A little bit of knowledge

The world needs knowledge nutritionists. ✎ By Wayne K. Spear

A little bit of knowledge can be a dangerous thing. Ignorance is blissful—a clean slate, not blemished by troubling facts.

From uninformed to mis-informed to ill-informed: junk knowledge, like junk food, can fill you without nourishing you.

Here is an experiment:

Read five books on any subject. Discuss the subject with the people you meet. What do you notice?

Chances are that most of the people you meet will not have read even one book on your subject.

It only takes a few months, at most, to read five books. And yet, to most people you will be an expert in your topic, simply because you have read five books.

Who truly knows what went wrong in Syria, or if and how it could have been prevented? Many people blame Israel and “the Jews” for the miseries of war in the Middle East and the Levant. Others blame America and the CIA. Still others blame capitalism, the oil companies, and corporations.

Junk food, junk knowledge. Both are cheap and abundant. “Send the Muslim refugees to Muslim countries,” some say of the Kobani Kurds.

Who are the Kurds? Christians, Sunnis, atheists, secularists. Or none of the above. They are human beings, diverse and complex.

The Kurds are a persecuted, stateless people, over 30-million strong and spread across Turkey, Iran, Iraq, Syria, Armenia, and Azerbaijan. There are millions of Kurds, but (for a number of ugly political and historical reasons) no Kurdistan.

On whatever topic you pick, you can become an expert, relative to 90% of the world, by reading five books, perhaps even one.

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