Knowledge is Power Only When You Can Use It

Thought and Knowledge“… knowledge is powerful only when it is applied appropriately, and thought is powerful only when it can utilize a large and accurate base of knowledge.”

Diane Halpern, in her book Thought and Knowledge, strikes upon a notion also present in Isaac Newtons famous quote—”If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.”

Application is a long step up from the basic process of rote memorization, yet it is repetition that often stands out in our characterization of studying.

“Knowledge is not something static that gets transferred from one person to another like pouring water from one glass to another. It is dynamic. Information becomes knowledge when we make our own meaning out of it.”

Learning is something personal, knowledge is unique. While we all spend much of time consuming similar facts and ideas, our interpretations and mental representations of this are distinct.

This raises important questions regarding how we teach, but there is also the modern problem of information overload. How can we sort fact from fiction when misinformation abounds? How do we separate necessary information from superfluous, lest we not spend 15 hours a day glued to a screen? This is not lost on Halpern:

“You are privy to staggering quantities of information. Increasingly, we need to know how to find the information we need in a world overloaded with information, decide what to eliminate, and judge which information is useful and good.”

Critical thinking is a must for any modern human being, which is the skill Halpern wants to impart on her readers. Thought and Knowledge: An Introduction to Critical Thinking is available on Amazon.