This post will explore the notion that knowledge, informal education, wellness and wellbeing belong together. This may sound like a stretch, but far from it. Indeed, hopefully, as the reader will see, like many things in a productive, meaningful life, knowledge, formal and informal education are pivotal for wellness and wellbeing. The term knowledge is quite vast and its scope is broad. Being knowledgeable can mean expertise about a particular topic, subject, discipline or situation. It can also mean good comprehension of an extensive array of subjects. These may include for example history, science, the Arts, music, theology, poetry, mathematics and philosophy.
In the first instance regarding knowledge of a particular thing or event, in addition to seeking and possessing the truth, knowledge includes comprehension of the reason why it is true. For instance if a healthy jogger says: “Exercising for 45 minutes one hour five to six times a week is good for my health”, the person is knowledgable when he or she understands what the health benefit entails. That is, the health benefit comes from the effect of the exercise on the heart, the lungs, blood circulation to the brain, normal weight and toned muscles. Same applies to the polymath who, in addition to vast knowledge, will most likely be familiar with the methods of knowing and the various modes of knowing. The person will also well grounded as far as the education, both formal and informal involved in the process. Thus, knowledge, informal education, wellness and wellbeing become linked and constitute desired pillars for healthy living.
Informal education or the acquisition of knowledge beyond one’s comfort zone, one’s carrier focus and one’s area of expertise is crucial in maintaining a sharp mind especially in late adulthood and old age. A life long engineer, doctor or lawyer can also be involved in playing a musical instrument, in pottery, gardening, coaching little league soccer and participating in various activities including teaching sessions to groups in the church, synagogue, mosque and temple. These activities not only keep us moving physically, they keep us moving along mentally thus preventing, or at least slowing down physical and mental rust. Yes, we all have to deal with the reality of Nature and our mortality. However our productivity can be prolonged well into the twilight days of our lives with the awareness that knowledge, informal education, wellness and wellbeing indeed go together.
The book of nature, Galileo asserts, is written in the language of mathematics, its symbols being triangles, circles and other geometric figures. To theologians and believers, the book of nature is written in the language of God. For instance, in the Judeo-Christian tradition, God reveals himself in the writings of men under divine inspiration using human languages. The understanding of this language goes far beyond simply reading the texts. Because these Sacred texts are both humans and divine, they are very complex and difficult to interpret. That is why we study the writings of great thinkers like St. Augustine, St. Aquinas and Maimonides. Hence we study them over and over again. Since Hippocrates, physicians have been learning the language of their art. When a person complains of cough, fever and fatigue to a doctor, and the doctor examines the patient and picks up the signs, those symptoms and signs become the grammar of the language of interpretation thus leading to a knowledgeable diagnosis.
These examples from mathematics, theology and medicine are snapshots of what are involved in the pursuit of knowledge and formal and informal education in any discipline. In late adulthood or even in old age, taking a computer class, teaching a Sunday school class or active participation in a health fair produce positive results towards healthy living at a deeper level than we can sometimes visualize or even conceptualize. Obviously, the responsibility for impacting knowledge and educating a pre-kindergarten child lies with the parents. From then, the child gradually assumes the responsibility through adult life until old age. The results of these pursuits would show that knowledge, informal education, wellness and wellbeing are intertwined. This realization is advantageous for anybody seeking healthy living into old age.
The information contained in this article can contribute to your effort to maintain physical, mental and emotional wellbeing and a balanced life. So, eat healthy, keep moving and exercise at least three times weekly and better still, exercise daily. The ads on the right side of this page deal with physical and mental fitness, exercise equipments and tools, healthy diets, books on healthy living, wellness and wellbeing. Please feel free to check them out. Also, I look forward to your comments regarding this post.