Does knowledge need to be useful for it to have value. Nietzsche seemed to think so. I’m not convinced.

The problem with valuing knowledge this way is that we can never really foresee whether or not knowledge will ever be useful in the future. Indeed, it is often multiple bits of knowledge, that come together at some point long after their discovery, to synthesize new knowledge and understanding that is far more useful than could have been predicted.

For example, my study of the Art of War, and my interest in psychology, as a teen, were hardly useful at the time. Now, however, they have come together to help me professionally, and have furthered my understanding and mastery of myself.

No, I think I disagree with Nietzsche that only knowledge that is ‘useful’ is worth pursuing. Even those who pursue knowledge, for its own sake, have a social value, I believe. I couldn’t have learned so much that is useful to me the last few months had it not been for my reading of several blogs of seekers of truth and wisdom.

I love knowledge. It is a treasure which gives and gives, and often surprises when I think it has fallen out of usefulness.

Do you think only what is ‘useful’ aught to be learned?

4 thoughts on “Knowledge

  1. I would argue that the knowledge was useful, but we did not know how or when it would be useful. I just follow my heart and try to obtain whatever knowledge this path leads me towards. Not sure if that makes sense.

  2. Maybe we can make a distinction between knowledge, which is valued by its usefulness, whether we see it at the time or not, and wisdom, which takes us to a love which is an end in itself, purposeless, useless, and yet more than we could have ever dreamed of.

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