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In Search of Knowledge

March 5, 2012

Discovery is inclined to come from a spectrum held at one end by chance appearance and the other end by extensive knowledge. Discoveries come with an investment of time and hard work or sometimes by an experience of serendipity.

Innovation is not a chance event but based upon knowledge acquisition.

“When no one knows why things work, potential inventors do not know what will not work and will waste valuable resources in fruitless reaches for things that cannot be made, such as … gold from [lead].”*

How often does one arrive at the point of making a decision without the supporting information? How are the results?

To make a discovery, “the range of experimentation possibilities that needs to be searched over is far larger if the searcher knows nothing about the … principles at work.”*

Decisions serve one best when made from the perspective of knowledge. The internet provides unlimited resources to follow the threads to build foundational knowledge. To move research forward requires greater understanding, a mixture of two ingredients willingness, and time. Tools are readily available to become a domain expert. Lack of passion or true desire to do the work is the constraint that stops many in their tracks.

To paraphrase Pasteur’s famous principle, “Fortune may sometimes favor unprepared minds, but only for a short while. It is in this respect that the width of the epistemic base makes the big difference.”*

There is no long-term shortcut. Any goal worth attaining is worth the struggle that accompanies it.


M Mokyr (2002),The Gifts of Athena: Historical Origins of the Knowledge Economy, Princeton University Press, Princeton and Oxford

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