“You do not understand this because you do not understand that knowledge, like everything else in the world, is material. It is material, and this means that it possesses all the characteristics of materiality. One of the first characteristics of materiality is that matter is always limited, that is to say, the quantity of matter in a given place and under given conditions is limited. Even the sand of the desert and the water of the sea is a definite and unchangeable quantity. So that, if knowledge is material, then it means that there is a definite quantity of it in a given place at a given time. It may be said that, in the course of a certain period of time, say a century, humanity has a definite amount of knowledge at its disposal.
But we know, even from an ordinary observation of life, that the matter of knowledge possesses entirely different qualities according to whether it is taken in small or large quantities. Taken in a large quantity in a given place, that is by one man, let us say, or by a small group of men, it produces very good results; taken in a small quantity (that is, by every one of a very large number of people), it gives no results at all; or it may give even negative results, contrary to those expected.
Thus if a certain definite quantity of knowledge is distributed among millions of people, each individual will receive very little, and this small amount of knowledge will change nothing either in his life or in his understanding of things. And however large the number of people who receive this small amount of knowledge, it will change nothing in their lives, except, perhaps, to make them still more difficult."
Excerpt taken from In Search of the Miraculous by P. D. Ouspensky, pub. Paul H. Crompton Ltd, 2004, p 37.