The Value of Useless Knowledge

Someone recently asked on Reddit:

“What’s the point of reading when most of what you read will be knowledge you’ll never use anyways?”

The best way to look at knowledge is to look at it like you would tools in a toolbox. Most tools you’ll rarely use, if ever at all, but when the situation calls for it, you’ll be thankful that it’s there.

To put it in perspective, there’s a story I heard as a kid about somebody who would hide a clock in his backpack. Whenever anyone asked him for the time, he’d pull the clock out instead—it was a silly prank through and through, but it was hilarious and stuck with me.

So months later, when I was giving a speech as a candidate for my school’s student council treasurer, I used the same prank on stage, in front of hundreds of people by pulling out a giant calculator, declaring I was the best candidate for the position.

I was perhaps the most unqualified of all the applicants, yet I won due to what could’ve easily been dismissed as a useless piece of knowledge.

Knowledge are like tools in a toolbox. All it takes is the right circumstances for it to be useful. A foreign language we only know a few basic words to, jokes we think we’ll never tell, the history of an unknown civilization — these are all useful pieces of knowledge in their own right, otherwise how would we have learned about it, had that knowledge not been passed down by someone else in the first place?

About the author

Jon Lee

I travel the world in search of lessons worth sharing. Addicted to culture shock and transparency. Currently working on heeyy and duuck.

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