Law of subtle knowledge


What is it when known everything else is known? — Kathopanishad.

In this blog post I am going to define the Law of Subtle Knowledge. Unlike a serious law of science this law is very loose just like the nature of its subject.

Every subject we try to learn has some basic laws. There is some well-known reference material. Also, there are several advertised sources from where you can learn that subject. It can be a book, a person or an institution.

But when you want to learn that subject for your career you are essentially competing with many other people who have access to exactly all the material which is accessible to you. How can one gain the competitive advantage the simple way?

There are two ways.

1. Get access to some material that no one else has.

2. Get some extra knowledge about the subject that no one knows to exist.

It is logical that the 1st point is essentially dependent on the latter. It is assumed in point 1 that this additional material of reference contains something that no other material provides.

I call this extra knowledge “subtle” aspect of the subject.

My law of subtle knowledge states that the subtle aspect of a knowledge can be obtained only from the most unsuspecting sources. This law is applicable more to that knowledge which has more practical value than theoretical one. For example religion, philosophy, management, communication etc.

Once you understand this law many things become simple to understand. You instantly realize why your college mate who studies a particular subject so much that he know the textbook like back of his palm but when it came to applying that subject he failed miserably compared to you. That person did not have that subtle knowledge of the subject which you had. Perhaps yourself were unaware that you had it.

Most of my knowledge about project-management did not come from any fat book. Instead I gathered it from my regular reading of Dilbert and Scott’s blog. Most of my knowledge about parenting, psychology comes not from reading any book but from Calvin and Hobbes. The best things I learnt about coding were from Jeff Atwood’s blog.

Whether it is Dilbert or Calvin and Hobbes, their style of communication is a bit sarcastic. It aims at magnifying the contrast of the subject at hand and generating humor. Hence you end up seeing things which no other book would ever tell you.

Check this Dilbert strip. If you understand the language they are talking you know enough about project management. At a very subtle level it actually sensitize you to the real issues on would face though it might sound exaggerated in this strip. The most important phrase one should notice here is “their drama”.

Dilbert.com

And when it comes to communication check this strip out.

If you give a careful thought to you past experiences and realize how many times your friend, your girl/boy-friend, wife/husband, kid, boss got angry at you by blaming you for things that were obviously not your fault, you will realize with this Calvin and Hobbes strip what exactly were they trying to say.

No other book ever written on communication will ever teach you what this strip teaches you in few seconds, only thing is your mind needs to be sensitive to grasp this knowledge. Many people tell me that they dont ind C&H funny at all.

There is some knowledge to be taken from every source and this knowledge has nothing to do with what the source actually proclaims to give us. Some genius have understood this also and they pass advertisements as news.

I read Sanatan Prabhat with same interest as one would read a Spiderman comics. Sanatan’s ideas which most of the people found ridiculous I found an orgasmic entertainment in it.

I read news papers not for the news but to understand how misinformed the public actually is. To understand reality I watch B grade cinema.

My understanding of economics does not come from CNBC or Economic Times but it comes from the quality of food served in my mess.

However I would warn readers that there is nothing one can take from political leaders except pure entertainment.

2 thoughts on “Law of subtle knowledge

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