Knowledge, gnosis and the pain of being discounted for your knowledge – Integral Accounting Part 4.

Historically knowledge has been equated with power. Before the printing press only the wealthy and powerful had access to knowledge outside the domain of the immediate need for survival. Now almost everything is available via Google and Wikipedia.

Still there are aspects of knowledge that wield significant power. Think NSA and Edward Snowden. Generally this type of knowledge as power is based on secrets. When transparency is present, knowledge as power diminishes or disappears.

There are stages of knowledge. We can know something as rote, or we can know something as gnosis. I may read the book on how to ride a bike and learn it by heart (rote), but without getting on a bike and riding (gnosis), my head is filled with theory without the practice. Knowledge is both.

The value of knowledge is often higher when it lives in the domain of gnosis. Practice, experience, mastery….these are the keys to gnosis.

We have created a world that loves specialisation. The expert’s expert on one narrow field. This is fantastic for the brain surgeon and her patient. Yet in our rush to become specialised it is rare to find someone whose specialty is in being a generalist. We have lost the art of the polymath.

Knowledge as part of one of the 6 dimensions of Integral Accounting honours what is known.

In our frenzy to reduce all value to the metric of money, we have a skewed relationship with valuing knowledge. A person who spends their days teaching 3rd graders, and does so with amazing skill, navigating the complexities of frail young ego’s, overly protective parents and a curriculum that offers little chance of creativity, is not valued for their knowledge to the same degree as someone able to do high speed trades in the great casino of the share market.

Inherent in all attributes of Integral Accounting is the willingness to be agnostic/neutral in our accounting as we do an Integral Accounting audit.

Therefore, when we examine our ecosystem looking at knowledge our job at this stage is not to assign value, but to note where and what the knowledge is.

We would look at the knowledge of the teacher of the 3rd grade and note it. Just as we would look at the knowledge of the share trader and note that. The value is only given dimension in context. If the share trader was stuck on a train for 3 days with 500 school kids his value may not be as high as the teacher.

So many times we discount knowledge in one domain as not have transference to another domain. A women who has spent a decade or so running a house hold and raising kids may not see that her knowledge has application in the business world. If she would only take a peak behind the doors of many offices she would find squabbling children dressed as grown up’s in suits. She probably has vast knowledge on managing tantrum throwing, how to organise events, schedules, unruly ego’s…multitasking…high stress environments. Yet almost always her value is discounted by both herself and the person who may hire her.

When we consider knowledge as an aspect of Integral Accounting we honour knowledge as it is. In so doing we invite respect for all people and experiences. This experience is profoundly powerful in its application.

Many people feel the acute pain of having their knowledge be discounted on the trading floor of life. To stop and recognise knowledge in someone is a gift beyond measure.

To read Part 1. Bottom line and triple bottom line don’t cut it – an introduction to Integral Accounting.

To read Part 2. What is a commodity?

To read Part 3. Why value Custom and Culture? – inviting our humanity back to the table. Integral Accounting

To go to Part 5. Money – but one element of six to consider in Integral Accounting 

For the Source of Knowledge in Integral Accounting.

Photo credit: Creative Commons License A Guy Taking Pictures via Compfight

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