GRE Issue Essay 8
What most human beings really want to attain is not knowledge, but certainty. Gaining real knowledge requires taking risks and keeping the mind open-but most people prefer to be reassured rather than to learn the complex and often unsettling truth about anything.
Everybody wants reassurance and certainty in life but it is wrong to say that most human beings do not want knowledge. It is true that gaining knowledge requires taking risks and keeping the mind open but at the same time, it leads to development and progress. If every person will think on the lines of the author, then there will be no new developments and inventions. The people who do not want to acquire knowledge also face risks in their lives. In fact, risks and uncertainty will be there, even if a human being does not learn new things. Risks cannot be avoided in one’s life. However, it is also true that knowledge is about learning something complex. It often opens up more questions than the solutions.
Medical professionals, lawyers, and business people have to deal with risks and uncertainties. If a doctor will think about the risk factor, he will not be able to treat his patients. Knowledge also brings reassurance. By acquiring knowledge about our universe, environment, and weather, we can have forecasts of rain, thunder, and earthquakes etc. It prepares people for unwanted weather disturbances. If a natural disaster is known to occur then the government can plan to handle it in advance. It has some adverse effects also. Knowledge of the universe has helped us to understand our place in the universe but also added another mystery to what existed before time and the universe.
It is true that some systems are very complex to understand and add mystery but still they are interesting and do attract people to research on them. Sometimes the outcomes of these researches are very productive. For example, knowledge of SONAR, bats navigate by sonar. The study that bats can determine how far away prey or other objects are, by using SONAR, is very interesting. This knowledge of sonar illustrates the complexity of minds. Human beings have used the knowledge of SONAR. Knowledge, risk, and uncertainty are the foundations for new inventions and progress.
If a person is assured and satisfied with his life, then there is very little scope for his growth. Our ancestors used to think about matter in very simple terms- ancient philosophers had simple theories about the composition of matter such as matter being composed of fire, water, air, and earth, but advanced technology has given us a more precise view of matter. Now, we have accurate understanding of matter. We can explain chemical reactions. New atomic theory has given birth to quantum and wave theories. However, each new discovery is also adding complexity to the structure of matter.
Hence, the conclusion is that though human beings want reassurance and certainty in their lives, they do require knowledge also. They want to learn about new and complex things whether it involves taking risks. It gives them thrill also and helps them to grow. Moreover, real knowledge also helps in making our lives more comfortable. Therefore, though knowledge is complex and sometimes unsettling, still it is essential for the mankind.