Vanity of Knowledge without Character

By Abubakar Jimoh

The difference between knowledge and character has been clearly established for long. The ability to acquire knowledge is considered as primary to that of good character but sound character would definitely reinforce the effective use of knowledge.

Knowledge can be referred to as an ability to learn and understand new things while character in the other hand can be referred to as an ability to possess a sound behavior that will strengthen the so-called knowledge in accordance with the fundamental principles guiding the human society in general. These basic principles include respect for the societal norms, values, beliefs, laws, cultures and for the other feelings while at this point an individual is said to be socialized. A person may be knowledgeable without having good character. It is through character that one can transfer abstract knowledge to physical equivalent that could benefit the society.

In the contemporary world, students in search for knowledge in various tertiary institutions hardly consider sound character in their academic pursuit. They associate schooling with fashionable pastimes with occasional deviant behaviors. From this wrong perception, some students engage in hooliganism, cultism, and all such of negative vices along their way when seeking for knowledge hoping these to be part of educational experience. It is no more news the worrisome development in our schools where students harass, intimate and attack their teachers and fellow students for no just cause but through illegal association to cultism. Unfortunately students graduate by only acquiring the knowledge and obtaining the certificate without the basic knowledge guiding the human behaviours.

Academic education may be necessary but there is a clear difference between an educated individual and non educated one because generally speaking the former has acquired academic knowledge which still needed to be supplemented with a sound character before he can be regarded and accepted as a knowledgeable person in the society. The latter in the other hand might possess a good character and even basic knowledge about human society but without acquiring academic knowledge. In this case, academic knowledge can be referred to as a special knowledge which needs to be reinforced with a general knowledge about human society generated from a sound personal character. That is, an individual knowledge would be of no value if he fails to possess good behavior that will shape his knowledge toward respect for the human dignity in the society.

Several occasions students stood up to embarrass lecturers who devote their lives and times to impact knowledge in them (the students) in the school, the same misdemeanor are easily exhibited by students to outsiders.

I wonder how wrong attitudes of the students against the human dignity become increase everyday in the society. These hooligan students fail to understand that there is a clear different between pursuit of knowledge and sound character.

Apart from the students, there are some individuals who have acquired knowledge mainly to threaten the society. They feel like using the knowledge to destroy others’ dignities around them. These are men and women who lack human feelings. They keep struggling to be recognized as knowledgeable ones by engaging in wrong attitudes toward the people in the society. Knowledge acquired but not applies towards productive purposes and for the benefit of society is vainglory.

Therefore, we should acquire knowledge alongside inculcate sound moral, good character and dignified mien for the benefit of the society and the people. Knowledge without moral is vanity upon vanity that has exposed some leaders to ridicule by their conducts.

Abubakar Jimoh


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