A LITTLE LEARNING IS A DANGEROUS THING

(Shabeer Ahmed, Lahore)

PROVERBS are daughters of daily experience, we learn a lot from the sayings of wise men but it is also true that “wise men make proverbs and fools repeat them.” Usually, we do not give weight to these full of wisdom adages unless we ourselves go through such experiences, then we come to realize that what is the importance of these quotations by our ancestors.

“A little learning is a dangerous thing” is also such a beautiful, thought-provoking idiom that is as true in today’s world as it was during the age of Alexander Pope who uttered this golden maxim. Doubtlessly, a person who has a little learning about a subject or science, he is good for nothing; neither for himself nor for his fellow human beings and society as a whole. A little or inadequate learning/knowledge of a profession, craft or skill gives no any benefit, it is useless. A person who has a little learning of a skill let us take the case of a quack for instance who deems himself to be like a learned and professional doctor is the great danger for the society as many people lose their lives because of wrong treatment exercised by him. Similarly, those individuals who are not aware of administration and government system and have a little learning about it, often put the country on the road to devastation, economical fall down, social disorder, political turmoil etc. The current situation of Pakistan is obvious to us that how illiterate, fake degree holder politicians who have a little learning about the history and problems of the country are causing a serious security risk to the nation. Bomb blasts in public places, in markets, killings of guiltless civilians at shrines of saints, besides the curse of poverty, load-shading, hunger, price hike, the drone attacks continue murdering innocent people in the tribal areas of the country, the shocking law and order situation; all this is the result of a little learning of real burning issues of the country and their solution. Our politicians are uneducated, they do not know hot to make sound, and comprehensive long-term policies for the nation therefore we are suffering. Of our leadership were educated and it had a thorough knowledge of country’s culture, history, people’s woes, illiteracy, the situation would have been quite different than the existing ones.

Knowledge or education is desirable and should be attained by anyone at any cost. Those with a little education who read on a variety of subjects and then try to impress others, they act as if they were very learned and knowledgeable. Often, some people having believed them, go to them for consultation, but ‘a little learning’ of these ‘artificial educationists’ leads others which usually ends in a great disaster for instance, there is a person who has got a piece of information on few common diseases on the internet, gives wrong guidance to the people that can result in the sudden death of an individual. It is not possible for a common man to learn all sciences on the internet, there are a number of websites on the internet which spread disinformation causing a great destruction of health, energy and money etc.

So, it is proved from the above arguments that ‘a little learning’ is a dangerous thing’ and that ‘empty vessels make most noise’. It is always good to know something well. If you long for becoming a doctor, good politician, engineer, professor etc, then you have to seek formal education, a complete learning of your profession, craft, business etc otherwise you will lose much and suffer a lot. The little learning can never make you richer, wealthier and a good scholar, businessman, teacher, officer, soldier etc. with a little learning, you cannot teach others, you cannot be given a job in university, the little learning will not enable you to succeed in any sphere of life; you must be the expert or master of your profession, having a good command of your career and art of specialization in it. A little learning gives no advantage rather human beings would suffer from this incomplete knowledge you have acquired. ‘Drink deep, or taste not the Pierian Spring’ says Alexander Pope in the second and last line of his famous quotation. The meaning of this proverb is that in order to serve humanity, one should be specialized in his/her field and if one cannot do so, then one must abstain from drinking the Pierian Spring because drinking from this great Pierian Spring calls for perfection and mastery in one’s field, profession etc. gaining knowledge in a particular field will definitely make one a master in a subject. Let us not be jack of all trades and master of none. Let us at least be a master of some.

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very poor style of language.MUST IMPROVISE
By: fiza khan, kolkata on Jul, 30 2014
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