In today's society, information is available to us at every turn, whether it's by using our smart phones or simply typing our questions into the numerous search engines that are available. While these amazing resources that have been afforded us are extremely useful, they oftentimes limit our actual educational stimulation. With the convenience of having an answer to nearly any question with a simple few swipes of your finger or clicks of a mouse, we have become so reliant upon these external sources that we aren't truly learning the information for ourselves. As novelist Anatole France so beautifully wrote: “An education isn't how much you have committed to memory, or even how much you know. It's being able to differentiate between what you do know and what you don't.”
There is no doubt that these resources are incredibly useful. For the true knowledge seeker, a few hours spent typing in question after question on any internet search engine can provide to be quite worthwhile. However, how many of us use these devices simply as methods of convenience, rather than actual mental stimulation? In order to occupy our full mental capacity and truly learn more than just the cursory glance that will be forgotten on a whim, we must be fully invested in the pursuit of knowledge.
In order to fully grasp the concept of searching out intelligence, we must first admit that we don't know nearly as much as we think we do. We must stop relying upon our dear friend Google to answer our questions for us, and accept that a simple “I don't know” will usually suffice. It is within the human nature to have faults, and if we can respect the fact that we are not omniscient creatures, we can then become the scholars we hope to become. By first recognizing the difference between what we know and what we hope to know, we then become more susceptible to what we are able to learn.
It is in the practice of gaining knowledge that we become better suited to be more effective inhabitants of this earth. It is the true addition of intelligence that gives us the power to further understand not only ourselves, but the world around us. When we more fully appreciate the opportunities that have been provided to us, we have taken the first step toward true learning. As Russian playwright Anton Chekhov said, “Knowledge is of no value unless you put it into practice.” May we all take those words to heart and put into practice the things we know, and who knows – perhaps we will find that we actually do know more than we let ourselves believe.