Epistemophobia- Fear of knowledge
It has been said that human kind in order to survive continuously strives for greater and greater knowledge. After all knowledge has led to every advancement in history. However, there are people who have a distinct and powerful fear of knowledge. This condition is known asÂ Epistemophobia, which comes from the Greek epistemo which means knowledge and phobia which means fear. Learning is of course a fundamental of our lives and we learn even when we do not think we do. Epoistemophobes fear too much knowledge and become paralyzed at the thought of being overwhelmed by too much information.
As with so many phobias, the root of this can be traced back to early development. Perhaps the sufferer had difficulty in school or even just trying to learn the basics of reading and writing. Also, there is a potential challenge for people who may have been the first in their families to attend university and the pressure to succeed may be transferred to the whole learning process which causes the sufferer to not want to learn any more. Also with knowledge comes power and power begets responsibility, which may prove to be too much for the sufferer to deal with. Finally, if one lacks knowledge one can avoid taking responsibility for certain aspects of their lives or behaviour.
People who suffer with this condition will use avoidance as their primary coping strategy. This would be an avoidance of books, newspapers and even television in extreme cases.
Ironically, the course of psychotherapeutic treatment involves teaching clients new coping skills in order to deal with this fear. Teaching them in such a way where assimilation is seen to be manageable which can show the sufferer can indeed handle new knowledge.