By Khaled Hussein
“Belief is not the beginning but the end of all knowledge.” No one understood this better than the last great polymath, Johann Von Goethe. A man whose insatiable appetite for knowledge has advanced the literary, scientific, and political world beyond what most achieve. All this stems from a simple desire to just learn the truth. Knowledge is the art of knowing the facts through experience and study. It is an art because of the elegant way information flows to those who seek it. In Latin, the word knowledge translates to cognitionis, a word that sounds quite similar to cognizant, which means to be aware. You might ask how does one begin to become aware? Through my experience, it was realizing that I knew nothing, a lesson in which Socrates was an avid teacher. Unfortunately, this will always be true.
Soon one realizes that the more knowledge acquired means the less you truly know. This is due to the bigger world of information you create for yourself. It seems to be a curse that plagues those who free themselves from ignorance. Thomas Grey hit the mark when he said, "Ignorance is bliss." Nothing rings truer than this statement. You must know that before embarking on the journey of knowledge that pain follows. The increased knowledge will have you question all that makes up your life, such as religion, tradition, responsibilities, and actions just to name a few. It is a sacrifice that you can only make for yourself.
Even though I spend many nights tossing and turning due to to the ineffable questions provoking my mind, I still pursue knowledge. It is a choice to begin being cognizant but an obligation once it starts. The best way to learn is by reading and experiencing life. Books are the foundation and the best place to start acquiring knowledge. However, you must not only obtain information but also use it for a purpose. Otherwise, what's the point? Experience is the platform that allows us to examine, critique, and learn from things that have personally happened. The old are typically thought of as being wise because of their experience. Yet, it isn't the ticking of the clock that makes them wiser but the choices they make as time goes on. It is the reflection and critical thinking that sparks the learning process. Inevitably this would lead to new knowledge as each one of us are unique with specific experiences.
Today when I think of knowledge I envision a flaming sword, burning steel that melts the ice it strikes. It removes the unsound fallacies pervading the minds within humanity. To me, knowledge is the grandest of beauties and the fiercest of warriors. With knowledge comes freedom and with this follows the opportunity for power. Gaius Julius Caesar used his knowledge to influence the Roman Empire as William Shakespeare used it to transform literature. There is power in knowing that can be used to impact a lot of things ranging from your own life to that of others. Knowledge is important not just for oneself but for humanity to prosper. No great inventions or ideas have been made without knowledge because it’s a major staple of advancement. With knowledge comes a plethora of awakenings. You awaken from the nightmare of blindly following and the state of ignorance. However, you not only awaken but rise and soar to be as you wish to be.
Nonetheless, all questions have answers. But the knowledgeable person doesn't pretend to know them. So, what do you know?