I spent the past week diving into the concept of Knowledge. It turned out to be a rather complex idea that I thoroughly enjoyed exploring and gaining a greater understanding of. There are quite a bit of ideas that I believe are important and relevant to the concept and crafting a succinct definition was quite challenging. I hope you find my thoughts interesting and enjoy the rest of this post.
1. facts, information, and skills acquired by a person through experience or education; the theoretical or practical understanding of a subject.
“a thirst for knowledge”
2. awareness or familiarity gained by experience of a fact or situation.
“the program had been developed without his knowledge”
early 12c., cnawlece “acknowledgment of a superior, honor, worship;” for first element see know (v.). The second element is obscure, perhaps from Scandinavian and cognate with the -lock “action, process,” found in wedlock.
From late 14c. as “capacity for knowing, understanding; familiarity;” also “fact or condition of knowing, awareness of a fact;” also “news, notice, information; learning; organized body of facts or teachings.” Sense of “sexual intercourse” is from c. 1400. Middle English also had a verb form, knoulechen “acknowledge” (c. 1200), later “find out about; recognize,” and “to have sexual intercourse with” (c. 1300); compare acknowledge.
from Proto-Germanic *knew- (source also of Old High German bi-chnaan, ir-chnaan “to know”), from PIE root *gno- “to know.”
*gnō-, Proto-Indo-European root meaning “to know.”
To think of Knowledge as simply the facts and information one has compiled into their brain is a disservice to the complexity this word represents. To truly be knowledgeable, I believe one must not only obtain and store knowledge but approach all information in such a way that allows for “facts” to be updated and revisited over time and realize nothing is certain. Another major element that I believe exists within the definition of knowledge is the concept of self-knowledge. Whether one knows all the information in the world, if they do not take the time to study and learn about the inner workings of their own mind, I do not think they are knowledgeable in the most complete sense. There is also a harmony that must be struck between the stable foundation of knowledge that is required for attaining deeper understanding and the ability to freely update one’s understanding as new experiences and information come to light.
Knowledge: The process of actively seeking information about both the outward environment and the inner self to create a foundation to build on while allowing for adaptation as new experiences occur.
“The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing.”-Socrates
“Without self knowledge, without understanding the working and functions of his machine, man cannot be free, he cannot govern himself and he will always remain a slave.”-George Gurdjieff
I tried to encompass all the aspects of Knowledge into this symbol. The brick-like structure represents the importance of foundation while the circle surrounding it shows the flexible nature that should be present. The sprouting arrows show the necessity of growth, and the multiple directions of the arrows convey the bidirectionality of knowledge and how old information should be revisited.
Seeking truth, I set out
For my quest, I wander about
Asking all for their take
On life and of it, what to make
Many answers I am told
Some are warm, others are cold
The wide array, makes me think
Among all thoughts, exists a link
I now know what I must do,
Look within, to seek what is true
I compare and combine all I find
Creating an oobleck mixture of my mind
Naturally fluid and free it flows
But stable when hit with heavy blows
The painting seen above features a human in the center with a tree growing out from his head with roots growing and surrounding his heart. The tree reaching out from his brain shows how Knowledge is continually growing and the roots spreading towards the heart represent the importance of seeking inner knowledge or knowledge of the self. There are also four rays coming from his arms and legs. These all represent a different aspect important to maintaining Knowledge. The water and wind both show how Knowledge should be fluid and ever-changing. The stone bricks symbolize the foundation that is required for deeper knowledge. The fire shows how to be knowledgeable one needs to occasionally burn or destroy previous knowledge that is no longer true or applicable when new information comes to light.
Questions and Answers
Why is this a value you want to instill in your life?
Developing a love of learning and a drive to become knowledgeable is extremely important in life. I believe that having a greater amount of knowledge allows one to better assess and interact with their environment in every moment of their lives. Gaining more knowledge also allows one to understand other people’s situations and viewpoints which allows for groups and individuals to come together. That being said, these byproducts of developing one’s knowledge are certainly things I want in my life.
What activities bring out this value?
The most obvious activity most people relate to Knowledge is simply learning new information. While this is absolutely at the core of gaining knowledge, there are many other activities that have a great level of importance as well. These include reading and studying new subjects and concepts, meditating and learning about oneself, and challenging information you think to be true. Challenging your beliefs does not mean just jumping around to all kinds of beliefs with no rhyme or reason, but thinking critically about new ideas and allowing the possibility of them becoming integrated into one’s life or replacing existing ideas.
How would the world be different if more people identified more with this ideal?
So much of the hate and negativity in the world is caused by ignorance and the lack of motivation to review and update strongly held beliefs that might be rooted in misinformation. If more people developed a love of learning and the ability to shift what they know is true, the world would certainly be a less divisive place. People would be able to hear all sides of issues and be able to challenge their beliefs and grow together rather than moving further apart.
What image comes to mind when visualizing this ideal?
While visualizing the concept of Knowledge, I think of a seed sprouting out of the soil, growing and maturing. I also think of very complex root structures growing into the ground and creating a stable foundation. I also visualize images of a tree growing and being pruned as it grows (cutting away old or false ideas) and continuing to grow out of the parts that were cut away.
How can people who want to do this first take steps to include it in their daily routine more?
A couple simple things anyone can do to start growing one’s knowledge are to try to learn one new thing a day and meditate for five minutes a day. When I journal at night, I always write one thing that I learned that day that I found interesting. This helps me to have a daily reminder about how one should always strive to learn and grow every day. Meditating for five minutes a day is a great exercise for self-reflection and learning about oneself which is a vital part of the quest for knowledge.
If you have any other questions you think would aid in the understanding and development of future ideals, please leave a comment below!
The following playlist is the beginning of my collection of songs that I believe embody Knowledge:
If you have any other songs you think would fit in the playlist, please leave a comment down below letting me know!
Next Value: Surprise!
I will be taking a small break while I visit my brother and will not be posting another ideal for roughly two weeks. I have not yet decided what ideal to do next and therefore it will be a surprise.
Make Today Your Best Day Yet!
“Life is a series of fresh starts, the frequency of use is up to the individual”~Zak Keller aka amusingmonk~