This I Believe

Sriharsha - Houston, Texas
Entered on March 8, 2009
Age Group: Under 18
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This might seem like an exaggeration, but I believe that every single human being that inhabits our planet is smarter than all the books in the world combined.

As a boy and student born in the technological era, I do not ever remember the need to ask and individual for educational help unless that individual was my teacher. With the internet and bountiful libraries I always thought knowledge could only be gained by reading and comprehending.

I do not call myself religious, but I still go to the temple every Sunday and Sunday school following that visit. One day at Sunday school I asked my Swamiji (teacher), “Swami, everything you teach us you have already published in a book. Why should I come here every Sunday when I can learn what you teach from a book?” He replied, “Good question, why don’t you ask your books for the answer to that question.” This answer completely changed my perception of knowledge.

One of the most blatant ways that this realization affected my life is that I learned to respect my mother for all the knowledge that she possessed. Before my mother was not the knowledgeable figure in my household, but I soon realized that there was so many more types than factual knowledge. I discovered that my mother knew so much more than any book could have ever taught me. The difference between my mother and any book was that she was a living human being who experienced the world around her instead of spending one’s whole life on a book shelf. The recognition of the knowledge that my mother brought me greater respect for her and the human race in general.

When I apprehended the fact that there were many different faces of knowledge, not just factual, I started recognizing everyone for their specialty. A scholar might be able to recite the theory of evolution, but he/she might not have a clue on how to change the filter in their refrigerator. I soon came to the understanding that everyone is knowledgeable in their own field of preference, whether it be factual or practical.

This realization has paved a new route for my life since the idea that everyone is knowledgeable has made new less condescending, more humble, and a lot more sociable. I have a special friend I go to when I need help with geometry, and I have a different friend when I need to understand the rules of football. My Swamiji is my lamplighter for my spiritual knowledge. My belief is that when you have spiritual knowledge, then only can you enjoy secular knowledge.

From the day my Swamiji informed me, a light was shed upon my perception of the world. I was able to see some good in everyone and I was able to appreciate humanity for all of the knowledge amassed through centuries of practical knowledge that no book could every teach me. I believe in the knowledge of humanity.