I love: knowledge.
We learn when we read, and when we write. I’m not talking about research—that’s for another post, but about ourselves. The books a person chooses tell you a lot about him/her. If you were to look in my library, what would you see?
You would find:
- Horror fiction
- Classic fiction
- Children’s fiction
- Mainstream fiction, mostly thrillers
- Dollhouse and crafts books
- True crime and forensic books
- Books about writing and editing
- Miscellaneous books—humor, decorating, gardening, household
- College textbooks
What do all these books tell you about me? If I got amnesia and walked into my house, not knowing it belonged to me, I would think the person 1) loved to read, 2) was interested in a lot of different subjects, and 3) enjoyed making things, like food and dollhouses.
I learn about myself from the books I love the most. For example, I just finished looking through all my dollhouse books for the umpteenth time, while I plan a revival of my dormant Sweeney Todd miniature project.
There are several that detail the history of dollhouses, but the ones I’m drawn to now are instructional. This indicates several things:
- I need external sources of inspiration.
- I like to read instructions, but that doesn’t necessarily mean I will follow them to the letter.
- I want to know as much as I can about a subject (or project) before I tackle it.
Having knowledge about myself means I can plan my writing projects better. I have knowledge about how I work. Less time is wasted dabbling in new methods. I don’t run around trying to gather material at odd times (unless I run into a snag).
I hate: the suppression of knowledge.
Knowledge also gives us power. Yes, this is a cliché, but it’s true. When we know the truth about the world around us, we are better able to choose the direction of our future. We can take decisive steps to change things.
We also lose our fear. So much of prejudice comes from a lack of knowledge. Sometimes it’s deliberate, as when people refuse to learn new information about something they’ve been taught is a certain way. They’re too proud and too stubborn to ever see another side. This ignorance hurts people, and stifles knowledge.
Countries that censor the press or Internet or communities that suppress the teaching of established scientific knowledge in their schools cause harm. They are actually engaging in intellectual abuse. Why should people not be allowed to seek and know for themselves?
Control, that’s why.
Some people are so afraid of losing control that they manufacture reasons why others should not gain knowledge that makes them independent. Governments oppress people by controlling the amount and type of information they receive.
Religious leaders seek to retain control of their flocks by isolating them intellectually. God forbid they should learn that LGTB people are the same as everyone else. Bigots are afraid and persecute people they don’t like because of race, ethnicity, and other petty criteria so they themselves will feel powerful.
These people not only repress knowledge, they refuse to seek it for themselves. They know deep down that if they learn, they’ll have to admit they were wrong. And they can’t stand being wrong.
They are also afraid of change. But life is not static; our knowledge doesn’t stay the same. Everyone is learning and growing, and so are humans as a whole. If we never changed, we would not have the comforts and conveniences we have now. We wouldn’t know how to cure diseases or treat wounds.
Open the doors and let knowledge in. Go out today and learn one new thing. Just one. If you do this every day, you’ll be astonished at how much you’ve been missing about the world. You may discover something no one else has ever known.