The Dangers Of Half Knowledge


By: Mr.Atul Sehgal (LTSL)

In the inspirational story Old Turtle And The Broken Truth, by Douglas Wood, all of Earth and the living beings in it are suffering because people refuse to share their particular truth which gives them happiness and power. The Little Girl, determined to heal the World, seeks the wisdom of the ancient Old Turtle, who perceives that the Truth of each one is not complete, but exists in pieces. The Turtle shows the girl the missing parts, who gathers it up and returns with it to her people, who put together all the pieces and the broken Truth is made whole again.

Half knowledge is the bane of modern times.

Simply a knowledge of tools and techniques to accomplish a task  only covers its mechanical or physical aspects. The knowledge of the sublime purpose behind the task is what provides motivation and zeal, which generate passion in the performance that determines quality and timeliness. This knowledge requires both a material and spiritual angle. How many of us are fully equipped with both?

In today’s life, nothing is more detrimental than half-baked knowledge, ill-conceived ideas, shallow understanding, ill-founded concepts and unsubstantiated ideas emanating from rumours and hearsay. Conceit only exacerbates the problem. With negative emotional elements like anger and vanity overwhelming the mind, understanding is blurred and wrong knowledge deceptively appears to be right—a situation in which man proceeds towards disaster without being aware of it. Thus progress is arrested and stagnation or regression takes effect.

Using half knowledge is like swallowing poison pills for medicines or spending extravagantly to build a superstructure on weak foundations. It takes you to the mouth of hell, in the illusion that you are walking towards the gates of heaven.

The Yajurveda emphasizes that only pure and complete knowledge can help in establishing peace, harmony and stability that form the foundation tripod of true progress. Knowledge exists like the ubiquitous air or sunlight; it is the core emancipator from all misery and the vehicle of material and spiritual progress.

Human institutions have become complex and face an information blitzkrieg, making people more confused on decisions. The scattered floating pieces of information, often incoherent and incongruent, exacerbate problems. Man has to revive his basic understanding that only God is omniscient. Thereby, he will be realistic about the limitations of his knowledge and will take more rational decisions. His actions will be more focused and pragmatic and hence more conducive to success.