Does Knowledge Have Inherent Value?

Knowing information can help in a variety of different ways. But does learning have value, even if you don’t use that knowledge in any way?

Kids attend school in their formative years, because learning is key to success. (Some kids don’t thrive in a formal learning situation, but that’s not important for this discussion.)

How is learning important?

For one, you have greater control over your situation. Knowledge helps you make better decisions, because you know more about how things work together, and how they fit into the world.

It also helps to not have to reinvent the wheel. There have been billions of people who have walked the earth before us, and in many cases, their knowledge is passed along to us. We can learn from their mistakes; no need to make them ourselves.

And learning can be fun. Experiencing an ‘Aha!’ moment when things click into place and you understand something for the first time feels good. Our brains evolved to solve problems, so using our big brains for their intended purpose feels right.

But what happens if you strip all that away?

A common complaint heard by teachers is “When am I going to use this?” And certainly, it is hard to accurately predict when something you learn might come in handy. You might very well be surprised at how often you call upon something seemingly unrelated in your life.

But what if it never comes? If you learn something that you cannot use in any way, is it still valuable? Or does knowledge only have meaning and utility in the way that it is applied?

Related questions: How do you learn? What’s the most useful thing you’ve ever learned? Why are we fascinated with the unknown? How do we know what we don’t know?

Input Or Output?

In any system, you have the raw materials that go in (input), and the finished product that comes out (output). Is one preferable to the other? Is one more important?

Share why if you wish.

Input Or Output?

Do You Consider Yourself A Happy Person?

Everyone is happy some of the time, and unhappy other times. On the whole, though, do you consider yourself to be a happy person?

How can you tell? It is tempting to simply count the number of times you are happy. If you are happy more often than not, you are a happy person.

But that can miss an important nuance: you may consider yourself to be a happy person, even if you are unhappy more than fifty percent of the time. Similarly, you might consider yourself to be an unhappy person, even if the happy times make up a majority.

And, of course, how you see yourself is not how others see you. You might consider yourself to be happy, but someone else might see you as unhappy, or vice versa. How important is how others see you, versus how you see yourself?

In addition, it’s not obvious that happiness should be the goal. There are many traits you might strive to have: to be kind, generous, thoughtful, helpful, and so on. Happiness may very well be an unintended (or intended) consequence of some of these.

Goal or not, you probably have a sense of your own happiness. Do you consider yourself a happy person? If you think about your day-to-day (or even hour-to-hour) life, is the answer still the same? And if you are an unhappy person, how might you bring a little more happiness into your life?

Related questions: Is happiness the most important purpose in life? Why don’t you know what makes you happy? What makes you the happiest? Why do we put up with unhappiness?