Learning Over Knowing

Our society has created this notion that we should know everything, and reprimands us when we don’t know everything. There is more emphasis put on knowing things than learning.

All around us, people expect that we know everything, and we expect others to know everything as well. We expect our leaders to know what’s best for us. We expect our teachers to have all the answers.  We expect our parents to know what to do in every possible situation. But the part that affects us the most, and that affects our own personal growth is the idea that we expect ourselves to know everything. I am sure that we have all been in those situations where we think to ourselves, “why didn’t I know that? I should have known that”. Society has created this expectation and this pressure that makes us blame ourselves for not knowing something. Why does this pressure exist? Why do we get reprimanded by society for not knowing? One could point to the idea of “cancel culture”, and although I do disagree with that concept, it’s the underlying idea that’s what I want to examine. The concept underlying cancel culture is the idea of being politically incorrect. If there is one thing that the millennial and Gen Z will be known for its our emphasis and significance that we put on being politically correct. Please do not take this as me saying we shouldn’t be politically correct; I do believe we should. But what I have a problem with is the thing behind it that says that if you say something politically incorrect then that’s it, you have been “excommunicated” from society. Truthfully, that is not the type of society I want to live in. If someone says something wrong (within reason and limits), why don’t we educate them instead? If I say or do something wrong I would rather someone tell me, help me understand and acknowledge what I did wrong and what can be done to fix it or what can I learn from it. But our society praises the fact that we know. We get this high from knowing more than other people and calling out those who don’t know. That is not healthy and nor is it how we should be continuing to live.

Essentially, we have developed a culture where you are expected to know everything. But how does one even come to know anything? We have to learn it. Not knowing has become synonymous with the idea that we are lazy, uneducated or simply don’t care, when in reality we just might not know. We do not need to have all the answers, we are not meant to have all the answers. Our lives are meant to be able learning and uncovering things and trying to understand what the heck is going on – we should not have to know everything from day one.

We need to change how society views the idea of learning, learning is about communication and re-adjusting what you thought was possible. Learning is about questioning, exploring and taking time with concepts and ideas. We can’t know everything, and we shouldn’t be shamed for not knowing everything. Its time that society changes how we react and act with people, we need to change the culture to one of learning and turn away from a culture of knowing. A culture of knowing only destroys great ideas and innovations, while a culture of learning can spark that. Life should be about learning, and society needs to one that emphasizes learning experiences rather than knowing everything.