Yes, but do we really not encounter at every step what appears to be the opposite situation—people who “know” but who are unable to “think creatively (independently)”? We do encounter such people, and much more often than it may seem to us. But in such cases it would be more correct to say that here there is no trace of real knowledge, but rather something else that is called “knowledge” only through misunderstanding. For it is impossible to “know” in general; it is possible only to know something in particular, this or that object, and truly knowing an object means being able to handle and understand it independently. But “thinking” is nothing other than the ability to deal with each object intelligently—that is, in accordance with its own nature and not in conformity with one’s fantasies about it. Thinking is really functioning knowledge.
And when people say (and they say it quite often) that someone possesses knowledge but is unable to “apply” this knowledge to reality, they are making an essentially quite absurd statement, half of which completely cancels out the other half. How can anyone know an object—and be unable to relate this knowledge (knowledge of the object!) to the object?!
In actual fact, this paradoxical situation arises where a person does not really know an object, but knows something else. What? Phrases about the object. Words, terms, formulas, signs, symbols, and stable combinations thereof deposited in science, mastered (memorized) in place of knowledge of the object—as a special object that exists above and outside reality, as a special world of ideal, abstract, phantom “objects.”
It is here that an illusion of knowledge arises, followed by the insoluble task of relating this illusory knowledge to reality, to life, of which the person knows nothing apart from what has already been expressed in meaninglessly memorized words, formulas, and “rules,” in “semiotic constructs.” And when he tries to connect this illusory, purely formally mastered “knowledge” with life, with reality, he is unable to come up with anything of value for either knowledge or life.
A person who does not know how to think independently does not have mastery of language; rather, language has mastery of him, of his consciousness. His thinking (his “inner speech”) remains in a permanent state of slavish dependence on verbal stereotypes, on meaninglessly memorized semiotic constructs, on “rules,” stipulations, instructions, prompts, and so on—and precisely here lies the secret of the shaping of the dogmatic mind, of dogmatic thinking—a very bad kind of thinking. Dogmatism does not necessarily find expression in the vacuous repetition of the same phrases; it is sometimes marked by a very refined linguistic dexterity, by the ability to force life into the procrustean bed of dead formulas. And there are real artistes at this business. But dogmatism remains dogmatism in essence; it flourishes wherever a set formula obscures living reality in its development, in its tense dialectic.