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Sir Francis Bacon’s famous quote, “Knowledge is power” is one explanation of why we, not just as learners, but human beings, have the desire to seek knowledge. Our innate desire to seek knowledge can be said to be mankind’s method of attaining greater wisdom by answering age-old questions such as the meaning of life. Therefore, the accumulation of knowledge over our lifetime is inevitable. The motives that provide the fuel for mankind’s quest for knowledge widely varies.
Personally, the desire for knowledge stems from four different motivations: self-interest, fear, social factors and the pursuit of improving oneself.
Self-interest leads us to pursue areas of knowledge related to our interests, such as sports and hobbies. We follow our curiosity in self-interest and by doing so, are exposed to many different areas of knowledge. As the world becomes more and more connected, curiosity now has endless possible destinations in the hundreds of online networks around the globe.
The second motivating factor is fear.
The possibility of punishments and penalties cause us to become more aware of certain things. We learn to become more prepared in order to avoid having to face our fears. An example of this is McMath Secondary. The school was built to resist fires and earthquakes, therefore decreasing the possibilities of having to face our fear of the school burning down or being destroyed during an earthquake. The next group of influences which motivate us to seek out different strands of knowledge is social factors.
These include our family, school, workplace, peers and society in general.
Our upbringing has a heavy influence on our personality and character, therefore having an influence on what we decide to learn in school and out of school as well as our interests. For example, children who were sent to learn how to play instruments from an early age would likely have different interests than those who were sent to golf lessons from an early age. Our family’s expectations and limitations also play a role in what we are ‘allowed’ to do, or what they will accept of us.
If a poor family requires their child to help with the business and cannot afford the school tuition fees, that child will likely never develop the desire to seek out certain types of knowledge that is offered in educational institutions, such as geography, history or chemistry. Society in general is a huge influence in our interests. Although it may not affect everyone’s interests, the majority will be affected. Gender roles, stereotypes as well as friends and mainstream culture will have a significant impact on what is deemed acceptable and what is not.
The last motivating factor in the pursuit of knowledge is self-improvement, which holds the biggest potential of all. Self-improvement includes pursuing goals and aspirations, incentives, growth in oneself, and ultimately, happiness. The desire to know more, grow as individuals and influence change in our internal and external environments is why this is the motivating factor that holds the biggest potential as a driving force to seek out different types of knowledge.
Personally, although all of the mentioned factors have influenced me in a large way, social factors and self-improvement have had the greatest impact on me. The ultimate desire for happiness has led me to learn different instruments, listen to a wide variety of music and attempt to give back to the community. I believe that the pursuit of knowledge will ultimately guide mankind to the path of worldwide happiness. For myself, as a knower, the desire to seek out certain types of knowledge has been driven by the pursuit of happiness.
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