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There are three ways a society deals with knowledge: they encourage the pursuit of it, they allow the pursuit of it, or they actively forbid the accumulation of it.
A civilization can do all of these things at different points in time, but there are two points in time you need to be concerned with in your worldbuilding.
How did they (the established authorities) treat the pursuit of knowledge in the years directly preceding the start of your story, and how do they treat the pursuit of knowledge at the time of your story?
The Pursuit of Knowledge
How much does each culture know?
How technologically advanced are they, and is their knowledge in that area still growing?
How do they store information?
The Encouraged Pursuit
What incentives are offered, what rewards, for displaying a love of knowledge?
Are the governing authorities actively involved in gathering knowledge?
Are there any limitations on the types of knowledge accessible to the everyday people?
If there are limitations, how are they explained to the people?
Is any type of schooling mandatory for all people?
What types of higher education are available, and how much is the government involved in maintaining standards?
The Allowed Pursuit
Does the government take an active role in the sharing of knowledge, or is it left up to individuals?
Are there any institutions of higher learning? Who is in charge of them, and are there any minimum standards that are required to be met?
Are children/young people expected to go through a minimum amount of schooling? If not, how far does the average child go, if it all?
The Forbidden Pursuit
When the pursuit of knowledge is forbidden, there are two things that can happen:
The governing authorities spread their own version of knowledge. (Brainwashing and propaganda.)
They actively destroy knowledge. (Book burnings, people mysteriously disappearing – especially teachers, isolation from other cultures…)
The actions they take will based on why they are limiting knowledge. Are they doing so because they’re trying to hide knowledge of a specific event (or events) from the public for the perceived good of the people? Or are they limiting knowledge to maintain complete control of the people?
The same questions in the Encouraged and Allowed pursuit of knowledge sections apply to this one, but the motives behind each answer will be vastly different.
How the governing authorities deal with knowledge will affect every walk of life in a society. It will change how characters are perceived, especially if they think the government is to blame for any hardships.
It will change how characters react to laws, to each other, and to circumstances outside their control. Especially if they feel they could have handled something better if they’d only known.