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How to improve erudition, increase overall erudition

Do we need erudition? Today disputes and discussions around the answer to this question do not calm down.

One side of the participants is sure that erudition is something like an eccentric hobby that can be called “I want to know everything!”. Those who fall into the arms of this hobby want to constantly expand the horizons of their knowledge and, like true book lovers, indiscriminately “devour” all the books that they come across. Someone collects badges or stamps, and erudites are hunting for new knowledge and endlessly looking for new ways to improve their erudition.

So, the answer of the first group to the question whether erudition is necessary is rather negative. They consider erudites to be just bearers of excess knowledge, and not at all smart people capable of generating new things, making scientific discoveries, and providing technological breakthroughs.

The second group answers its opponents with the well-known phrase “If you don’t like education, then try ignorance!”. And they give a lot of examples where ignorance really costs a lot to people:

• a doctor who failed to make a timely diagnosis,

• a teacher of history or literature whose knowledge is limited to a school textbook,

• a lawyer with poorly knowledge in the legal sphere

• a psychologist diagnosing "on the phone" ...

In each such case, there is often not only a lack of professionalism, but also a low level of general education, leading to the inability to critically assess the situation and select the appropriate tools for analysis and correction.

Actually, erudition in the original sense of the word meant "beyond ignorance or rudeness" (ex-ruide). In other words, the possession of such great amount of knowledge that does not allow primitive and naive explanations of the structure of the world. So, it leads to the development of a special mindset!

An erudite has a critical view of the world

Increased erudition leads to the expansion of knowledge in various fields and scientific disciplines, which in itself is already useful for any person, focused on mental development and personal growth. But there is another unique consequence of advanced erudition: the collection of knowledge from different sources allows them to be compared with each other, compare and critically evaluate.

Today, such a critical view of the world is more useful than ever before. The flurry of information that falls on us daily, gradually makes us tolerable to its deceit. We do not have time to check it and “swallow”, suppressing our doubts about its authenticity.

Erudite personalities evaluate information in a completely different way. For example, by comparing how the same fact is described (for example, a historical event) in different sources, they easily reveal inconsistencies and contradictions. So their “abundant” knowledge of history helps them to discard the information that is written with insufficient scientific integrity in a timely manner.

Erudites look at the elephant from different sides

In the Bonn Science Center, inside the park area, there is a sculpture, symbolizing scientific objectivity - an elephant, which is touched by four blind men from four sides. One touches the elephant's foot, the second - the trunk, the third - the tail, and the fourth holds his hand over the elephant's body. This sculpture is an illustration of the famous parable about the controversy of the four blind over what the elephant looks like, where each of them repeated what he touched:

  • “The elephant is a wide column!”

  • “The elephant is a thick flexible hose!”

  • “The elephant is a little rope!”

  • “The elephant is a rough wall!”

And only if you put together all four images, you can understand what an elephant is. And erudites are usually the best at it.

Or another example. How do you answer the question about consciousness. If you do not use this term as a professional, then, most likely, just say that this person is different from the animal. Perhaps you use in your answer such words as “thinking,” “understanding,” and “awareness,” as being similar in meaning or even synonymous.

But professionals will answer this question in different ways. The philosopher notes that consciousness can be social and personal. Doctor will say that you can lose consciousness or remain in an unconscious state. The lawyer will indicate that it is important to consider whether the suspect has reached a conscious age. A psychologist will connect the conscious and the unconscious.

An erudite is usually able to view the category of consciousness from all these points of view.

How to increase the general erudition

So, if you set such a goal, then adopt the following recommendations.

1. Learn new words

At school and the institute, you almost every day learned new terms, got acquainted with scientific concepts and categories, considered them in the context of a specific theory or technology. Along with the end of training, the flow of new word-symbols into your consciousness has also stopped. You are always in the same semiotic space, not giving your brain a reason for the formation of new neural connections, and therefore for the development of your intelligence.

The learned new words do not automatically make a person an erudite, but after all, a whole chain of their kinship ties after the new concept. These links re-structure your view of the world. The more such connections there are, the more actively the cognitive simplicity of thinking is replaced by cognitive complexity.

What specific actions are there behind this advice:

• Set a task every week to learn and memorize 3 new words. And do not just to memorize, but use them in your oral and written language.

• Look for and learn words that mean different actions in different areas of knowledge, for example, building renovation and event reconstruction. When you meet an unfamiliar word, do not rush to look up its meaning in the dictionary. Try to understand for yourself what it means, and only then verify the correctness of your reasoning or guesswork.

• Read technical and scientific literature and strive not only to understand what a new term means, but also what other concepts and categories it is associated with.

2. Expand Your Thesaurus

Thesaurus is your individual vocabulary. It can be increased through the practice of using synonyms in your speech. Synonyms refer to words that are different in sound but identical in meaning (examples: to discover and find, research and study). Using synonyms, you can diversify your speech.

What is more, synonyms often mean the same thing only for an unprepared person, and an erudite can easily explain to you the difference, for example, between:

  • rock and mountain

  • typhoon and tsunami,

  • meaning and value.

3. Read analytical articles and critical reviews

Such reading will allow you to compare your idea of ​​a question with the comments of competent specialists.

As a result, you get three points of view:

  • stated in the original source,

  • a specialist who understands this issue

  •  your own.

Critical reviews are especially useful to help you see vulnerabilities in the logic of the author of the analyzed work, and to compare two points of view by yourself. Such an activity transforms reading from passive consumption of information into mental work, which is called comparative analysis.

4. Visit special websites to improve your knowledge

Of course, we are talking about the websites designed for professionals. There you will not only be able to expand your knowledge, but also to train in order to develop the mental skills of an erudite:

  • building an objective picture of the world,

  • critical thinking,

  • comparative analysis.


5. Write more than ordinary people

Start writing texts on a specific topic. But not domestic or popular. Write something scientific or philosophical and artistic! Writing allows you to structure thoughts, puts them in a certain logic.

The written text is a reflection of your consciousness, so it will be easier for you to determine what you are good at, and what is still a zone of your nearest development.

6. Read more!

And let it be not just books with interesting stories. Read the descriptions of scientific experiments, philosophical reasoning, and serious fiction.

Perhaps this will be the main recommendation for everyone to become a real erudite.

No matter how much jokes there are about the erudites, and no matter how snobbishly the snobs say about them, the erudites always remain in demand in the work environment and in moments of rest.

It is not without reason that one of the most important roles in the management team or project team is called “expert” - a carrier of diverse knowledge, well-oriented in various fields and therefore able to tell you exactly where to look for answers to complex questions that stand in the way of a team goal.



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