117. "The depth of knowledge to be gained from books is richer and broader than what can be learned from direct experience."
Knowledge gained from books is broader but not necessarily richer than what can be learned from direct experience.
1. Systematically arranged, knowledge gained from books, the results of countless other people’s direct experiences, is broader than what one can learn from his or her direct experience.
2. However, direct experience, though limited by time and space, provides on with an opportunity to gain a more accurate and vivid understanding of a matter.
3. The best way to learn is to put what we gain from books into practice.
122. "We owe almost all our knowledge not to people who have agreed, but to people who have disagreed."
138. "Only through mistakes can there be discovery or progress."
1. To begin with, the contention accords with our everyday experience as humans from early childhood through adulthood.
2. This same principle also applies on a societal level. Consider, however, how we progress in our scientific knowledge.
3. The value of trial-and-error is not limited to the sciences. In government and politics, progress usually comes about through dissension and challenge—that is, when people point out the mistake of those in power.
164. "Sometimes imagination is a more valuable asset than experience. People who lack experience are free to imagine what is possible and thus can approach a task without constraints of established habits and attitudes."
I fundamentally agree with the speaker’s assertion; however, as the speaker implies, it is impossible not to overstate the comparative value of imagination.
1. One need only observe young children as they go about their daily lives to appreciate the role that pure imagination can play as an aid to accomplishing tasks.
2. The speaker’s contention also finds ample empirical support in certain forms of artistic accomplishment and scientific invention.
3. Of course, there are many notable exceptions to the rule that imagination unfettered by experience breeds remarkable insights and accomplishments.
4. On the other hand, it is important not to take this assertion about artistic and scientific accomplishment too far.
177. "The study of an academic discipline alters the way we perceive the world. After studying the discipline, we see the same world as before, but with different eyes."
1. Through the earnest pursuit of knowledge—particularly in history and literature—we reveal to ourselves the flaws and foibles of other humans whose lives we study and read about.
2. Through education we begin to see flaws not only in people but also in ideologies that we had previously embraced on pure faith.
3. While education helps us see the flawed nature of our previously cherished ideas, paradoxically it also helps us see ideas we previously rejected out of hand in a different light—as having some merit after all.
4. Education in the arts alters forever the way we perceive the aesthetic world around us.