Monday, May 30, 2011

Building and Maintaining Knowledge & Understanding

After I watched  Carl Sagan: The Frailty of Knowledge [Carl Sagan Tribute Series, Part 13] recently, it really brought home how valuable it is to, not only, retain the knowledge that we've acquired to pass on to future generations, but also, to ensure that its destruction is something that is never an option. The possibility that future generations won't have available to them what has already been discovered is frightening to me, as well as, the prospect that some believe denying it intentionally is important; that is even more frightening.

Knowledge and the understanding of our world is important because it helps the people within our societies continue to discover new things and for the betterment of our society, as a whole. It enables us to connect with the world and the people around us. It helps us to solve problems to the benefit of ourselves and others. Greater understanding makes us a better people.

Take knowledge and understanding away or a previous foundation of knowledge on which to build to get to the next level and it will hinder the ability to do so! It's as simple as that. Understanding of something helps us to go to the next point and the next point and the next point.

If the foundation of what we have learned is taken away, we must then start all over again. How much further could we possibly have been had ignorance and power not decided the next course in the video above? Religion was afraid of the people thinking for themselves, the powerful who directed the religion destroyed the knowledge to maintain control over the people. Foolish, sad, backwards and something that is happening in our country as well.

As one example in our current history, look at the battles we're having over what should be in our history books. Another example is saying that Creationism should be taught in schools as science! When we go down that path the religious right wants to take us, we change what is taught and ensure the up and coming children 'lose' their foundation of understanding. It's no different than what happened in Alexandria. This current nip and tuck of select items forever changes their perception of their past and what their future is based on.

Hypatia, in the video above, was an important figure in our history. Her memory and her sacrifice should be honored by our continued thirst for knowledge and understanding, and its preservation for future generations should be guarded well.

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