The point is to understand

“Any fool can know. The point is to understand.”
― Albert Einstein

I always thought that, at some point in my life, I’d be able to stop memorizing stuff that bore me to death… And, once, I thought university would be that ‘point’.

Then I realized that ‘learning’ nowadays is still based on the amount of ‘knowledge’ accumulated in your head. So you just got to keep ‘remembering’ what you ‘learned’… But what about character? And values? Aesthetics? Or critical thinking and creativity? It seems to me there are loads more that need to be learned but can’t be memorized. Yet, I don’t see the emphasis of them much in schools.

They say that ‘knowledge’ comes before the critical thinking. But I don’t think memorizing all sorts of theories is more important than having opinions about them. You can look up any theory on the Internet or in books and read for hours and still not be finished reading about it. There’s quite a load of information. And once you’re done reading it, what are you to remember? The name of the person who came up with the theory, or what the theory is about and what you think is good or bad about it?

To me, honestly, I think the former is quite unimportant. Though many would disagree with me, I find it much more efficient to take what you ‘want’ or ‘need’ from the knowledge or information, rather than remembering trivial info such as the name of the theory’s founder…

See, if I’m to be a teacher, wouldn’t it be useful enough for me to know how to use it in my teaching? I just need to understand what the theory is and how to put it into good use. The same goes for History. Do most of us really need to remember all those emperors of all the dynasties of China? Once you understood how we humankind got here, understood why life now is so different from the past, you don’t really need to remember details anymore. At least that’s how I feel. The point is to understand, and use all that you learned to create a better life, or even, a better world.


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2013/09/19 · 09:42