Presentation Details

The Second International Conference on New Directions in the Humanities

Making Sense of the World Through Allegory, Analogy, and Conceptual Categories: Dealing with the Information Era at Any Age

Susan Smily, Dr. Honora M. Finkelstein.

One obtains knowledge in a variety of ways, such as through mental imaging, sensory input, verbal and linguistic cues, and information presented in the form of literature, art, and music.
Knowledge per se is not age-specific. In learning how to communicate and perform a wide variety of physical activities, the average five-year-old has learned 80 percent of all he or she will ever learn; the other 20 percent is a refinement of skills for understanding and using information, as well as the acquisition of specific knowledge. However, the degree of understanding and integration of new content depends on one’s level of conceptual awareness in a given field.
We learn what we need to know to live and work effectively. But there is much information available to us now via the Internet and other media that can enrich our lives and allow us more connection to the rest of humanity.
In order that the vast outpouring of the information era does not result merely in people who are competent at game shows and Trivial Pursuit, but rather in a more highly educated and aware populace, it is important for people to consider how to sequence learning in order to gain the maximum possible benefit.
Further, information becomes “knowledge” through integration into one’s life experience. One can effect this integration through the use of a variety of tools, such as allegory, analogy, process and thinking skills, and conceptual categories, such as change, interaction, interdependence, and continuity.


Susan Smily  (United States)

SUSAN SMILY, M.A. (Ed.), has 24 years classroom experience, during which time she also presented workshops in elementary science education in Canada, Australia, and the U.S. From 1985-1987 she was President of the BC Science Teacher’s Association. She has authored a poetry chapbook, a teacher guidebook, over 20 educational publications, and a play that made its New York off-Broadway debut in 1998. She is also the webmaster of six websites. She is the co-founder of Sunweavers, Inc., a nonprofit educational corporation that networks writers, artists, and visionaries.

Dr. Honora M. Finkelstein  (United States)
Adjunct Associate Professor
Division of Humanities Department of English
University of Southern Indiana

Honora Finkelstein has been a U. S. Navy intelligence officer, a college professor, a small-press publisher, a prize-winning newspaper editor, a television producer, a lecturer on personal empowerment, and a talk-show host. She holds a Ph.D. in English, has taught workshops across North America, and is an ordained interfaith minister and Reiki master. She has authored both nonfiction and fiction books, poetry chapbooks, and over 140 articles. She is the founder of Sunweavers, Inc., a nonprofit organization for networking writers, artists, and creative visionaries in all fields.

  • Knowledge Is Not Age-Specific
  • Learning Techniques
  • Conceptual Categories
  • Analogy
  • Allegory
  • Process Skills
  • Thinking Skills

(30 min. Conference Paper, English)