Knowledge is just a rumor until it lives in the body. — Unknown
One of the problems we have in our “acquisition culture” is that we are so preoccupied with acquiring more stuff, that we then need to spend so much time organizing it all so we can find it when we need it.
Storage and retreival — whether for physical stuff or digital stuff — is big business. It’s not just the self-storage industry and cloud services. Think of all the Amazon warehouses, storing stuff that we’re going to buy.
Whether it’s information or material goods, we can spend so much effort, energy, and time shopping for, organizing, and storing what we have, and worrying about whether we’re using the right system that will help us find it when we need it.
For example, many people read a lot of books, but without a complex note-taking and retrieval system they can’t find that information when they want to call on it for a project. They may read a lot, but they are just acquiring information. They don’t actually know a lot, because the information hasn’t been embodied.
The obvious solution is to acquire or read less, but it doesn’t end there. When it comes to information, reducing the quantity of what you acquire isn’t enough to help you remember what is most important for you.
Especially because you may not know at the time you read a book which piece will be most relevant to future work.
The secret is in integration. Integrating what we learn and read helps us embody that information and turns it into knowledge.
Books are simply records of other peoples’ experiences. The best way to truly know something is to experience it for yourself. Through application, integration, and experience, the contents of the book turn from information to knowledge.
The beauty of knowledge is that once you know something, you can’t forget it. Your body remembers. You won’t need a complex note-taking system, storage process, or “knowledge management system.” You already have a sophisticated knowledge-management system within you.
How much time and energy would you free up if you integrated what you consumed before consuming more?
You may read fewer books, but you’d know a lot more.