Know, Knowledge: To know is to be able to understand the world around us. But true knowledge comes only from facts, not assumptions. Humanity’s greatest resource is the ability to think and reason. The human mind is capable of dealing with logic and reason in an abstract and intangible way that is unmatched in any other life form. This unique ability to appreciate and catalog the world around us as well as to contemplate complex ideas which only exist in our minds should be used to improve the world we live in. Reach for the stars—understand everything you can—knowledge is a universal currency. To know is to be informed and educated. Do awareness and observation precede knowledge? What and how much do you file in your memory; and is there always room for more? Is knowledge the best tool for coping with all of life’s problems? Is knowledge a predecessor for everything that happens in our lives?
Acquiring knowledge is a primary activity throughout life. Scientists, artists and lay-people search for knowledge by attempting to better understand everything from scientific discoveries to how one’s personal creed for living can be changed for the better. Knowledge is the mixture of factual information with experience, but presumed knowledge is not actual knowledge because the facts and experiences on which it is based are faulty or inappropriate.
For example, from the beginning of the Iraq war, the world was told by America’s leaders that Saddam Hussein had, both, weapons of mass destruction and a role in the 9/11 terror attacks in New York. After many years of searching, the weapons and the connection between Iraq and the terrorists was never found or proven. As a result, some Americans viewed the insinuations as merely propaganda. Certainly, one can argue that America’s leadership was knowledgeable concerning how to ensure immediate public support for invading Iraq and in quickly getting the “Patriot” Act and other laws passed to make it easier for the government to “monitor” people. In the midst of panic and fear (see “Fear” Blog), people are more susceptible to accepting whatever explanation and course of action is handed down from their leaders. In light of this, is it so surprising that Iraq, far from the stable democracy that politicians envisioned creating, is about to fracture from civil war and unrest? No, it is not surprising when historical facts concerning Middle-Eastern cultures and regime change are factored into our “knowledge” base.
Similarly, fictional information and exaggeration often enter into our own individual quests for knowledge and personal philosophy. Whether it is based on untruths, inadequate experience and/or one’s bias, this presumed knowledge fails to withstand logical analysis and one’s honest appraisal of its value. This false knowledge lacks the truth that would otherwise enlighten and enrich our lives. And, frequently, false knowledge works against our abilities to understand and co-exist with one another in a manner that is satisfying and sustainable.