For years I have spoken of what I call ‘cheap knowledge’. It is very rampant and widespread nowadays. I first began to notice it while talking with people. Often, these were people who were ‘knowledgeable’ and may of been to the University and such. I noticed a certain way people spoke which revealed a certain quality that they had.
In general, ‘cheap knowledge’ is a knowledge that one does not work for. A person did not really ‘earn’ it.
Interestingly, going to school is seldom enough to ‘earn’ the knowledge. In fact, schools, colleges, and universities are where it runs quite rampant and widespread I’ve found. The ‘work’ that people put forth to get a degree is, apparently, not the ‘work’ I speak of.
It’s also seen a lot with everyday people too. Here, it seems to be a result of all the information that’s flying about. I speak a lot of what I call ‘being spoon fed knowledge’. By this I mean that people listen to a documentary, the news, take a class, or read a book and they ‘know’ it. In reality, they are only being spoon fed it, like a baby in a high chair. Like a baby they have to be placed in a position so they will be fed and often have to be ‘coaxed’ into taking it in (some more than others). In reality, making knowledge so people will learn it easier is like ‘sugar coating a pill’, so it will go down easier. In some respects, it makes it all the more cheaper.
In addition, a lot of ‘learning’ nowadays is nothing but repeating what you’re told or even demonstrating a skill you’ve been shown. In effect, a lot of learning is ‘monkey see, monkey do’, though I know many people who would deny that.
Because knowledge is not ‘earned’ it is not spoken of with any ‘heart’ or conviction. It’s often treated like ‘another thing’, ‘another idea’, or what have you. In short, its treated like a triviality in life. That’s why its so cheap.
The ‘work’ I speak of, the way to ‘earn’ it I mean, is a giving up of oneself for knowledge. This makes this a deeply interior and personal thing. This shows that knowledge must be taken seriously with deep conviction. For many people, all knowledge is for is to get ahead or make money. It’s a tool for something else. In so doing, it makes knowledge ‘cheap’, for it seems to me that a true knowledge is something you believe and have conviction in , not a ‘tool’ for you to use.
It’s for this reason I always spoke of ‘real knowledge’ (which a person must ‘earn’) and ‘trade knowledge’ (which is knowledge as a ‘tool’). Sadly, nowadays what was once ‘real knowledge’, held with conviction, is turning into a form of ‘trade knowledge’. This shows a general deteriation in knowledge nowadays, in my opinion.
What this reveals is that ‘real knowledge’ is not a question of knowing but how and why you know. Practically anyone can learn anything nowadays . . . take a class! But that usually becomes a form of ‘trade knowledge’, held without conviction. In that case, all you’re really learning is ‘cheap knowledge’.
To me, ‘real knowledge’ creates an inner transformation of oneself. That is to say, it changes a person. In some sense, a person becomes the knowledge. It becomes an extension of themselves, like a persons hand. In ‘cheap knowledge’ it is like jewelry, something to adorn yourself with. It’s just display. I’ve found that, for most people, that’s all knowledge is. Very seldom do I see knowledge as an inner transformation or held with any deep meaning.