Information Is Not Knowledge

By Mary Leppert and Michael Leppert

www.homeschoolalmanac.com 

Most of us would agree, “Knowledge is power.” However, over the past 40 years the words “knowledge” and “education” (meaning “school”) have been confusedly melded. This is how we have arrived at the deplorable condition of having illiterate high school graduates (all well “schooled”) and major universities offering remedial math and English courses to incoming freshman!

Recently yet another confusion of terms has arisen that is significant – especially to parents who teach their own children and are typically very aware of world events — the confusion between “information” and “knowledge.” Being informed of something does not mean you significantly know about it. With the explosion of “talk radio” and the Internet, information has become a constant stream of apparently significant stuff, but upon close analysis, you realize this “white noise” it is mostly not useful . . . and may even be harmful.

I, Mary, think that this information barrage is like an umbrella, always overshadowing all of our lives. As naïve as it sounds, whatever happened to “trusting” our politicians to do their jobs, so we can go about living our lives? Or keeping actors’ lives (and sins) in perspective (irrelevant) – rather than as front-page news day in and out? What ever happened to taking walks, reading books, enjoying life, instead of being so stressed out that we can barely concentrate on these truly important things?

I, Michael, was very much a fan of this “being informed” and our son, Lennon, and I would listen to political radio  and T.V. together often — Rush Limbau, John and Ken, CNN, Fox News; up to a point it provided a very good civics lesson for him, but now our capacity for Apparently Useful Information has been maxed out. There is always going to be some major social or political problem facing us. For someone who thinks that these problems actually have a resolution, the barrage of troubles and woes becomes very depressing — and quickly counterproductive, with all of life seeming to be a problem-solving job . . . a hamster-wheel of one crisis after another.

We need to be judicious in our definition of “knowledge” – not only in the electronic information realm, but in all aspects of Life. If we truly value our precious minds and time, every bit of information that enters our consciousness matters, for it becomes a part of the “tomorrow” us, just as surely as food becomes part of our “tomorrow” bodies. As homeschoolers we are well able to control what goes into our minds – and those of our children. We can filter and tune out this information glut and choose to keep or remove from our lives T.V., talk radio, magazines, Internet news . . . you name it. We can sit at night and read “Hamlet” aloud for after-dinner entertainment . . . or bake a pie or work in the garden or just be! MjL & MBL

Author: Michael Leppert

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