June 26, 2012

tuesday. knowledge

we place so much importance on knowledge that is essentially useless to us in life. i have never travelled to the capital of Japan, and nor do i plan to in the near future. if i was to, however, i would learn the city's name. if i have not yet experienced something, how am i expected to be an expert on it already? Why should i learn another language, if i have no intention of living or visiting the country at this stage in my life? i should learn another language after deciding i want to visit there. that only seems logical and necessary. what?

can you imagine in the days before the internet and tertiary education. before education was more than life skills. would people have known all these general knowledge tidbits and random facts that we are now so focused upon mastering? they would spend their lives mastering skills and knowledge that is essential to their living. learning how to plough a field, learning how to fish for food. not learning the names and initialisms for chemicals. what use is that to them?

on the other hand, teaching kids about ancient egypt is not just aimed at filling them with knowledge that is no longer relevant to their survival in the world - it also teaches them how to learn. how to think. how to collaborate and be a part of a society that believes in something - a society that believes in knowledge and the right to attain as much of it as possible - even though only a tiny amount of it is actually essential to your being in this world. right now.

i have never travelled to the capital of Japan, and nor do i plan to in the near future. so... how and why do i know it's Tokyo?