Essay on The evils of half- knowledge



Both Thomas Arnold and his son Mathew Arnold were great educationists. All through his life, Mathew Arnold carried on a tireless crusade against the tendency on the part of men to be satisfied with knowing little. “A little learning” is not only dangerous in itself but may become more in the modern scientific era. The man who picks up a smattering or shallow knowledge in medicines and poses as a physician becomes a dangerous quack,- and enemy of the society, so it is in all walks of life. Imperfect knowledge is the source of blunders and mistakes and might easily lead to disaster. Such a man should learn first to be properly trained.

Perhaps the greatest evil of half-knowledge is that it makes a man proud dogmatic. An empty vessel sounds much, and an empty-brained fool is not ashamed to beat his own drum. He is always advertising the little that he knows as if he is an oracle. Unsuspecting people often are taken in by their commonplace utterance and platitudes and quotations of other people’s words as very learned.

Today it would be impossible for any man to know everything of a thing. Imperfect or incomplete knowledge seems to be due to the necessity or circumstances. So superficial but tall- talking men now abound in the society: errors like straw on the surface flow. But he who really wants to know, must dive below.

Vanity is nowhere so dangerous as in the filed of knowledge. Often when a serious case is perplexing the most experienced doctors, they should hold consultation, avoiding ego.

We must acquire the habit referring all our difficulties to persons who are competent to deal with them applying their expertise. The reign of amateurs must submit themselves to the really knowledgeable and the Government must rely more and more on the advice of experts in the different departments of public life. Sir Bronjendranath Seal, who in his days was regarded as walking encyclopedia, made recommendation to the Maharaja of Mysore,-that every department of the State must be assisted by small committees of experts. It is a recommendation worth pondering.