Acquiring Knowledge

Athenus - Building the knowledge society

A story:

There is one old story in Buddhism about knowledge. A man had to cross a river which has no bridge. The man is so determined to cross the river as he has to embark an important journey. He saw a big piece of log lying on ground. He went in search of some sharp stones and materials and found those after some intense searching. He started to make a boat out of the log with the tools he had got after immense searching. He managed to manufacture a boat out of that log and crossed the river using that boat. After reaching the shore, the man gets off from the boat and starts his journey.

A voice told the man to stop and asked him to remember all the hardships he had taken to make a log into boat. It questioned him, how can he after putting all those hard works can leave the boat there and go. Instead it said to the man that he should carry the boat on his shoulders and go as he might need in some other place. The man smiled to himself and took off his way without carrying anything. The voice said again, Oh! Man, “you have not only gained knowledge but attained wisdom”. The story ends there and let’s retrospect the story a bit.

What is Knowledge?

From this story what idea do we get about Knowledge? Or to put it in a simpler phrase what is knowledge according to the story? The man saw a log and he had already known that a log can be made into a boat i.e. experience. Then he searches for the tools to make that log into a boat i.e. information. Then he tries to figure out to make a boat out of that log i.e. processing. So this story tells us that Knowledge is adding up experience+information+processing.The educational institutions, finds very hard to impart this kind of knowledge. There is another definition for knowledge. That is “Knowing something in everything and everything in something”. so to the least is this criteria is met by institutions? the answer would be NO. Then what kind of thing is being done in institutional education.

The Wisdom:

The Voice at last after tempting the man to carry the boat says that he has not only gained knowledge but also attained wisdom. What is wisdom then? What is the difference between knowledge and wisdom? We have seen the definition for knowledge above. Remembering the fact that we are knowledgeable is wisdom. The man smiles and walks away as he knows that he can build a boat now, as he has the knowledge of doing it as he had done it now. So remembering that knowledge he walked off without carrying the boat. That is wisdom.

One more valid point is there, the boat being there can be a great help to someone else who wants to cross that river from this side of the bank. The purpose of education is one thing which can be considered as a starting point of Knowledge in institutions. This becomes more relevant in today’s scenario than ever before as the world as started to come to India to get its job done. This is a great chance for us to retrospect in a way we are used to i.e. if we are equipped we are facing a huge fortune in front of us, monetarily.

The Path ahead:

So it is clear that students have to go out of their regular academic path to have some kind of different exposure. The reality is much more complicated. The employers are facing shortage in QUALITY man power for their organization. Today’s employer does not see only the skills that would help him to get the job done, but also for the skills where the employee can add value; both to the customer and to the company. These things are increasing in essentially customer driven market times. There is huge possibility of innovation and growth is there, but one has to know the history to create future.

Innovation is nothing but improving the current scenario either cost wise or experience wise. These things are obviously not taught in any academic institutions; but unfortunately these are things which are the centre of success in today’s times. So students should get maximum out of the libraries both regular and digital as much as possible. They should always look to learn things and assimilate rather than collect information alone and misunderstand them as learning,


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