GRE Issue Essay 165

“In any academic area or professional field, it is just as important to recognize the limits of our knowledge and understanding as it is to acquire new facts and information.”

It has been said time and again that the more knowledge you acquire, the more learned you will become. However, one needs to ponder over the fact that he will not be able to absorb the additional information if he does not have the capability to understand whatever knowledge he has acquired. Before setting out to explore new avenues in the field of knowledge, it is imperative that one is aware of the limits of one’s own understanding capabilities. Everyone does not have the same intelligence level. Therefore, rather than emulating others, it is always a better option to give equal importance to your own level of understanding as that given to acquiring new facts and information.

There are people who have exceptionally good memory while there may be others who grasp complex mathematical formulae easily enough. These people may be interested in carrying out higher research in the field of mathematics. Can another person who had to literally cram mathematical formulae to clear his tests, successfully emulate these people who have a much better understanding of the nuances of mathematics. It is absolutely essential for you to recognize your limits of understanding before venturing to acquire new facts and knowledge. You will not be able to gain anything by amassing the new information as you would be incapable of absorbing and utilizing the same. Is it beneficial for someone who does not have an understanding of communication technology to spend time in gathering information about wireless technology? He will not be able to do anything with the newly acquired knowledge as he would be clueless about the basic knowledge that is required for a deep understanding of the new found information.

Take the example of a doctor who is interested in carrying out his post-graduate studies in subjects related to heart surgery. Can he take this decision without assessing his competence in the subject areas related to heart surgery? It is likely that he has limitations that would prevent him from becoming a successful heart specialist. Therefore, it would be in his interest to spend time in analyzing the limits of his knowledge and understanding and proceed to undergo his Masters in heart surgery only if he is confident of the level of his understanding. Failure on his part to analyze his limits would lead to a scenario wherein he rushes to enroll himself in the program of study, only to find that he has not been able to complete it successfully.

One cannot deny the importance of acquiring new facts and information either pertaining to your field of interest or to any other field. It is always beneficial to know as much as you can as this not only helps you progress in your career, but it also serves the purpose of preparing you for life in a better way as you would be well informed. However, the decision to keep acquiring new information without assessing your limits in understanding this new information will always be questionable.

One can never put newly acquired facts and information to good use if he does not have an understanding of the same. Can a painter utilize software for making digital paintings if he does not have an understanding of the basic computer controls? Can a person think of learning how to drive a truck if he could never pass the driving test for car driving? Common sense tells us that it is absolutely essential that one pays due importance to knowing his limits with respect to knowledge and understanding. If not more, this importance should be at least of the same level that is attached to acquiring new facts and information.