What is The Point of Learning Anyway?

Vishal Kataria
Jan 30 · 5 min read

The greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance, it’s the illusion of knowledge. — Stephen Hawking

I was explaining an interesting concept to a friend. When I dived deeper into the subject, he stopped me.

The Effects of Pseudo-Intelligence

Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge. — Charles Darwin

When we possess little knowledge (just enough for it to become dangerous), we overestimate our understanding of the domain.

Our settled impulse is to blame anyone who lays our blind spots and insufficiencies bare, unless our defenses have first been adroitly and seductively appeased. In the face of critically important insights, we get distracted, proud, or fidgety. We may prefer to do almost anything other than take in information that could save us. — Alain de Botton

This behaviour makes us unwittingly cause harm to ourselves and others in the following ways.

#1. We Harm Ourselves

“A wealth of information creates a poverty of attention.” — Herbert Simon

The more information we try to shove into our minds, the shorter our attention span gets. We also do things against our own good judgment in our craving for constant external validation.

#2. We Harm Others

Our understanding shapes our beliefs which in turn, shapes our behaviour.

“We all suffer severely enough from the maintenance and false beliefs and the fatally wrong actions which they lead to.” — William Kingdon Clifford, 19th Century Philosopher

Some effects are seemingly (but not really) harmless. Like trolling or calling people who don’t agree with us “idiots.”

#3. We Reduce the Collective Intelligence Pool

If there ever was a time when critical thinking was the need of the hour and credulity a calamitous sin, it is now. — Francisco Mejia Uribe

According to Clifford, our weakly-formed, strongly-held beliefs pollute the well of collective intelligence.

The Real Reason to Learn

“You can see how mastery over a few things makes it possible to live an abundant and devout life.” — Marcus Aurelius

The true purpose of learning is to lead a fulfilling life, one where we pursue our ikigai.

Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication. — Leonardo da Vinci

Second, putting out your work and collecting feedback helps you improve your work and keeps you motivated. (Nothing is as motivating as self-improvement.)


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Vishal Kataria

Written by

Content Marketer | Productivity Geek | Find me here: https://content-sutra.com

The Startup

Medium's largest active publication, followed by +582K people. Follow to join our community.

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