“Without application in the world, the value of knowledge is greatly diminished”
This prompt wants students to think about how we establish the importance of application in knowledge, which in another word it means whether or not it is true that we should measure the value of knowledge by looking at how often it would be applied in real life situation. Generally speaking, the value of knowledge depends on the importance of the knowledge, the process of how people discover and understand the knowledge, and how useful the knowledge is. For personal knowledge, it is different for each person. Application is the action of putting something on operation, or putting theoretical things on physical use.
I personally agree with this prompt, and this can be explained in two AOKs: Mathematics and Arts, because these two AOKs are basically involved in every person’s life, especially for me. Choosing two most familiar AOKs to talk about this title will help me understand this title more easily and profoundly. In the following substance, I will talk about application of knowledge in two AOKs that I chose from both personal and shared aspects. Math and Arts are very different not only one is more rational and another is more perceptual, but because their values are shown in different ways. For example, Math has more practical value than Arts does, and Arts has more aesthetic value than Math does. I will talk about this specifically in the following paragraphs.
To start with, I would like to talk about Math in aspect of personal knowledge. Math is one of the required courses from all the elementary schools to all the secondary schools. Therefore, Math must have its own value worth everyone to learn. For instance, if I want to be an architect in the future, I will need trigonometry to calculate some of the physics problems when I design the building. Math thus will be a very important concept I need to know, and its value is greatly increased personally since it has a frequent application in my daily life. Trigonometry may not be known and used by everyone, but the basic calculations of numbers like addition and subtraction are commonly known by people. Therefore, Math also has value in aspect of shared knowledge. For example, when people buy something from the store, both customers and cashiers need to addition and subtraction to calculate the sum of money cost. If they do not have this shared knowledge, then there will occur conflict between them about how much of money should be charged. Consequently, it is important for people at least knowing some basic mathematical knowledge since it is often used in our lives.
Therefore, it is clear to see that knowledge of Math has a lot of practical values which increase the significance of Math; without these actual application in real life, the value of math knowledge will greatly be diminished. However, even though math knowledge seems to contain great amount of quality, not every one will use them in their lives. Some math theories seem to be functional but actually have no real application for most of people in the society.
Right now, every student has to take math course in order to graduate from secondary schools. However, most parts of the knowledge we learned in the math course will never be used in our real lives again. For example, a student who wants to be a musician in the future absolutely has no need to continue studying math in secondary school. Because they do not need this kind of knowledge for their future survival, math becomes one of the least essential areas of knowledge for that student. Even for those significant discoveries in math field, there is only shared knowledge between mathematicians but not everyone. Maybe the new rule or theory they find out is extremely important in the math field, it still has little influence on most of people else in the society.
Arts, on the other hand, is not taught as commonly as math is. However, art’s value is shown more in shared knowledge rather than personal knowledge. For example, some artworks are hard to understand or appreciate them in terms of beauty but shape people’s believe and push movements in the society.
Personally speaking, art is one of my favourite fields and plays as a crucial role in my life. The reason is that I want to take my future career in art and design, thus I need certain amount of knowledge in arts to support this. Therefore, my personal knowledge in arts actually has application in my life which shows its value. However, it is not necessary for every person in the society to know the history or different styles of arts. Because of diverse levels of art knowledge people have and disparate understanding of life, it is very likely different person has different understanding of an art piece, but this does not influence anyone or the society. Furthermore, when you see an abstract painting hanging on the wall of your friend’s house, you do not need to understand the meaning behind it, but just look at how beautifully it decorates the house. The only shared knowledge of arts between your friend and you is the cognition of beauty. Thus, Arts seems to have more aesthetic value than practical value, which makes someone believe arts is not at significant as other kinds of knowledge like math and sciences.
Besides its aesthetic value, arts can have its practical value in terms of propaganda values and social function. When a propaganda is in process, people are always more interested in the visual effect in a poster rather than long and boring paragraphs, thus information on paintings is easier to be spread out. Additionally, for people who has disability to read, arts is a good way for them to understand some information. Moreover, when people did not have written language, ancients usually used patterns or symbols to communicate and document the history. These art works would then be passed down to generations and generations. Therefore, Arts’ significance in terms of shaping a society’s belief is much heavier than Math’s. In this case, personal knowledge is combined with shared knowledge. When people look at an art piece that draws a social issue, audiences have their personal knowledge to help them understand the superficial meaning of the art piece, and the shared knowledge of both the artist and audiences of the cultural background can help audiences understand the message that the artist is delivering. Furthermore, arts has an important role in the religion aspect. For example, Christians paint portraits of Jesus on glaze of windows and walls, so they can integrate into a Christian environment when they are praying in the church, or it would be more influential when the pastor gives a speech. Consequently, arts is actually a momentous part of life, since it is applied in various ways, which greatly increases its value in terms of knowledge.
In conclusion, above examples all prove that the more frequently a piece of knowledge is used, the more value it contains. If it is a really important math theory, no matter how complicated it is, as it is not used in real life very often, its significance will only be known by a small group of people, thus its value is diminished. Many Chinese traditional handwork processes are lost in this way as well. Therefore, application can be one of the factors to define the value of a piece of knowledge, and without actual application in lives, the knowledge’s value will be enormously abated.