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702304795804579101723505111670

          My favorite line:

          "Paying teachers on the basis of master's degrees is equivalent to paying them based on hair color," said Thomas J. Kane, an economist at the Harvard Graduate School of Education and director for the Center for Education Policy Research.

          Twenty years from now they'll go back to saying how important it is for teachers to improve themselves and get a higher degree.

          It's all about money!!! They don't want to pay teachers what they deserve........but that's another topic of conversation. I'll leave it at that.

          Thanks Bart.
  • thumb
    Oct 19 2013: There is an assumption that:

    data leads to information leads to facts leads to knowledge leads to wisdom leads to right action.

    Try and handle today's level of data with just your rational mind, and you will quickly be overloaded and think knowledge is a curse - you can't see the wood for the trees.
    However, cultivate the higher faculties of the mind (such as inspiration and intuition) and you have "short-cuts" to wise action that cut through the mass of data in any situation and guide you what decision to make.
    In the 1980s various studies were made on how top managers made decisions in situations of uncertainty: the types of words used were "gut feeling". "intuition", and "sixth sense" - with not much talk about "rational analysis" which is what the researchers thought top managers were paid for. When higher faculties are used, then knowledge processed by those higher faculties is not a curse.
    • Oct 20 2013: Thanks Joshua. So, do you think that the more knowledgeable you have about a subject the harder it is to communicate with others? Because while I agree with what you said above, still it doesn't get to the root of what this conversation is about. Looking forward to reading your additional reflections.
      • thumb
        Oct 20 2013: Hello Mary M,
        Thank you for bringing me back on track to the subject at hand.

        My answer is that it depends on two things.

        (1) is that if a person has struggled themselves to become knowledgeable about a subject, then they are both more able and more empathetic when it comes to explaining that subject to someone else. However, if someone becomes knowledgeable about a subject and it all came really easy to them, then they are not so good at explaining it to others because they themselves so easily "got it in one", and they can't understand why others don't also "get it in one" ... "what is there more to explain?" they think.

        (2) is that it depends on the person on the receiving end, and how much they want to learn the subject. For example if someone is really trying to understand tablet-weaving and is struggling, I have endless patience explaining it in various ways and am energised when I eventually find a form of words of explanation whereby they suddenly "get it". However, if someone asks out of polite superficial interest, and stares blankly at me after my initial short answer, then they probably go away thinking I am no good at explaining my subject.

        As another example, my father was a traditional family lawyer and he never employed anyone with first-class honours degrees because they were "too clever" and had no patience explaining legal options to clients who were struggling to understand the implications of the legal situation they were in.
        Of course, cleverness and empathy are not necessarily incompatible with each other. However I think that the general gist of - if something comes really easy to you, then you are less able (or patient) to explain it to someone else - carries some value.
        • Oct 20 2013: Aaah....I see......

          You are the second person on here to bring out the fact that if knowledge acquisition comes easy to us, we might lack the patience to teach it to others.

          I think you are on to something.

          I will add this........I know elementary school teachers who have all the patience in the world explaining the most simple concept to 5 year olds. But put them in a room full of adults, and the patience goes OUT the window.

          Your audience then, may also influence your patience level............and although children love the teacher..........adults find him intolerable, and a know-it-all.

          Hmm......you have just helped me peel back another layer to this topic.

          Thank you Joshua. Feel free to correct me if I misunderstood your comment, or if you have anything further to say. And thank you for your patience, and your generous contribution.

          Mary♥
      • thumb
        Oct 20 2013: Hello Mary M again,
        Thank you for your complement. Yes, you have the right idea of what I was saying.

        Relating to my first point, there are two factors: one is patience; the other is ability to explain.
        I mixed the two together a bit.
        So it is not just more patience you have when explaining something to another person that you found hard to learn yourself. It is also that because you yourself had to struggle to "get it", you yourself can also more fully comprehend how and why someone else finds it hard to get it - and in that scenario you are probably more able and inventive to find differing ways of explanation until you hit the one where the light-bulb goes on for your student.
        Someone who "got it" in an easy learning manner, and has not gone through a lengthy learning process, has less "process of learning experience" to draw from when trying to explain it to someone else. They more easily end up saying "well, I don't know how else to explain it to you"; whereas someone who had a lengthy struggle in their learning has lots more ways at their fingertips to try and explain it because they themselves had to try them all.

        Referring to my second point, yes, the general attitude of the students towards the teacher also has an effect on the teacher's patience to explain, and I suppose on also their ability to explain as well.
        If the students have an attitude of "entertain me, entertain me" rather than an attitude of "here I am all keen to learn" then this surely must affect the energy exchange going on in the classroom between teacher and students.
        I am sure I am not alone as a former teacher in experiencing that some classes are experienced as up-beat and energising, whereas with other classes one has to drag them along, which is exhausting.
  • Comment deleted

    • Oct 20 2013: Hey Chris.....but what about discussing your knowledge with others?
      Do you think that those who have been in their field for decades and have an in depth knowledge of a subject matter, will find it hard to speak about that subject to the common man?

      o Never
      o Sometimes
      o Always
  • thumb
    Oct 17 2013: Knowledge isn't a curse, greed is.

    'There's enough for every man's need, but not for every man's greed' Gandhi

    However greed, domination and control aren't separated from knowledge, and there in lays the problem.
    • Oct 17 2013: Have you ever seen someone with in depth knowledge of a subject area struggle with sharing their insights with others? Have you seen them treat others in a condescending way?

      If you do not mind, I would like to hear your experiences if possible.

      Thank you.
  • thumb
    Oct 16 2013: The situation that makes " Ignorance to be bliss" right that time " knowledge" can be perceived as " curse" .....
    • Oct 16 2013: Hi Salim, this is very interesting. So are you saying that each of us have knowledge, but also ignorance, and that one balances out the other?
      • thumb
        Oct 17 2013: Hi Mary , that's again an interesting perspective you looked into my comment above :) . Yes you can take it that way, because definitely I don't know everything , so I am a blend of Ignorance & Knowledge. Moreover knowledge is evolving so if one stops learning at certain point thinking s/he knows it all , in some other point s/he will find herself / himself an ignorant .
        • Oct 17 2013: Yes Salim, now I see your point.

          There was a recent conversation by a member where she asked..."Do you think you will reach a point where you will not need to learn any more?"..........have you seen it?
          Here is the link....

          http://journals.lww.com/neurologynow/Fulltext/2013/09050/Picture_the_Brain__New_brain_imaging_techniques.15.aspx

          I noticed you commented in the conversation. But I will leave the link in case anyone in this conversation wants to go over there and read around.

          Thank you for your participation Salim.
          Mary :)
        • thumb
          Oct 17 2013: You definitely don't know everything? Are you certain?

          Great! Thank you very much, Salim! My very last hope for all knowing truth has just declared bankruptcy!

          I will now end this day with my last bottle of single malt Irish whiskey to get hopelessly drunk .... Cheers!

          :o)
        • thumb
          Oct 17 2013: You'll be fine Lejan.....cheers:>)
      • thumb
        Oct 17 2013: Hi Lejan
        May I join with you and toast together :)
        Cheers
    • thumb
      Oct 17 2013: Salim, you write...
      "The situation that makes " Ignorance to be bliss" right that time " knowledge" can be perceived as " curse" .....

      It could be interpreted to mean that a person who prefers to be blissfully ignorant/uninformed, may feel like all the knowledge that is available to us these days, coming at us from all sides, is annoying...a curse!

      Cheers....I join you all in your toast with a glass of wine:>)
      • thumb
        Oct 19 2013: Hi Colleen
        Yes , that is / can be another perspective ....
        I am sure you are aware that some of the scriptures mostly religious one encourages its follower not to try to know beyond what is written in those scriptures .....

        It's my great pleasure to toast with you ... Cheers :)
        • thumb
          Oct 19 2013: True Salim. Isolation and withholding information is an element with abuse and violation of human rights. Those who want to control, dominate, abuse and/or violate the rights of others, may feel that those they would like to dominate having information and knowledge, is a curse.

          Interacting with you, sharing thoughts, feelings, ideas and information is always a pleasure for me too my friend.....cheers:>)
      • thumb
        Oct 19 2013: Hi Colleen
        I always get practical insight from your thoughts which I sought for. I saw in cold winter on footpath of one of the most developed countries kids playing with smile on face. They are ignorant of their fate that's why they could have that smile. They don't know why they are on footpath ? That ignorance is blissful for them . Was referring to that ignorance. In my country that's very usual but in a first world country how come that can happen. ? My proposition was about that only . At times if we don't know something we can be content , if we know the reason or try to find out the reason we feel guilty of ourselves , that time knowledge can be considered as curse ! But I am always there to embrace that even if it is a curse . I don't care whether its curse or bliss !
        • thumb
          Oct 19 2013: Salim,
          I always get practical insight from you as well my friend.....sounds like a win/win situation:>)

          Children seem to see beyond challenges sometimes, because they have a different worldview than adults have? Children generally have unconditional love and acceptance in their hearts. I think that sometimes, as adults, we are more aware of the possibilities, and perhaps have a more frightened, pessimistic worldview? Why would children in 1st, 2nd, or 3rd world countries be different? They may have different life circumstances, and they don't know that there are other possibilities.

          I agree Salim.....sometimes the less we know, the more content we can be. The next question is, are we content with "not knowing"? I find that the more knowledge I have, the more I seek knowledge, and I think that it is this curiosity (which most children have) that keeps me interestingly engaged in the life experience.

          I agree that if we feel guilty for being inquisitive, then knowledge may feel like a curse. Why do you think there might be a feeling of guilt for being inquisitive?
      • thumb
        Oct 20 2013: Hi Colleen
        I think that guilty feeling comes due to the inability of changing the situation for betterment that made someone empathetic.

        What do you think ?
        • thumb
          Oct 20 2013: I agree Salim.
          You said it above...." But I am always there to embrace that even if it is a curse . I don't care whether its curse or bliss !"

          I agree with you again Salim! I don't need to label information a "curse" or "bliss". Information is information, and how we choose to use the information is the important part. I prefer to have as much information as possible.

          I think we see a lot of people feeling overwhelmed by some conditions in our world, and there are certainly conditions that need attention. It is as you insightfully say....perhaps some folks feel guilty because they cannot do anything with the information they are hearing about horrible conditions.

          My perspective, is that most of what is happening in our world has been happening for 100s of years....corruption in government, business, religions, abuse and violation of human rights, etc. Some people say that our world is getting worse.

          Because of our advanced communication systems, we now KNOW about the situations instantaneously, and in my humble perception, this is going to facilitate more change for the better. So, rather than feeling overwhelmed and guilty, we can contribute to change when we know how and where change is needed. That's what I think......for what it's worth:>)
  • thumb
    Oct 16 2013: Knowledge is not a curse Mary M. :)

    "Ignorance is the curse of God; knowledge is the wing wherewith we fly to heaven." ~William Shakespeare

    In my opinion, knowledge is nothing to do with others. It transforms the insight of the knower. Knowledge is not the actual problem which should be consider as a curse Mary M. The actual problem is in sharing it or giving it to others, because everyone get same information differently, limited to their wit and understanding.

    When Jonathan Drori talks about 'gaps between trained knowledge and conceptual, connected understanding', he is actually pointing out the distinct understanding of every individuals, due to their confined intelligence of understanding.

    Knowledge is always refreshing and new, if there is curiosity and perplexity in the learner. For Learner the knowledge is not limited in a single dimension. There is a vast ground of thinking. Yes but Knowledge becomes stale once it is known. If knower (Teacher) looses his/her curiosity and becomes confident of knowing all, his/her mind contracted to that limited knowledge. :)
    • Oct 16 2013: Manish, thank you so very much for your insightful thoughts.

      I most definitely agree with you when you state that the "actual problem is in sharing it or giving it to others, because everyone get same information differently, limited to their wit and understanding."

      This is probable where the knowledge is a curse.....because if the person who is holding in depth insight into a subject matter is unable to share that with others, than the insight dies with that person......they do not get to pass it forward.....

      As an educator I am very well aware of the 'distinct understanding of every individual'......our metacognitive skills, and our very learning style makes each of us unique.

      In the primary grades there is quite a bit of patience for these differences. Sadly, in higher education it might not be so.....at least that has been my experience.

      "Knowledge becomes stale once it is known"...........I really like these words. I had never thought of knowledge in that way before. I think that is why many of us here on TED are continually involved in learning new things, and discussing topics from all sorts of points of view.

      Do you suppose that there are other fields of study, aside from education, where this attitude towards treating others beneath them is prevalent? Can you think of any particular example?

      Here in our country Manish, people say "Ignorance is bliss". However, I tend to agree with Shakespeare's words.

      Thank you again for your thoughtful reply.
      I look forward to reading any additional thoughts you wish to share with us.
      • thumb
        Oct 17 2013: Hi again Mary :)

        No, Its not true that the person holding 'depth insight' into a subject, is unable to share that with others. They do, they share knowledge but its impossible to macintosh the 'insight' with words.... All our languages are just improvised (makeshift). No language is perfect. We can not even express a very small feeling in words to make it understand by others. There is not equally perfect measuring words for any feeling. Suppose you say - 'I love you so much..' to someone and in reply that someone asks - 'How much?' you will found yourself in problem. you may start comparing your 'so much' to the things already known to you. You may say - 'As much as many stars are there in the sky' ...But do you think your information has been delivered correctly and exactly?

        Okey, let us take one more example to understand the problem (curse). suppose i do not know anything about butter. even the name butter is very unknown to me. I do not know how it looks, how it tastes, Nothing !! Now Mary, use your words to deliver this information to me so that after knowing only, I can experience all about 'Butter' as equally as you. can you? Even this much of information can not be delivered to other.

        When a new knowledge arrives, we start comparing it (to know it) with the other 'known things' or our past experiences. There isn't no other way to know. The only way is to experience. Glance over following quotes-
        1) No man can reveal to you nothing but that which already lies half-asleep in the dawning of your knowledge.~Khalil Gibran
        2) To know, is to know that you know nothing. That is the meaning of true knowledge.~ Socrates

        "Ignorance is bliss" has been said by Thomas Gray in a poem and it goes like this -"A little learning is a dang'rous thing;Drink deep, or taste not the Pierian spring:There shallow draughts intoxicate the brain," Its obvious Mary, Thomas want us to either gain full knowledge or be ignorant. Ignorance is better then incomplete knowledge. :)
        • Oct 17 2013: Hi Manish,

          The points you bring out are very interesting. So you are saying that language limitation is also linked to this issue of not being able to communicate your knowledge?

          Your example of the butter is really wonderful. Yes, I see your point.

          But it is one thing to lack the language, and a completely different thing to have the knowledge, the language, but lack the patience. Don't you think so?

          As to ignorance being better than incomplete knowledge, is this your personal view? Or is it part of your explanation of Gray's quote?

          Your quotes by Gibran and Socrates are very much appreciated.
          Thank you so much.
  • thumb
    Oct 16 2013: Hi~ Mary, in my humble perspection I think this problem includes two aspects. They're teaching and learning. Teaching and learning are mutual-stimulating and mutual-benefitial.In teaching's view teacher should be professional enough to qualify himself not only with knowledge but teaching skills as well. If a teacher can't pass on his knowledge with effective communicational skills,his students can't undertake his knowledge and give active feedback to the teacher so that the teacher will feel frustrated and discouraged to continue teaching.However, on the other hand, If the student really has no gift( an inclination not to be able to study it well), it's not the teacher's fault if most of other students can understand the teacher's knowledge.I think we should help the student to learn other subject that he is interested in and good at. Let the teacher instruct more to the students who really want to learn.This is really good for both sides.And last, if the student can't have a correct learning attitude on study,teacher should find out the reason and change it with the student's parents' cooperation. Actually the problem is the teacher's expectation doesn't match the student's,not knowledge at all.
    • Oct 16 2013: Thanks Yoka, wonderful explanation. Seen from your point of view.....two aspects.....it is very beneficial.

      Have you ever come in contact with any individual, not necessarily a teacher, who has treated you as a lesser one for not having their knowledge base? How have you reacted?
      • thumb
        Oct 17 2013: Thank you too!:) I just wanted to point out that it may not be all the teacher's fault.
        I think my mother used to treat me as a lesser especially when she's in a bad mood. I would find out the reason and if I knew it's not my fault ,I would be in a bad mood too. Sometimes I chose to keep silent, sometimes I did what I thought was right and let her know the result that she's wrong. And if she's right,I'll learn from her knowledge and keep it in my mind. Apart from my mother, I think I was often good enough to make other people envy a little.:)
        • Oct 17 2013: Well...........you have mentioned 'character #2"..............when I first read the article in my OP, several individuals came to mind.........Politicians were the first, Parents were the second.

          I don't think we can help it as humans to think that sometimes we have more knowledge than others on certain issues.

          The secret lies in being able to impart the knowledge in a respectful way.....knowing that you yourself could be ignorant of facts. This requires modesty and humility.

          Knowledge is a curse when one thinks he knows it all and the rest of mankind is stupid.
          And just talking to people with your "supposed" level of intellect seems boring to me.

          Let me give you an example. When I am in a park, in a group of parents and children, I will start my conversation with my equals....the parents.........but after a while, I go seek out the children to talk. I don't for one minute think my exchange with the kids will be any lesser of an experience than talking with the adults. I find an exchange with any human to be valuable.

          But I do know, and I have seen, parents who feel children should be seen and not heard.
          And I have been around adults who think that saying hello to the children around them is "beneath them"..........now THAT is a curse.........a terrible one.............

          And there are parents who talk AT their children, not WITH their children.
          You have given me more to think about on this topic......for that, I thank you very much.
      • thumb
        Oct 17 2013: "Knowledge is a curse when one thinks he knows it all and the rest of mankind is stupid."
        Haha....I know what you mean. But I disagree a little---we have different opinions now.:)
        If someone has an arrogant character, no matter how much knowledge he has, he always thinks he's right and others are stupid. And if someone has a character not to be arrogant, no matter how much knowledge he has, he won't be overbearing and always keen on learning more. His problem will be the communication with others because he focuses on studying professional knowledge more. In China, if you want to be a qualified teacher in schools, you have to pass a psychological relevant test and a mock teaching judged by the on-the-job well-experienced teachers. And students in China are treated as emperors and princesses, how dare teacher act arrogantly and say stupid to them?That is to say, if you're a teacher thinking your students are stupid, you won't be able to be a teacher(might excluding some poor areas lacking of teachers)in China. But if he's not a teacher I think it's possible.He may think other people are stupid. I think some people's character isn't suitable to be a teacher. That's true.This is my personal opinion though.:)
        • Oct 17 2013: "Students in China are treated as emperors and princesses"

          Well, this is something new to me.

          So, do students realize they wield all this power?
          Do the students disrespect the teachers at time? Or do they lord their position over the teachers? I am very curious about this.

          So I suppose that the teachers must work very hard to keep the students happy and learning all the time.

          I also think that the teaching career is not for everyone.
          I look forward to your reply.
      • thumb
        Oct 18 2013: Dear Mary,:)

        I fess up with you that this is a little exaggeration. I mean teachers in the school need to respect their students becuase students in nowadays are self-important and stong-minded. If they are treated unfairly or called stupid because of the teacher's bad teaching skills or character , they can report to their parents and parents will complain to the teacher or to the pricipal of the school directly. In old days, teacher could even apply corporal punishment to students without accusation. But now we emphasize a lot on the respect and necessary communications with students, sometimes teachers tend to schmooze their students a little. But on study, teacher is definitely dominant in teaching and can make strict standards for the students to follow. Students are taught to respect teachers from their childhood by their parents(so is the climate of our society). But if the teacher don't respect his students, they still can weed the teacher out of his job. The fact is parents won't accuse a teacher of assigning too much work or being too strict with their children because studying well is the children's main resposibility at school and the educational system's demand.So when teaching, the teacher could imagine he's serving emperors or princesses so as to pass on as much as knowledge to them without any rudeness and impoliteness to the students to cause some consequences.

        I personally still think knowledge is innocent ,infinite and powerful. If a person usually thinks others are stupid because of his superior knowlege,I'd like to say he still lacks some knowlege of understanding every person's potential. In another way, I can say his knowledge is not in good balance. He still has to learn other knowledge to make up for what he doesn't know.

        So my point of view is"The more knowlege, the better".
        Have a nice day~~~!:)
        • Oct 20 2013: Yoka, thank you for your reply....I think I deleted this comment by mistake when I meant to edit the comment.

          My fingers sometimes moves faster than my brain.

          Have a beautiful Sunday.....my dear hermanita :)
      • thumb
        Oct 20 2013: Hi,Mary, I saw your comment disappear today.I'm glad you agreed with me. And I'd like to say I also want to be a Hispanic but this seems to be impossible.:) I used to be said I was like a Japanese though.:)))

        Have a nice Sunday~!:)
  • thumb
    Oct 16 2013: In my view, people tend to forget the difference between knowledge and wisdom. I am quoting the internet here (forgive me for that) "Knowledge is knowing Tomato is a fruit, wisdom is not using it on a fruit salad."
    Those who are disdained for using knowledge or cursed to be "too-knoweldgeable" are those who lack wisdom. It suffices to say that Knwoledge is not a curse but lack of wisdom is.
    But there are some situation where one burdens himself for knowing a horrific secret about a loved one but even then, if the person is wise then he can be wise enought to handle the situation. That is my take on knowledge.

    A wise person knwos that in the hands of a common man, a iridium knife would just be a knife but to a scientist, it would a very high value. Thus, it depends upon the teacher, scientist to impart knowledge upon others if they feel that knowledge is useful.
  • thumb

    Lejan .

    • +1
    Oct 16 2013: Any teacher who perceives his/her students as stupid should seek for another profession as soon as possible.
    • Comment deleted

      • Comment deleted

        • thumb

          . .

          • +1
          Oct 16 2013: ..
          The world desperately needs passion to be placed behind the corresponding job.
      • Comment deleted

      • Comment deleted

      • Comment deleted

      • Comment deleted

      • Comment deleted

      • Comment deleted

      • Comment deleted

      • Comment deleted

      • Comment deleted

      • Comment deleted

      • Comment deleted

      • Comment deleted

      • Comment deleted

      • Comment deleted

      • Comment deleted

    • Comment deleted

      • thumb
        Oct 16 2013: 'OK......that's not going to happen. So what to do? '

        If we agree on this 'perception' as a general attitude, and not as a rare 'linguistic accident', it becomes obvious what to do. Withdrawal of teaching status!

        We would not tolerate any bus-driver in public transport who doesn't care for the safety of its passengers, so why should we tolerate people to teach our children who obviously are not suitable to be a teacher?

        Yet before this final decision is made, we have to be sure, that this attitude is not the result, a symptom of a systemic problem within our education system, in which teacher may find themselves as victims without influence for any positive change which in return makes them victimize the next lower ranked.

        This would not be an excuse, yet explanation, out of which systemic problems had to be removed.
        And if this attitude would remain after those positive changes, those teacher had to go.

        I had professors who spoke down to me, all other teacher never did this, which doesn't imply these were all good teachers.

        And ... wait ... let me think ... one sec ... hmmm, coffeeeee ... :o) --- no, I never spoke down to someone because of my knowledge, and this for good reasons. During almost all my school-time I struggled a lot to keep up with all there was to learn. I was dyslexic, not good at math and had a very different way to learn than it was presented at school. I was always curious about and creative with things, yet this interest was never synchronized with the curriculum and creativity no rateable subject. Therefore I know what it means to learn the 'hard way'.

        Not knowing is no stupidity.

        And have I ever spoken down to someone stupid? Yes, I have and those usually own higher academic degrees than I do.

        I think almost all professions have their specialized knowledge, which is at times difficult to share with 'outsiders'.

        to be continued ...
      • thumb
        Oct 16 2013: What I found what makes people more vulnerable of being cursed are highly talented people who never struggled a lot with learning. This way, many of those didn't just become very knowledgeable and smart, yet they often have difficulties to imagine that not all people have their brains.

        By this, communication can become difficult for them as they overstrain their dialog partner while not realizing it and get disappointed when they do.

        To my own surprise, I found myself doing extremely well with those people. Not because I am as smart, not in a thousand years, but because I do not shy to ask what I don't understand and because I am genuine interested when I do. This often seems to be a release to them off their curse and they happily lower themselves down to my level, because by my questions, they get to see where that level is. Woks perfectly! And much of what I know today, I learned from those cursed ones ... :o)

        I also never shy to ask 'lower ranked' people, whatever that is, yet it exists in hierarchically structured organizations. And what can I say, it works as perfect as well and the other half of what I know today is thanks to those un-cursed specialists ... :o)

        Knowledge as a weapon I use exclusively in defense. And the rest of the time it gets openly shared with those interested in it. What else is it good for?
        • Oct 16 2013: I had never thought about the connection between people who learned easily disconnecting themselves from people who struggle. And then, further on in life struggling with the dissemination of information because they are oblivious to others' capacities.

          Hmm. So I suppose part of the problem lies in how we process information. And the fact that we are all different.

          So, here is a spin on the question.........do you think that both men and women are the same when it comes to discussing topics with lesser knowledgeable individuals?

          Read also what I wrote to Adriaan......could you perhaps address what I asked him also?

          Thank you so much for your insights......you gave me a lot of food-for-thought, like always. :) (maybe it was the coffee?...hmmm?)
        • Oct 18 2013: Lejan,

          The 1st thing a good officer does is talk with the Sergeants. I always talk with my techs about the current status and future plans, especially senior techs, and if they are good treat them as engineers.
      • thumb
        Oct 16 2013: Roughly generalized, woman tend to be more patient and harmonizing compared to men, which certainly helps to bridge those gaps.

        Regarding the question you asked Adriaan, I don't think that many opponents don't get their 'point of view across' due to different levels of knowledge, as more by different interpretation and experience about that knowledge they have and exchange.

        Pure knowledge is usually easy to proof, yet how much knowledge is there we can be truly assured of?

        How many planets did you learn for our solar system? Today, its one less!

        History gets written by winners, biology evolves by levels of magnification, geography by wars and revolutions, physics gets less and less intuitive as deeper we go and so does mathematics.

        Most of the knowledge I possess is based on trust and interpretation. I have never measured the speed of light myself, so I trust the numbers of those physicists who did. Napoleon? Also there, I never went through all the documents myself to plot his live and deeds, so at some point in school I trusted my teacher who trusted historians. And this goes on and on.

        So what I really know for sure, is actually pretty little compared to what is stored in my memory, which isn't much and therefore sets the scale even lower.

        This is one of the reasons why I am more confident in most of my experiences, as I am about my knowledge, yet even there I am aware, that it is my interpretation of what I went through.

        When 'discussions end up being personal attacks' of which I don't know what you are talking about ... ;o) then it is usually based on different interpretations of how the world works, should work or must work. And as this is an ongoing experiment called mankind, applied knowledge and experience gets a little rough at times.

        Wouldn't it be plain boring without friction?

        Agreeing discussions are short. Yes/Yes/ Great! Whereas disputes can be a process of challenge and change. The rest is just sportful drama! :o)
        • Oct 17 2013: Some really great points!

          "This is one of the reasons why I am more confident in most of my experiences, as I am about my knowledge, yet even there I am aware, that it is my interpretation of what I went through."

          Perhaps that is why anecdotal records have their value in scientific research, no?
          Our life experiences are valuable are they not?

          And that was an interesting observation you made on Sandel using first names until he reached the doctor. Do you suppose that in that regard the audience felt beneath the good doctor when he began to speak?
      • thumb
        Oct 17 2013: I think science is based on anecdotal records, they just get re-phrased when published to appear more professional and purposeful than they really are.

        Before I earned my own academic title I was highly impressed by those who had them.
        Before I worked in research myself, I was paralyzed in awe by those who did.

        Since ages our society is teaching respect to authority, what do you think are degrees made for?
        Its a class labeling, nothing else.

        Why should the private opinion of a butcher about, lets say, insecticides, be of any less value than those of a nuclear scientist holding a PhD in his field. It shouldn't, yet many people are easily impressed by those 'pedigrees', just as I was myself before I found out that there is no reason for that.

        When it is about meat, and when I trust my butcher, I listen to him. About radioactive dangers, if I trust my scientist, than he(she will be my choice. Its about expertise and experience, not about titles.

        The generation of my grandparents is exemplary for this sort of conditioning. In their village, the priest, the teacher of the village school and the mayor were by definition the most respected people.
        And it went even that far, that some people couldn't even imagine that those 'light figures' also had their business from time to time on the toilet, like anybody else.

        This conditioning has not vanished and still gets promoted today.

        I remember my first time in a private corporation when I went into the workshop, at production level. What I experienced was a mixture of rejection and submissiveness when I introduced myself to my colleagues. The typical 'blue collar/ white collar' skepticism, yet new to me at that time. And that very point you either earn your respect the long way, or you claim your respect the short way. And I leave it to your imagination what will be more beneficial to all people involved on the long run ... :o)

        The moment Sandel left his self chosen setting, he divided the audience in 'up' and 'low'.
      • thumb
        Oct 17 2013: And this even despite the fact, that the medical doctor was the only one who could give her opinion based on her 'hands on' experience in exactly this topic.

        Nevertheless, some people in the audience may have unconsciously noticed this difference in 'respect' Sandel signalized in doing so, which for the impartiality of the debate itself wasn't helpful at all.

        It gets easier to disagree with authority, if you have authority yourself. It doesn't make sense, yet still gets promoted this way.
        • Oct 17 2013: "Since ages our society is teaching respect to authority, what do you think are degrees made for?
          Its a class labeling, nothing else."

          I think some people may let degrees go to their heads.
          Oddly enough, and I have mentioned this on TED conversations before, I have to try hard to show people that my teaching degree does not make me any better than anyone else. Most of the time, people learn that I am a professional from a third party, not from me. Because all too often people will shy away from talking with me thinking that I might be superior to them.......reverse discrimination is what I call it.

          So, I think that as an individual, we have to be aware of two things with respect to titles and degrees..........

          1. If you have one, hurray, but it doesn't make you better than the butcher.
          2. If you don't have one, hurray, but it doesn't make you any lesser an individual.

          Self-worth is important. I'd like to see someone with a degree in botany try to create one of these bridges.

          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t0jCNVFVci4
      • thumb
        Oct 18 2013: Yes, I think teachers have to face this beautifully phrased 'reverse discrimination' in line with policemen/woman, psychologists, tax inspectors and other 'cursed' professions.

        Its mainly fear-driven, yet annoying.

        To 1) it doesn't make me any better a person than my butcher, I do hope it makes me better in my profession than he is and vice versa.

        To 2) yes

        Those bridges are beautiful, aren't they? A degree doesn't hinder to build those bridges, as the technique used is pretty simple, its braiding. A single degree may run a bit short in lifetime for a whole bridge from start to walkable ... :o)
        • thumb
          Oct 18 2013: Degrees are mostly about 'ritualized obedience', a friend once said.

          I find often those with degrees lack common sense and wisdom. It's just about money, job and status. A major reason why it doesn't look good for human survival. A race to the bottom with a bunch of worthless paper because we didn't understand what really matters.

          Economics is a subset and dependent upon nature, not the opposite. Until we understand that, our species is doomed.

          Happy humus....
      • thumb
        Oct 18 2013: @ Craig

        Most of our corporate culture is 'ritualized obedience' and no military would function without - which wouldn't be all to negative in my opinion.

        On scientific degrees I would mainly disagree, as it comes for a reason, that you have to 'defend' your thesis. And this ideally due to its provocative claims!

        All good professors I had always encouraged their students to doubt their words and not just blindly follow the herd. This spawns discussion, argumentations, dispute and research, which doesn't align with my understanding of obedience at all.

        But, of course, there are also scientists whose main focus has become 'money, job and status'.

        I myself don't call them scientists, they are 'science manager' to me because the majority of them will be found in those management positions, rather than in 'hands on' research. They usually do fund-raising, project acquisition and lobby work, which gets them into different 'circles' which seems to spoil them. Their names keep showing up on publications and their name is pretty much all they contributed. In case of scientific fraud of a paper, these are the first to confirm of what I just said.

        On economics I have to agree with you.
  • thumb
    Oct 15 2013: i find the description highly accurate
    • thumb
      Oct 16 2013: Seen by your teachers our by yourself? And yes, it does make a difference. :o)
      • thumb
        Oct 16 2013: i'm a teacher, though not by profession
      • thumb
        Oct 16 2013: this question is not relevant to the topic, but my "students" range from hopeless morons to very smarts.
        • thumb
          Oct 16 2013: well, to me it is relevant, sorry about that.

          so you do perceive your students as stupid?
        • thumb
          Oct 16 2013: and teaching 'hopeless morons' wouldn't make sense without hope, would it?
        • thumb

          . .

          • +2
          Oct 16 2013: ..

          " If you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree it will go through life believing it is stupid ".....said Einstein and I think this guidance is worth following.

          I appreciate the honesty. The words "stupid", "hopeless" and "moron" have no place whatsoever in the vocabulary of a teacher. When a person doesn't love teaching, and is so detached from the joy of teaching, it is indicative that passion is displaced and misplaced.

          There is a passion in every human being in this world which deserves to be employed at doing precisely what it excels at doing. The world needs passion to be placed behind the corresponding job.

          It is a privilege to be a teacher. It is a privilege and a great responsibility to be entrusted with the fertile ground of an open mind.
      • thumb
        Oct 16 2013: someone being a hopeless moron is not known beforehand
      • thumb
        Oct 16 2013: you asked that already, and i said:

        "my "students" range from hopeless morons to very smarts."

        about kicking: 1, i'm not in the position to kick them out, 2, hard to know when someone is hopeless, 3, somebody might learn from it
        • thumb
          Oct 16 2013: How can we learn from a situation if we have already labeled some participants "hopeless morons"?
        • thumb
          Oct 16 2013: So your perception ranges from hopeless morons to very smarts, correct?

          to 1) Would you if you were?

          to 2) I assume, you naming someone a hopeless moron happens after a hard period of making this conclusion, right?

          to 3) 'might' is the presence of hope, correct?
      • thumb
        Oct 16 2013: colleen: others can learn from it. hopeless morons can't.
        • thumb
          Oct 16 2013: Krisztián,
          "Hopeless moron" seems like a rather subjective label. If you think/feel someone cannot learn anything, that is a subjective judgment, and only your perception/judgment.

          Personally, I don't believe anyone is hopeless....even you! I know you appreciate a sense of humor:>)
      • thumb
        Oct 16 2013: 1, sure. out with them.
        2, yep
        3, hope for others, not the hopeless morons. every word ever written might be useful for some reader some day (if it has any merit obviously).
        • thumb

          Lejan .

          • +2
          Oct 16 2013: So in short, you are frustrated by the fact, that you are not in the position to kick those out you consider hopeless morons, right?

          Could you imagine other teacher teaching those 'morons' something? Could it be you who just can't?

          This is heading towards 'self reflection abilities', so be careful if you choose to answer ... :o)
        • thumb
          Oct 16 2013: Do you think 'patience' is a necessity, no option, a teacher must have?
      • Oct 16 2013: You bring out some good points......it is interesting that your last question involved patience......I see this as the hallmark to any conversation that has someone with a high level of knowledge and experience, dealing with another individual with a lack of knowledge and desire to learn.

        Thank you Lejan.

        I look forward to the rest of your exchange.
        • thumb
          Oct 16 2013: My last question was actually a catch question, as Krisztián himself once mentioned, that he is not very patience.

          If this is a general quality or exceptional in combination with me, I don't exactly know ... :o)

          Yet I do agree with you that patience is a hallmark in this context and as you rightly added goes for individuals with a desire to learn.
      • thumb
        Oct 17 2013: "you are frustrated by the fact, that you are not in the position to kick those out"

        certainly, but let me point out that it is not the solution, but rather, giving up in a case without hope of a real solution, and distancing myself from it.

        "Could you imagine other teacher teaching those 'morons' something?"

        no, and it is included in the adjective "hopeless". be mindful that i answered the question literally. that is, i can't imagine. i'm not sure it is impossible.

        "Do you think 'patience' is a necessity,"

        it is situational. teaching 7 years olds is very different than teaching adults. it is not black and white, one needs some patience, more in some cases, less in others. at the highest levels, the optimum is very very low. we don't want the time of a genius wasted on anything else than other geniuses.
        • thumb

          Lejan .

          • +1
          Oct 17 2013: While I was at the University I earned some money at the side teaching at organizations and also in private lessons and later I trained several people on their jobs, apprentices as well as customers.

          In all this time I never encountered any hopeless student, but at times I found myself hopeless to be the right teacher for some.

          Teaching is more than the exchange of knowledge to me, by which being a student or being a teacher becomes irrelevant even though they are not the same.

          What I found was, that I can not teach anyone anything if I fail to spark their interest in learning. Yet this is my fault being the teacher, not the students fault. This sort of 'fault' is not to confuse with its usual, more negative meaning. Not at all. It goes more in the direction of 'incompatibility', by which the 'authority' in the given context takes on the responsibility alone.

          I learned this in a very unexpected way. A colleague of mine got a baby and I was asked if I could take her student temporarily on a subject I was not really familiar with and to be honest, have never done very well myself. Chemistry it was and so we tried.

          So we went by the book, at first, and for my guidance. The student was a very shy, very introvert teenager whose parents were highly concerned about her grades at school and, as it seemed, about her whole future too. So perfect conditions for my knowledge in chemistry to make things even worse. But then something very remarkably happened during our lessons, as without my intention, I became the catalyst of my student.

          I told her at the very beginning, that I myself was going to learn within the process and that both of us would be lucky if I manage to be slightly ahead of her, so that I could remain to be her teacher. So we started and to avoid silence I read out loud and thought out loud so she got to see the how my neurons were trying to make sense of what they just stumbled across.

          to be continued ...
        • thumb

          Lejan .

          • +1
          Oct 17 2013: I wasn't aware about this at that time, as I was only overcoming silence which otherwise would have occurred. And while I was riddling and marveling in the process, she sat silently at my side with her eyes in the same book.

          After our lesson was over, she left, and I was almost certain that her parents would cancel our next scheduled lessons for good reasons. But I was wrong. She returned the next week and we proceeded in the same fashion.

          Every now and then she asked me to repeat my train of thought or to re-phrase it for her to follow my path. Well, that wasn't a big problem to me and on we went.

          Because of her shyness, I felt that it may be good for some humor so most of my molecules came with little faces and they held hands when they reacted and so on and so forth. And all the sketches I made on paper she took home with her.

          Some weeks later things became more difficult to me to understand 'on the fly', and often we parted with my promise to present the solution in the following lesson. Which I did, up to that time, where she herself came up with the same solution, the same understanding.

          And something else began to change, as more and more she took over 'my' thinking. She began to read out loud and to think out loud, so we could compare each others understanding and verify our understanding in the books exercises.

          We spent three month together learning chemistry and at the end we were laughing a lot, about and at each others abilities.

          Her finals came at the end of the year and we passed perfectly and there was no need anymore for her to take any more lessons, as she had found her way of learning.

          Was I a teacher? Definitely not in chemistry, although I got payed for that.

          One year later, after she finished high-school, she returned to me just to let me know about her decision to have enrolled at a University to major in chemistry, she was that good!

          This was the icing on our cake and me more than speechless.

          Exceptional? Not to me anymore.
        • thumb
          Oct 17 2013: I always had the luxury, even at work or when I was teaching at organizations, to find solutions for students and with my teaching colleagues, when I wasn't the right person to teach.

          We consider this only a luxury, because our usual education system isn't flexible enough to incorporate this very basic principle in teaching. And even worse, as many countries organized their schools based on civil servants with a lifelong job guarantee and very high hurdles to suspend someone once he(she got in.

          Usually all of us have made this experience at school, that a new teacher in the same topic either boost or kill our interests. This got to stop! Teacher as well as students got to have the choice for each other, if true education was our real purpose.

          There is no rocket science here at all. Just inflexible and poorly organized frameworks, because what gets 'produced' still is good enough to feed the job markets.

          For our own sake, this got to be changed!
        • thumb
          Oct 17 2013: Krisztian,

          "...we don't want the time of a genius wasted on anything else than other geniuses"

          Who is the judge of what "genius" is, who has it and who doesn't?

          How do we search for genius that has lain dormant for whatever reason?

          It is quite possible (probable, even) that genius can get cloaked in low self-esteem, lack of confidence etc. to the point where it goes unseen by those whose job it is to see it.

          Someone with hidden or dormant genius might be initially seen as a "hopeless moron". Just think what a waste that would be!
      • thumb
        Oct 17 2013: sorry, but there is absolutely no chance that i read 7-8000 characters. my todo file is way longer than it should be
    • Oct 16 2013: Yes Krisztian, I found it highly accurate also.

      I must admit that throughout my teaching career I have worked with many an educator who have spoken about their students as "stupid". I do not know how a teacher can come right out and speak like this of children, but nevertheless I have heard it, so denying that this attitude exists does no one any good.

      Why do you think people with a lot of knowledge act this way Krisztian?
      When you personally know that your knowledge is more complete than the person you are speaking with, do you get impatient trying to explain yourself? Or are you patient and kind?
      • Oct 17 2013: I have heard teachers call students, not just stupid, but retards and other names. I have heard teachers say why should i listen to cookie provider (what she thought of parents.) Most of these were not what I called the best teachers. Because they had tenure, they were not even reprimanded.
      • thumb
        Oct 17 2013: if the "student" is just lacking in talent, it is frustrating, but not a big problem. the problem arises when someone rejects the truth, because it is inconvenient for them to think that he doesn't understand something. choosing, instead, a simplistic but soothing world view. this is upsetting. and the most upsetting to see is many such people coming together, and reinforcing each other's false views.

        the thing is, this behavior is so widespread, basically everyone does that. so as you educate yourself, you exile yourself from these circle-soothing societies one by one. it is a no win situation. how else to react to that than anger or depression?
        • Oct 17 2013: So you are angry? Or depressed? Or have you passed these two stages already?
          Were you ever part of the circle?
        • thumb
          Oct 17 2013: "...the problem arises when someone rejects the truth"

          What is the truth exactly?

          Geniuses are geniuses because they challenge "the truth".
        • thumb
          Oct 17 2013: I think what distinguish us most regarding teaching, as well as on other topics, is, that you believe in the concept of truth and I don't.

          What is this 'truth' you are teaching? Where does it come from? Who came up with it? Who comes to define it? Science? Religion? Economics?

          At my time science told me about 9 planets in my solar system, now there is one missing. Where did it go?

          The exile you describe by truth is nothing but choice to me.

          And I choose too. We all do. As well as most of us trust in our choices, as otherwise there was little to non orientation in this world.

          The reason why I chose evolution over creationism is, that it makes more sense to me in the way I perceive the world around me. And for the same reason I didn't choose for any religion.

          Do I have the truth? In fact, I don't know, just the evidence I choose for makes it more plausible to me than what I didn't choose for.

          When I hear you saying, that it upsets you 'to see is many such people coming together, and reinforcing each other's false views', it reminds me on religion.

          If this is your mindset in teaching, you don't teach, you missionize!

          My physics professor at the opening lesson at the University got it right, in saying, that all he was about to tell us in the upcoming semesters we should never take for granted under no circumstances.

          That is what teaching is about, to enable other people to make up their own minds on anything so that they can decide for themselves.

          Teaching isn't forging someones mind in 'true' and 'false' categories. Teaching is about enabling to make those choices by own reasons and reasoning.

          This neither spares nor soften any form of anger or depression which may arise from that, yet nobody said that the struggle for wisdom is going to be easy, at least it didn't come with my instruction kit for planet earth ... :o)
      • thumb
        Oct 17 2013: i alternate between the two.

        everyone is part of many of these circles, unknowingly. you can leave them with learning.
        • Oct 17 2013: I can see where you, or anybody, for that matter might alternate between the two.

          Learning truths, after you have spent decades following and believing falsehoods is not easy.

          And then trying to teach someone what new knowledge you have learned and being faced with rejection is hard to deal with.
  • thumb
    Oct 15 2013: Knowledge is not a curse for the wise. They know how to handle it. Education does not ensure wisdom, it prepares one with basic tools of interacting with life intelligently. A teacher is not concerned primarily with vast knowledge base, s/he is concerned with encouraging a student to explore it without getting waylaid.
    There is nothing such as a curse or a boon - all that is there is consequence of action.
    • Oct 16 2013: Thank you for your contribution.
      I think many teachers feel that it is their duty to have a large knowledge base. This is especially so in the upper grades and in higher learning.

      Here is where you mainly see this kind of "ego" problem.

      The teaching profession is just one example that was mentioned.
      Don't you think that there are fields of study where individuals become so knowledgeable that they lose the "common touch"?
      • thumb
        Oct 19 2013: "Don't you think that there are fields of study where individuals become so knowledgeable that they lose the "common touch"?"

        Yes there are, but those individuals are not wise enough to handle their knowledge. The best common sense explanation of Theory of relativity came from Einstein himself. When asked about it by a lady, he said that the same length of time may appear longer when she listened to a lecture by an old and ugly professor and shorter when she listened to the adventure stories from a handsome hunk.

        Actually most profound truths are so simple that we miss them weighed down under knowledge. For a teacher, I think, it is almost criminal to be so knowledgeable as to intimidate her students.
        • Oct 20 2013: Einstein was a very special person.

          And yes, it is almost criminal to be so knowledgeable as to intimidate your students.
          I have seen this from kindergarten all the way to university.
          We just all handle the possession of knowledge differently.
  • Oct 27 2013: I have already begun to act and act out. Put "NBC predicts implants." into your search engine if you want a shock. The forces of darkness love ignorance and use it against us. They use knowledge for power and evil. Prepare your mind to prepare your actions.
  • thumb
    Oct 27 2013: Question?
    Are there people who gather knowledge and keep it for themselves? They are quietly smirking when discussing these subjects with the uninformed. Knowledge may not be a curse, but a source of self-amusement... Of course, I am not speaking for myself....really....
    • Oct 28 2013: Hmmm......lots of food for thought there Mike.....

      So then, knowledge may be accumulated and used for entertainment..........I have also learned, in the past three years on TED, that knowledge may be manipulated.......it may also be shielded.......and released in adulterated ways........to the uninformed bystander, it may prove to be their truth.

      Knowledge is powerful................I think that there are a couple of powerful things related to knowledge....which really go hand in hand with it.............one has been mentioned....the other has not.

      Thanks for your additional thoughts.
      • thumb
        Oct 28 2013: Hi Mary,
        Although, there may be some who use their knowledge in a manner I had alluded too, I was really offering that comment tongue in cheek.

        I have read comments by some seemingly smart people, that were snarking if you will,
        even more so then me. I hold myself as the standard, if you are snarkier then me, you are really being.... not nice.
        In my perfect world, all comments would be more astute, more to the point and given with a gentler tone then those I make.
        • Oct 28 2013: Mike, what I most admire in your contributions, is the tone you use.....it is your voice.....how boring for all comments to sound astute and gentle.......of course good manners are needed and we want to use tact and all, but...........your life experience comes through in your comments......I would not want you to change.

          "You were born an original Mike.....don't die a copy"

          Thanks for your wonderful contributions to this debate.
          I have quoted you on top.....in my summary of quotes......hope you like the line I chose. ;)

          Mary ♥
  • thumb
    Oct 26 2013: Go...
  • Oct 24 2013: Thousands maybe millions of people each year misuse there knowledge by comiting crimes and making this world we live in dangerous.
    • Oct 26 2013: That is true. But, if we have knowledge that this is happening, is there anything we can do to counteract this?
  • Oct 23 2013: What most people dont understand is that knowledge is a real gift and we abuse it.
    • Oct 24 2013: What are ways knowledge is being abused, in your opinion?
      • thumb
        Oct 24 2013: I would suggest insider trading is one example of abuse of knowledge. Another would be the manner in which "spin doctors" use the knowledge of psychology and semantics to brainwash and manipulate people into believing, or at least accepting, the most outrageous ideas.

        Fox News in the U.S. and the Tea party's attacks on ObamaCare daily offer up countless examples of misinformation and misdirection all aimed at protecting the status quo and the profits of HMO's.
  • thumb
    Oct 21 2013: Thank you Mary for a wonderful Topic, I don't know why I didn't saw this topic earlier. This is important topic because, I see that the more knowledgeable human's are getting the more Exploitation is happening either of Mother nature, either of other living creatures, either of Non living beings, or Space.

    Yes, I am being pessimistic as I feel always being optimistic doesn't balance out.

    "Yes Knowledge is a curse in present political, social or whatever situation it may" this is Society oriented and "Knowledge is not a curse for self actualization" this is Individual oriented.
    • Oct 21 2013: Hi Kuldeep, so nice that you stopped by.

      I like your view........"Knowledge is not a curse for self-actualization"..............simply love it.

      You have helped peel back another layer of this subject matter.

      There have been some wonderful contributions, and we have spoken about knowledge from many angles.
      When the conversation closes I will attempt to summarize all the angles for anyone visiting the page in the future.

      Thank you for your fine contribution.

      P.S. I do not think you are pessimistic....simply realistic. :D
      • thumb
        Oct 21 2013: Mary I will wait for the topic summarization.

        You are a wonderful Person no doubt.
        • Oct 28 2013: Kuldeep, I have added a quotes summary of this debate.........I hope you enjoy reading through it. Just thought I'd give you a heads-up!!

          Mary
  • Oct 17 2013: *** Welcome to this conversation/debate......please read around.

    There are many dimensions to this topic. There are some interesting aspects of knowledge, and the sharing of knowledge that some of the participants have brought out.

    You are welcome to give a contribution of your own......or reply to anyone else's comment.
    I look forward to reading anyone else's contributions.
  • thumb
    Oct 16 2013: When knowledge falls onto the wrong hands/person then we are in trouble. Knowledge in and of itself was meant to be a blessing and not a curse. The main purpose of one possessing some knowledge is to try and use that knowledge to elevate others to his/her level. A teacher should by all means aim to empty him/herself as much as possible of all the knowledge he/she has acquired for the benefit of the students because a great teacher would be judged by how much he/she contributes to the actual education of the students.
    Anyone who is genuinely passionate about what he knows tries by all means to share it with others in order to bring them to his level of knowledge. This is how great leaders have transformed the world; they passionately dedicate themselves fully to sharing their ideas with an intention of transforming others to be just like them if not more. This I believe is the way to go!
    • Oct 17 2013: Bongani, thank you so much for your clear words, and fine expressions.
      I am also of the same mind frame that "knowledge in and of itself was meant to be a blessing and not a curse".

      Sadly though, the ego gets in the way, like someone brought out.
      Have you had any experiences where someone with a lot of knowledge in a particular field treated you as a lesser one? How did you react?
      • thumb
        Oct 18 2013: Hi Mary M.! It's a pleasure to partake in such pulsating conversations such as these!
        It has happened to me a couple of times in different occasions even. When I was fresh from varsity to start serving as an intern in this big organisation I was treated like I didn't know anything really, I would attend meetings with my seniors, we were two as interns and the rest (4) were seniors. We would go there just to listen really because we were new and supposedly not knowing anything there.

        It was very frustrating to just sit there and listen to them contributing and we would just be given orders after that with no choice really, but when time went by we raised our concerns of being undermined and they started giving us some job even though it was just simple things but we took things from there and they slowly trusted us with something more meaningful and we began contributing to meetings as well. But it was frustrating, you have to persevere and find a way to let them know how you feel so they could fix things.
    • Comment deleted

      • thumb
        Oct 18 2013: Simply, those who abuse/misuse what they know. Everybody has some knowledge of some sort and when we misuse that privilege of knowing something, we abuse the primal intent intended for that knowledge which is to improve and uplift ourselves.

        Everybody is a guardian of knowledge, as long as you have capabilities of knowing something then you are a guardian of knowledge. Obviously we have knowledge of various subjects or different things and as such it is important that even here Theodor you fully share what you know to your best ability so to teach and uplift us somehow because what you know we might not necessarily be privileged to know.

        We are one big community here to teach and learn from each other hence I said everyone is a guardian of some level of knowledge.
      • thumb
        Oct 18 2013: Unfortunately we cannot judge that as it varies from individual to individual and just too subjective.
        I believe each individual will have to judge him/herself. Knowledge could either build or destroy you, so it is up to you to judge and decide which one one you go with.
      • thumb
        Oct 19 2013: It is a collective statement and there is we. Simply, my premise here is we are not living in isolation and when you decide to use your knowledge not to uplift us, it negatively affects us.
        I hope we understand each Theodor.
      • thumb
        Oct 19 2013: I understand your view point. In humanity I have faith indeed. Obviously in such a diverse community that we live in, there cannot be one path of knowledge, surely that would be defying our uniqueness.
        The key point here is whatever knowledge you are entrusted/entrust yourself with try to use it positively regardless of the path you use to acquire that knowledge.

        The intent I speak of here is not political at all, it's purely inspired by logic.
  • Oct 16 2013: Knowledge by itself is nothing, like bricks. It is why we have collected knowledge and what we're planning to do with it which can make it a base for good or a curse.

    Our remembering of facts and knowledge is heavily influenced by if they are attached to a love we have.
    That's why it is sooo very important as a teacher that we can not just disperse facts, but wake up a love in a student to attach facts to.

    I sincerely hope this book The Human Mind will be helpful
    http://webhome.idirect.com/~abraam/documents/TheHumanMind.pdf

    Thanks Mary, great question
    • Oct 16 2013: Thank you Adriaan.

      But wouldn't you agree that as the article states......the more knowledge we have on a subject.... "it becomes increasingly more difficult to discuss that subject with someone who doesn’t posses that knowledge. It simply becomes harder and harder to empathize with them."?

      This statement makes me think of the many discussions here in TED conversations where individuals on opposing sides just cannot get their point of view across because their fields of expertise are on opposing ends of the spectrum. Both may have a ton of knowledge, but then their discussions end up being personal attacks.

      I think this is an aspect of this topic that can be addressed as well.
      • Oct 17 2013: Hi Mary, I think we alway have a choice how to behave, how to react. If we know much more than someone else we should develop compassion. Develop the acceptance that we cannot all be brilliant on every subject and accept that difference.

        The more important we think the subject is that we know a lot about, the more we should adjust how we connect and exchange information, and ideas, so we can either raise the other person to a higher (or our) level. But the first motive should be love of the neighbour, not the love of self.
        The worst thing a teacher can do is to downgrade a student. That same student may develop in a very different way and become brilliant in something completely different.

        To call anyone a moron tells me more about the one saying it, than the one he or she is talking about.
        A wise person is one that agrees to disagree, if there seems to be a wall.

        ---Added---

        Just came to mind that this may often happen between parents and kids. Some parents want to explain to a kid why something has to be done or cannot be done. When the child does not respond correctly or becomes defiant, the parent goes the same way and becomes mad. That is like lowering yourself to the level of the child. Not recommended. Love the child and adjust the exchange so there is contact, or change the subject and so change the focus..
        We should lower our intellect to the level of the child, not our emotions.
        • Oct 17 2013: I love that you came back with that last line..........

          "We should lower our intellect to the level of the child, not our emotions"

          I do think that treating others condescendingly is perhaps a matter of emotions and not intellect. Mostly because you do not need to be knowledgeable to treat others with disrespect.

          You have just added another layer of depth to the discussion Adriaan.
          Thank you.
  • Oct 16 2013: I wanted to share this quote with all of you:

    "The purpose of education is not to validate ignorance, but to overcome it"

    And please do not limit your comments to the teaching field.

    The article states that knowledge may be a curse to teachers because of the reason stated, but this phenomena is not mutually exclusive to the education field.

    It would be interesting to read about any other examples all of you may think of. Thank you for the contributions thus far.
  • thumb
    Oct 15 2013: i think who do the hard job need a question like this more (laborer,...) ,cause teaching it can give the teacher the idea maybe 1 of his student will have Prize Nobel can riches the work of his life with this 1 student ,it can't be Curse from this if the teacher is conscious about the confidence we give to him to teach our next generations and the noble message he is doing for a noble goal...again from the stupidity he saw and see and will seeing over his career we can conclude that not anyone can be teacher who know the real responssability is waiting for him or her with this noble mission...the knowledge can be curse for the student more then his teacher cause he will learn what the most of it ,exist in books only and when the student turn his eyes to the real world is living on it...only a form of schizophrenia can makes them learn what is not real...but the Laborer we must think more about him like peoples who suffer in their lives really and only minority of us who give them some respect like they deserve it and help them to have some comfort in their Lives....without modesty the knowledge will turn into a real Curse for Man . thank you
    • Oct 16 2013: Thank you so much for your statements. I do agree that without modesty the knowledge will turn in to a real curse.

      So when must a person adopt a modest view of knowledge?
      And who is to teach the person modesty?
      • thumb
        Oct 16 2013: Thank you for your question back ,i think if we know why ,we can know from it when and who is the real teacher for it....because we can notice ourselves in a moment of strength with our knowledge can making us feel absolute with it ,which lead us to the intolerance that we're perfect with this knowledge in our unconscious and will grow inside us which can turn into the goal will explain the way ,which is like a goodbye to the ethics (Curse) ;from above we can conclude that the first principal to learn before start to learning it's we're like *suggest of the truth* which can protect us from the intolerance ( Modesty).
  • thumb
    Oct 15 2013: Mary, IMO the answer is no ... knowledge is not a curse. However, I can name eggheads that are educational purists, have super egos, and are plumb proud of themselves and cannot resist rubbing others noses in their brilliance.

    We have a few teachers in our town who during parent teachers meetings answer the question .."How is my son doing" .. with all sorts of techno talk and references to a lot of researchers. That is an example of what you are talking about. Her students are suffering and the parents are frustrated. The principal just says we will arrange a meeting with you and the teacher .... hay ... you ain't listening ... that why I am here.

    We had a math teacher when asked about a problem would go to the board and do it in record time with no eye contact or questions and throw the chalk down and say that is the last time I will show you. We had a whole generation of kids who never learned and hated math. He was reported often to the administration and their answer is that math is not for everyone.

    Knowledge is handled differently by everyone. Knowledge should be a pitcher you can drink from and never be full. I think there are times when researchers need to speak with those on the same level because specific terms have exact meanings and it conveys the question and/or the answer to the professionals.

    Sir Ken Robinson comes to mind as a Professor who can talk the talk and walk the walk .... but also brings it to each of us professionally without making us feel like he has lowered himself for the sake of the "dumbies".

    Good teachers know who they are and what their task is ... they do not have to "impress" the student or parents ... but instead use the tools of their knowledge to pass on the information in a manner we can all learn from.

    Those who are cursed should not blame knowledge ... egos are most likely the cause.

    As always Mary I wish you well and all the best. Bob.
    • Oct 16 2013: Robert, thank you for your fine reflections.

      Knowledge, in and of itself is wonderful. But too much knowledge may "puff up" an individual.....the ego, as you so clearly identified it.

      The article cited that those in the teaching profession are susceptible to this kind of "ego trip"......but that was just one example.

      I couldn't help but think of my university professors. Lots of knowledge, but when questioned on any matter, many of them made me feel beneath them........

      So, any other passionate people come to mind in regards to acting this way?
      Have you had any experience where you asked a professional an honest question out of curiosity, and they made you feel "stupid", as the article brought out?
      • thumb
        Oct 16 2013: Oh Yeah ... many. In my old age I attend a lot of political meetings on both sides. There is almost always a agenda and pre-briefed question and answers. The handlers try to keep to the areas they have prepped.

        Being the Pooka that I am I always throw at least one into the mix. A candidate I had never met was giving a stump speech and I hit him with a question and he stated " I get you a answer " and moved on ... being a imp I then asked loudly if he knew who I was and how did he intend to get back to me if he did not know who I am or how to contact me. Devil made me do it. However, he was a pompous ass and deserved it.

        John McCain asked me ... have you ever been to Washington? Then you don't know what your talking about .... a put down that I accepted as a challenge. I stated just as loud as his comment ... with what has came out of there it shouldn't be to hard .. now back to my question. I was asked to leave. I didn't get a Christmas present from him that year. Shucks.

        Challenge any Obama supporter on issues and you immediately get that was Bush's fault ... or he is better than Bush ... or the ever faithful .... you T party bag of shit. I dig the spurs in for fun. It is a waste of time to talk with those who have a closed mind. But fun to poke then with a stick.

        I never pull a trick on a honest .. down to earth ... doing the best he can ... person. For the super egos and jerks ... I'll bark back in a heart beat. Of course I get sent home with a note to my parents a lot.

        Kinda like knowledge and wisdom ain't it.

        Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit .... wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.

        As always I wish you well. Bob.
        • Oct 16 2013: Great examples Bob..........so their knowledge of politics and the workings of it puffed them up to the point that they couldn't give you the time of day. I was wondering when someone would mention politicians in the scope of this conversation. ;)

          If you came home with a note from one of those meetings, I would give you a plate of homemade cookies and a tall glass of cool lemonade, then let you invite your friends over for a play date. :)

          Thanks for contributing to this humble discussion. Mary ♥
      • thumb
        Oct 16 2013: Mary,

        Bob was disruptive and rude at my recent meeting. I ask that you not allow him to attend further meeting on my behalf.

        Big Shot.

        Okay where's the goodies ..... yummmmmmmmm.

        I will have friends over after I hog all the goodies down .... not sharing.