Useless Knowledge (Thoreau and Newman)

Essay by adammills1 November 2004

download word file, 4 pages 0.0

Downloaded 26 times

Knowledge, according to the Webster's New Universal Unabridged Dictionary is defined as "A clear and certain perception of something; the act, fact, or state of knowing; understanding." Knowledge is something everyone possesses, granted some have more knowledge than others and it forms itself in many different ways however nonetheless, everyone has some sort of knowledge. Knowledge is something people use in everyday life from waking up and getting ready for the day to taking a test or completing daily duties in the office. However, everything people have once learned may not be used in everyday life, therefore is it fair to say that useless knowledge exists? After reading a couple of pieces from two remarkable philosophers, one being Henry David Thoreau in "Walking" and the other being John Henry Newman in "The Uses of Knowledge" I believe that useless knowledge exists in the world. While Thoreau illustrates his ideas to the reader through images of nature and our surroundings in life, Newman illustrates his perspectives in a lecture format.

Through their works, both authors think of knowledge as a rather useless and irrelevant asset in order to succeed in life, which supports the argument that humans learn as they grow and interact, more so than when they sit behind a desk for nine months out of the year while being lectured to in what seems like a foreign language.

How many students at Saint Mary's College would really take seminar class if it wasn't forced upon them in order to graduate? The answer is obvious, and the fact is that not many students if any at all would take the class. However, this seems awkward since many studies from the college show that seniors who have graduated in years past loved seminar and have labeled it as their...