Depth vs Breadth of Knowledge

This is an interesting concept of knowledge, to either have a depth of it, expertise in a specific area or to have a breadth of understanding of a general topic. This idea can be brought into all walks of life. From subjects or careers to adventure and love life. Is it better to have one over the other? Do you have to pick one? Are they always separated?

 

This concept can be thought of clearer when brought into academic terms. Doing a degree or diploma will give you a wider range of understanding, yet as you move towards a doctorate your view will narrow and become more specified. This can even be looked at more closely when regarding subjects. For example; You could pursue a study in World Religions and gain a broad understanding or you could focus on Buddhist Religious Studies and have a focused area of understanding. You could study a multitude of languages broadly or specialise in just one. Both give you very different results of knowledge. Is one better? Pre-industrial era people used to specialise in areas such as glass blowers or black & leather smiths. In this day and age it’s very common to have job requirements with a wide range of skills, i.e if you’re a programmer you must be familiar with certain languages, platforms and various operating systems. That being said there are jobs that would need a specialised person i.e. Backend node.js developer. These jobs would usually pay higher however are rarer to come across, also generally to get to that level you’d need previous years of working in that area. So, entering a workforce with a wider range of understanding is generally considered better. You’re like a broad blank canvas and can built up from there. This would go for studying as well. Unless you know exactly what you want to do and achieve it’s best to get a broad perspective on things and find your way into an area.

 

Surprisingly this relates to travel just as strongly. Do you go study, work or live in a country for 12 months or travel the world seeing each place for a brief period of time. Some people argue that you never really know a place until you live there and you’re just seeing its shell when you travel through. This is a really difficult toss up. If you stumble upon a country that you’re really intrigued with it’d definitely be recommended to go stay there for a while. However for the most of us there’d be a lot you want to see and experience. The best idea would be to target an area for a few months and do it thoroughly i.e for 4 months do Netherlands, Germany & Belgium. You would miss out on a large amount of Europe but you would’ve had time to explore those countries and take notes on what you liked. That being said you still wouldn’t have a large depth of knowledge of those places but a much better understanding. For the places you feel like you’re missing out on, put them on the back-burner, you’ve got your lifetime to get back there. Travel for what happens when you get there, not for everything that you could’ve done. Remember your travel list will never get shorter, it will just keep growing.

 

Another interesting view in this is your love life. A person could find ‘the one’ during childhood and be with them forever or potentially jumping between long relationships, perhaps giving these people a deeper understanding of love with a person. Contrast this to someone that has had minimal relationships therefore not exploring a deeper understanding or connection with someone but achieving a broader view of connections or experiences. Again there isn’t a right or wrong in this situation. The best trick would be to know yourself first. If you don’t know what you’d do without your partner or who you’d be, maybe try and figure that out. Though if you do, and you have a genuine deep connection with someone, a deeper experience could be more fulfilling.   

 

It’s hard to choose which side of knowledge is best but you’ll have to settle with one, whether you choose to or not. Choosing which one could depend entirely on your situation; what you want to achieve, where you are, your age, perspective or interest. No matter which you end up in, you’ll look and see that the grass is greener on the other side. Yet just be content with your experience in whatever you’re doing, wherever you are and whoever you’re with. To understand it as much as you can do because the worst would be to miss it while looking onto the other side.

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