The Curse of Knowledge

Sometimes, but not always, knowledge closes doors rather than opening them.

If you know me you’re likely to agree when I say that there's very little I hate more than not knowing something.  Yes, it means that I like to be right (who doesn’t?!).  Except I also like to understand the how and why.  

Recently I was reflecting on the difference between knowing and really knowing with a friend and she told me, in her infinite wisdom, that there are two different words for ‘knowing’ in French. "savoir" is to know HOW to do something but "connaitre" is about familiarity and connection.  

And it runs far deeper than that too.  You can know something and you can understand something.  But, it’s also important to be able to imagine something, particularly when your work takes you into the realms of other people’s emotions and feelings, as mine so often does.

Having just effused about the wonders of knowledge, I also now understand the weighty burden that comes with knowledge.  That is, when you know something it is extraordinarily difficult to know what it’s like not to know it.  

So simple and yet so true. 

It’s this curse that will inevitably stop many things I write from being, well, quite right.  I may not notice at all or I may appreciate that there’s something lacking but never be able to actually put my finger on it.  So, perhaps next time you see a stoppage notice containing some piece of quirky engineering jargon or an explanation falling slightly short of explicit you’ll remember this affliction and forgive us?  

Signing off,
Still enthusiastically fallible.  

Last date edited: 10 December 2014

About this blog

Sarina Young

Sarina joined us in 2008 as our customer services co-ordinator. Among other things, she manages our national customer service team, complaints procedure and requests for information made to the Trust. She says that the most important thing to her is to be able to go home and feel as though she’s achieved something, however small that might be. Her job is hugely satisfying, widely varied, full of deadlines, immensely interesting, sometimes challenging and no day is ever the same, although some are surprisingly familiar!  

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