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Monday, September 26, 2016

Knowledge and Understanding

Of late there has been lot of debates about lack of understanding and more knowledge in the social media.

It is good and incidentally several years back Aldous Huxley wrote a wonderful but long essay on this topic ‘Knowledge and Understanding’ and surprisingly one may find a  pdf of half the essay in Sri Ramankrishna Mission site.

Coming back to the subject.

It has become normal to confuse information for knowledge;

Knowledge for experience and thought;

Ideas formulated based on these for wisdom;

The problem is as these may inadvertently lead to an arrogance which may create unassailable prejudice, petrified presumption and start projecting what we know or think we know or presume as some great piece of tool to decipher the puzzle of life as panacea.

The most important facts of humility are that our perception or understanding based on whatever  may be the source of knowledge is defective or at least not totally prefect and therefore there is nothing that can be construed as a panacea in this world.

Education is the enlightened awareness and acceptance of facts of inevitable evolution of everything and experiencing life as a flow of all or some them as they emerge through the churning process of life where they express the multiple dimensions of everything and the various dynamics of each dimension emanating from inherent attributes as well as a reaction to external impacts.

Life is an unmapped atlas where we are not even sure whether all pieces of the jigsaw puzzles are there to create a shape.

Lot depends on proceeding on unbiased observations beyond or besides or if necessary even without existing loads of knowledge because the existing bunch of knowledge could also act as a conditioning factor if we are not alert and totally divert our understanding of anyone or anything.

Besides all these there are also factors like our attitudes towards multiple interpretations, ideological identity based inhibitions to accept certain things, attitudes and overall perspective towards what we encounter etc.

That is why it becomes a necessity to not to take on extreme positions in anything and instead maintain a balanced view.

Extreme positions can blur the view from seeing the multiple possibilities that may exist everywhere.

Phenella writes in “The Unwritten Comedy”.
“To be ignorant of many things is expected
To know you are ignorant of many things is the beginning of wisdom.
To know a category of things of which you are ignorant is the beginning of learning.
To know the details of that category of things of which you are ignorant is to no longer be ignorant.”

“Everything changes as you move through three stages of awareness:
first, that beliefs are the result of conditions;
second, that beliefs are the cause of conditions;
and third, that beliefs are themselves conditions.”
― Eric Micha'el Leventhal

 “All of us have our own inner fears, beliefs, opinions. These inner assumptions rule and govern our lives. A suggestion has no power in and of itself. Its power arises from the fact that you accept it mentally.”
― Joseph Murphy, The Power of Your Subconscious Mind

We, most of us, swing as a pendulum between excuses and justifications with a keenness to convince others and end up coming with answers like these: - A tourist guide who, when once, a lady asked him “How a row of fine rock formation were piled up”, said “they have been piled up here by the glaciers”. When she anxiously asked him “Where are the glaciers?” he replied “Madam, they have gone back to get some more rocks”. Such replies are often the result of ignorance, half-knowledge or impatience or all of these.

The problem with human beings unlike other species is that we are consciously aware and we can also collect, store and retrieve data and reuse them. This faculty along with our intellectual thinking and reasoning powers hamper us from having humility to accept the mere fact that there are many unknown as well as unknowable elements to life as a whole and even in our individual lives.

We either act or react according to what we want, what we can and what we are destined to. At different times either one of these three predominates i.e. what we want, we can we are destined to do.

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