The “Progressiveness” of Knowledge

By Nicholas

Jun 3, 2020

June 3, 2020

In primary school, we were taught that two minus three (2-3) was equal to “cannot.” I mean, it was impossible to subtract three from two, probably because we used sticks to count and an attempt to explain it would get us more confused.

As we moved from primary to junior secondary school, we found out that the answer was minus one (-1). I could remember finding that really difficult to understand in JSS 2. However, with time, I got used to it and not only master the concept but also used it to solve some basic algebra.

In junior secondary school, we were told that the square root of negative integer was impossible. But in senior secondary school, surd was introduced. Thus one could solve problems involving negative integer until one got the lowest imperfect number. So when we solved a problem involving surds and got to the point of (-1), that was the end of the solution.

In senior secondary school’s further mathematics and early years in the university, the concept of complex number was introduced. And suddenly, the square root of -1 became possible.

Now, why all these stories? It is to demonstrate the importance of a concept – “Knowledge is progressive.”

Let’s assume Paul, Peter, and Pius are in university, secondary and primary levels of education, respectively.

It would be wrong for Paul to shut Peter up for saying that the square root of -1 is not possible. Similarly, it wouldn’t be okay for Peter to laugh at and look down on Puis for saying that it’s not possible to solve 2 minus 3 (2 -3).

They are all talking from their levels of knowledge, and three of them have to pass through all these phases.

For our brothers and sisters in “high places” of knowledge, when next you hear somebody “blowing” blunder, please remember that he or she is talking from his or her level of knowledge. Don’t be too quick to forget that you were there once upon a time. So instead of shutting him or her up or looking down on him or her, just sincerely correct or, at best, walk away in peace.

And for us at the lower cadre, let’s not shut up because of those ahead of us or allow them to shut us up. We should also not forget to be humble to learn and grow to the next level of knowledge.

The largest room in the world of knowledge is the room for improvement. Those who think they know something do not yet know as they ought to know. 1 Corinthians 8:2

Nicholas Alifa

Nicholas Alifa


Nicholas Alifa is an entrepreneur, a coach, and an Agribusiness expert. He is committed to helping individuals and businesses grow to their full potential by focusing on Faith, Finance, and Life. He has spoken on several platforms and trained thousands of people on capacity development, entrepreneurship, finance, investment, and academic excellence.


  1. Mercy

    Really inspiring,i learnt that I should not be ashamed of not knowing a particular thing, but be eager to learn. i should not disregard those ignorant on a particular concept, rather teach them happily.

    • Nicholas Alifa

      Thank God Mercy, that you got value.


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