Opinion

An inquiry into the nature and causes of the wealth of knowledge

The other day my roommate and I went off on another one of our ridiculous “what if” tangents, in which we come up with the most preposterous, unrealistic scenarios in order to escape our mundane existence of food, sleep and school. Usually they’re innocently silly and involve our immovable dresser drawers turning into a monster that won’t let us have our clothes, or my roommate morphing into a falcon and flying away because he hasn’t cut his nails lately. However, our latest foray into our strange worlds of fantasy had a poignant relationship to our daily lives and modern society.

While trudging through our mountainous piles of work in our room late one night, I started to fantasize about what it would be like to be able to purchase knowledge that could be downloaded into your brain instead of tirelessly siphoned from a book. Before we were able to get too carried away with our desire to gain endless knowledge, we started to realize the innumerable problems associated with this solution. Most importantly, it would enable the rich to buy all the knowledge they desired and keep the poor from being able to have any. And if the cliché that “knowledge is power” is true, which I believe, the rich would be able to dominate the poor in an unprecedented manner.

Logically, our next realization was that such a fantasy-laden scenario isn’t as far from reality as it might seem at first. As we all struggle to push into the gauntlet that is finals, it’s easy to forget how privileged we really are. Not only do we live healthy and safe lives, but we have access to that which will enable us to live our lives in the manner we please.

As we rush in and out of lectures and the library jotting down notes and printing off scholarly articles, we often forget that the access we have to such professors, resources and facilities is a privilege unavailable to most; it is largely dependent on the place in which we were born into the world. Coming from mostly middle-class backgrounds, we don’t usually realize how difficult it can be for many others to gain the opportunities we have.

Fortunately, wealth does not have a monopoly on knowledge and there are a number of ways in which knowledge is available in somewhat equitable processes such as the Internet and public libraries. However, it’s important to realize that in the aggregate, access to knowledge is divided among class lines and this phenomenon is taking a turn for the worse in our contemporary age of neoliberal economic and political policies.

Not only is it important to appreciate our privileged opportunities but to work to protect the ability of knowledge to transcend lines of class and other social barriers. For if we fail to do so, we might end up closer toward a society in which the depth of our knowledge is equal to the depth of our pockets.

Miles Kenney-Lazar is a junior majoring in geography and international studies. He may be contacted at m.kenneylazar@umiami.edu. Pete Finocchio’s warped imagination also contributed to this article.

November 29, 2007

Reporters

The Miami Hurricane

Student newspaper at the University of Miami


Around the Web
  • Miami Herald
  • UM News
  • HurricaneSports

Hurricanes fans, get out your pencils, calendars and a list of your favorite hotels. The Atlantic Co ...

Three former Miami Hurricanes — defensive lineman Chad Thomas, offensive lineman KC McDermott and de ...

In all technicality, the Orange Bowl is a postseason, neutral-site bowl game that includes a top tea ...

When it comes to recruiting, the scariest sentence for Miami Hurricanes fans is this one: Nesta Silv ...

This time, there was no miracle Miami win over Duke. The fifth-ranked Blue Devils rallied from a 13- ...

As artificial Intelligence takes hold, tech visionary David Kenny stresses keeping human values in t ...

UM’s First Black Graduates Project committee visits an iconic D.C. museum for inspiration to create ...

The Beaux Arts Festival of Art debuts at a new site with picture-perfect weather and a panoply of or ...

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s vision for a “Beloved Community” has inspired a number of University of ...

UM launches three cyber security certificate programs to equip professionals for the growing employm ...

The University of Miami released its 2018 football schedule Wednesday, highlighted by a nationally t ...

Notes from Miami's 2018 Football schedule. ...

Freshman jumper Hasani Knight was named ACC Men's Field Performer of the Week. ...

MIami volleyball signee Chloe Brown was named the 2017-18 Gatorade Oregon Volleyball Player of the Y ...

The University of Miami women's basketball team will play the first of two home games in a 31-d ...

TMH Twitter Feed
About TMH

The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published weekly in print on Tuesdays during the regular academic year.