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Why I like sharing knowledge

When I was a teenager and got interested in learning how to write computer programs, I didn’t have access to a lot of information on the subject. There was a local library in the district of Nickerie where I lived, but the books on computers and Information Technology were very old. Much of the information in those books was still useful, but I couldn’t find any books on the more modern programming languages that I wanted to learn. On top of that, the people who did have those books often liked to keep them for themselves and didn’t like to share any of their knowledge.

Fortunately I had a group of close friends that did like to share knowledge but resources were still very limited. Mostly I had to rely on the very limited information provided by online help systems that came with the compilers, in those cases where I actually had a complete copy of the software (yes, even that was a problem quite often).

In the beginning it was difficult for me to understand why people liked to keep their knowledge to themselves and were very secretive. I was very eager to learn, and thought that everyone would recognize how that was a very positive thing, and that they would gladly share any information they had that would help me to learn. But what I found on the contrary, is that they limited access to certain information and didn’t like to share. For example, sometimes there would be instances where I’d see someone do something really cool on the computer, and I’d ask how he did that, and would get the typical answer of “oh, I can’t tell you that” followed by a smile.

Those kinds of experiences are an important reason for why I like to share knowledge. I know what it’s like to want to learn something but not being able to have access to any information. I also know how limiting a lack of access to information can be, and how difficult such circumstances are. I also know how the sharing of knowledge can help other people to grow, and will ultimately benefit all of us. That’s why I love the Internet, and think it’s the best thing that ever happened to humankind. Children who are growing up today and have access to the Internet have such a huge advantage; they’re growing up in such a wealth of knowledge. Sometimes I wonder how much more I could have achieved and how much quicker I could have learned if I had access to the Internet when I was growing up. I’m very sure that I would have achieved a lot more a lot faster.

And it’s a bit surprising and sad at the same time that even today there are still people who like to hoard knowledge. One of the reasons why I know this, is because people approach me all the time with all kinds of questions about things that I am good at (be it photography, programming or design etc.), and quite often are surprised by how quickly and freely I like to share any knowledge and insights that I have with them. They then mention to me that they’re not used to that and that others are not like this. It’s often the case that they want to know how to do something specific, or how I achieved a specific result etc., and I’m always happy to help. If I’m very busy and their request requires a long and complicated answer, at the very least I’ll point out where they can find the exact information they’re looking for. These days detailed information and tutorials are available on the Internet for almost anything, so it’s always more efficient to point people at those sources. It also teaches and shows them where they can find the information themselves so that they don’t have to rely on me anymore. Teaching people how to look for and find the information they need is a lot more useful than simply giving the information to them; it helps to make them independent.

Knowledge should be freely and openly available to everyone. It will only accelerate our development and the improvements we can make to our lives and societies. It’s sad that in certain cases, due to the fact that we live in a monetary based society, people aren’t always able to share knowledge as freely as they would otherwise be willing to do. We see that even when it concerns the availability of knowledge, a monetary based society is one of the limiting factors for achieving abundance. In such societies people are often hesitant to share knowledge because they might be afraid of losing income due to losing the competitive advantage their knowledge gives them. At other times it can be for copyright reasons, patents, etc.

In any case, be assured that you can always feel absolutely free to approach me with any questions that you may have, and that I will be happy to share any information with you that might help you.


  1. Karel Donk's Blog » Why I don’t like speaking in public (03/11/2015)


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