Monday, December 22, 2014

Jaipur Literature Festival - Part 10 - Knowledge is Free and Abundant, Wisdom takes Effort and Time

Information is just content. Knowledge is when you attach emotional and subjective meaning to that content. Knowledge is when you understand the content from your perspective, from the perspective of your life. Wisdom is when you apply that knowledge in the real world through an enterprise, creative piece of work or more.

Cycle Rickshaw Person in Jaipur

At the end of the fourth day of the Jaipur International Literature Festival 2014, I sat in a cycle rickshaw to go back to my hotel. I got into a conversation with the man that was riding the cycle. He asked me if I was here for the Jaipur Literature Festival. I replied positively. He then told me this,

‘That is the big people’s festival. All educated people must have come for it.’

I was taken aback when he said this, because the Jaipur Literature Festival was a free and open festival and anybody could attend it. Your economic background did not matter at all. Then why did he think it was only for the educated people.

I wish I could tell him that it was not like that. Everyone had the right to learn, we just have to understand how to do it. Knowledge is free and abundant. Wisdom takes effort and time. And if you are ready to put in the effort, you can convert information to knowledge to wisdom in a field of your choice.

How do we give the masses access to a world class education?

Every individual has the right to learn, no matter what background he or she comes from. You do not always have to get this information from a brick and mortar institute. With the advent of the Internet, high quality learning resources were available to everyone. In short, information is available to everyone. Information is free. Converting it into Knowledge and Wisdom takes money and that money is your time.
Some ideas in this regard:-

You can attend local events like lectures and conference to supplement the learning that you would have got at an institute. You can form a learning group of other like minded people and meet up once a week and this can become your dream classroom.

You can equip yourself with certain basic skills

  1. understanding of a language (English) in which a majority of the world content is published
  2. an ability to navigate the internet effectively.

With a minimal investment, you could have access to the sum of human knowledge through the internet archives, wiki’s and the google search function. How do we communicate the benefits of internet to the masses? How do we give more people access to the power of the web? It would not be very hard, for the cycle –rickshaw driver to get access to the same world class learning resources (books, lectures, films, conferences online) that any other student in a top university received.

There was no difference at all between the individual that was riding that rickshaw and an individual that was part of the Literature Festival.

Who is wise? Who gets to define this?

Is a student from Harvard wise? Was the cycle rickshaw puller wise?

What ultimately differentiated the two was if they understood and applied the process of converting information to knowledge to wisdom.

You do not have to always learn this from an educational institute, you can learn it from life to. And the individual on the cycle rickshaw that night, had lots of life experience. For me he was wise, he just did not know it yet.

Let us Learn Together
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