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LDRSHIP's avatar

What good is knowledge if it is not applied?

Asked by LDRSHIP (713 points ) December 4th, 2013

What use is it knowing things to extensive matter, if I can not influence, change, or if I even attempt to it wouldn’t?

Just seems like a waste. You could pass it down I suppose, but then you just have another person with information. Assuming they even care about it at all.

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33 Answers

YARNLADY's avatar

The brain works in mysterious ways, and knowledge creates pathways that could come in handy in unforseen circumstances.

stanleybmanly's avatar

List for yourself the benefits of ignorance

LDRSHIP's avatar

And taking no action with knowledge of something is what?

LornaLove's avatar

All knowledge is applied. It happens daily without us even knowing it. Our minds are like a complex interwoven quilt of frames of reference to which we refer to all the time.

Coloma's avatar

Knowing for the sake of knowing is called intellect. lol

There is a saying that “knowledge without application is useless” and that may be true for certain things, for instance, knowing that you are overweight and at risk of health problems but continuing to eat like a horse and not exercise. However, knowledge has nothing to do with human folly, plenty of highly intelligent alcoholics and drug addicts out there. It is still better to know the risks than to not know, even if ones choices are not reflective of their knowledge.

What about stored knowledge that was once applicable but no longer?
I am not pursuing certain longtime interests and certain vocations any more but doesn’t mean my knowledge is wasted, I can still share my knowledge/expertise with others.
If knowledge without application was truly useless then I guess knowing history, science or just about anything would be considered useless since you have never actually fired a canon, examined a bacteria under a microscope or put a radio collar on an Arctic Wolf.
Why bother knowing anything if you can’t actually find a practicing outlet for said knowledge?

That line of thinking is true ignorance! lol

Seek's avatar

Sometimes it’s really satisfying to get all the answers on Jeopardy.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

Better to have it and not need it than need it and not have it.

LDRSHIP's avatar

Hm this question did not go exactly in direction I thought it would. I should have been more specific in my details. However this is not a bad thing I like the answers so far. Some are a little vague though.

Guess relevance of the information to said person is important.

ETpro's avatar

Knowledge is the key to knowing how to do things, and solve problems. It’s like knowing how to swim. As long as you’re on dry land, it’s not of any immediate use, but if you fall overboard or get hit by a flood; it’s the difference between a good chance of living and certain death. And the more you know, the more you can imaging and invent. You aren’t likely to be an inventive person without a head crammed full of knowledge.

If LDRSHIP means leadership, and being a good leader is a goal of yours, you need a broad range of knowledge to know what is likely to be the outcome of each decision you make. As George Santayana said, “Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it. ... Those who fail to learn from the mistakes of their predecessors are destined to repeat them”

LDRSHIP's avatar

Well, I feel like for a lack of better words many people don’t give a shit. I hear so and so complaining about XY and Z yet, the information is out there or someone might explain it to them and it seems like they don’t care. I don’t get it. Which is in part what prompted me to want to ask the question and to pick at peoples minds on it.

It helps me obtain “useless knowledge” hehe.

emjay's avatar

My dad used to say, three things go hand in hand: wisdom, knowledge, and understanding. If you don’t have all three the other two are kind of useless. Wisdom is knowledge applied. Knowledge is an understanding of things, people, and what have you. Understanding is comprehension and compasion where needed.

I was little when he had this discussion with me, and I don’t think I’m quite doing it justice. But you get the idea. Knowledge is just a posession. Wisdom is understanding when and how to use that posession.

DWW25921's avatar

Knowledge is knowing what to say. Wisdom is knowing when to say it.

flutherother's avatar

“What is “uselessness”? In order to understand it, we must think about “usefulness” first. For example, the earth is limitless but the earth that human beings step on is but of the size of our feet. Hence we dig the surrounding ground and only leave out the ground underneath our feet. Is the ground underneath our feet to be considered “useful”? In sum, things that might seem to be “useless” are actually “useful.” Chuang Tzu

JimTurner's avatar

As long as a person is alive they may never know exactly what information that is stored in their memory will at some point come in handy.

I think we should try to learn all that we can.

LostInParadise's avatar

How do you define goodness? Is it good to know how to bake a pie? You might say that knowing these things leads to a pleasurable experience..

What if knowledge gives pleasure in and of itself, apart from any utility value? We are a species with enormous curiosity. I find pleasure in knowing, for example, that all matter is made up of some one hundred types of atom and that these atoms are made up of common types of components. It is highly unlikely that I will personally have cause for applying this knowledge, but I am glad that I have it.

elbanditoroso's avatar

@JimTurner has the right idea. You don’t know when you might need something you have learned. It might be never, it might be tomorrow, or it might be 40 years from now.

NOT knowing something, and needing to know it, is worse than having knowledge and never using it.

mattbrowne's avatar

It only seems a waste to totally uneducated ignorant small-minded people. The American Right is brimming with such people. They don’t deserve to use a computer. Who needs quantum mechanics?

Unapplied knowledge of the present and past is applied knowledge of the future.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

@mattbrowne Do get out of your circles much? Most of the highly educated, intelligent people I know are right leaning. Some of the smartest people I know are left leaners but the difference I have seen across the board is that the right leaners tend to be logical, technical and hard working. The left leaners tend to also be educated but more in the arts. They are almost universally more idealistic and more apt to agree with “the ends justify the means.” I have found left-leaners to be more lazy on average. Just my experience. I don’t like to hang around any of them. I’m a centrist and I have a hard time being around extremes. The point being, depending on where you live and who you hang around with one side of politics will appear dim to the other. Intelligence and education do not really correlate with political beliefs. The only correlation I have seen is that lefties gravitate to the arts and righties gravitate to science technology. The people we want running things are well rounded in all of these things and they don’t tow the party line.

Seek's avatar

@mattbrowne lives in Germany. The conservatives in Germany are lefter than our left.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

@Seek_Kolinahr AHHH, that explains it. Thanks.

mattbrowne's avatar

Well, here’s a little bit of logic from a left leaning computer scientist and science lover. From your observation ‘educated artists tend to left leaning’ (which I share) you can’t conclude ‘educated left leaning people tend to be artists’. This has nothing to do with Germany or the US.

ETpro's avatar

@ARE_you_kidding_me Are you kidding me? Here’s the curve of US political affiliation versus educational level. It must be you who doesn’t get out much. Why do you think GOPers spend so incredibly much money paying think tanks full of PhD’s to demonize the well educated?

mattbrowne's avatar

Plus, in which US states is scientific discovery and innovation most common? It’s those with a majority of Democrat voters.

YARNLADY's avatar

@mattbrowne You may have noticed I am arguing both sides of the fence in this question and the universe one.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

@ETpro What the hell does belief in human caused climate change have to do with intelligence, education level and political affiliation.

LostInParadise's avatar

Apparently not that much provided that you call it climate change and not global warming.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

@LostInParadise Absolutely, It’s ideology 100%.

ETpro's avatar

@ARE_you_kidding_me Again, I have to ask, “Are you kidding me?” You’re a troll, aren’t you?

I mean, you ask what it has to do with political affiliation in one breath and lambaste it as 100% ideology (in other words, entirely political) in the very next. Amazing.

Actually, the graph is accurate, and no amount of hand waving changes that. Your original premise that cons are smarter than libs is 100% false. You’ve produced no evidence to support your assertion. You’ve done nothing to refute the contrary evidence showing your assertion is false. This sort of attempt at a rebuttal is really nothing but proving the point.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

When did I say conservatives are smarter? You actually are the one trolling here and you know it.

ETpro's avatar

@ARE_you_kidding_me Here you wrote, ” Most of the highly educated, intelligent people I know are right leaning.”

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

@ETpro And also that the smartest people I know are left leaning. The hardware is generally the same upstairs. The ideology, type of education + life experiences and circle of friends are just different.

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