I believe that the pursuit of knowledge is worth it and that the pursuit of knowledge is a journey each person takes on ones own. Each pursuit of knowledge for each individual is different because each journey reflects the person. This makes it hard to give an answer to this question because every person has reasons for believing whether or not the question holds truth. To try and explain the reason behind why I believe that the pursuit of knowledge is worthwhile is very difficult and complicated because there is no simple answer. I defined knowledge as the facts that were known by a person, but what is knowing really?
To know something one must posses knowledge. According to the “Dictionary of Philosophy of Mind”, knowledge is justified as a true belief. I think to fully understand this statement one must understand all the contents within the statements. Truth is logical and has meaning that is consistent with evidence, any and all perceived circumstances, and with other truth. Meaning is the properties and concepts associated with experience which are ultimately established by use. To do all this thinking one needs a conscious mind. Consciousness is the awareness of self and ones environment.
A mind is any volitional conscious faculty used for perception and cognition. Minds and ideas consist ultimately of matter or something that has mass and occupies space. If this is what knowledge is how do I get it? I believe that I receive my knowledge from authorities such as my teachers and parents. Can knowledge be obtained in any other way? Yes. According to the reading we read in class titled “Knowledge”, knowledge is gained through many ways like authority, senses, reasoning, intuition, and other sources such as: instinct, racial memory, extrasensory perception, anamnesis, supernatural revelation, spiritualism, and occult sources.
Because I get most of my knowledge from others I feel that it may not be true knowledge at all because through others I am gaining knowledge from a secondary source, which comes with bias and perceptions that are made from other points of views other than my own. But because it is all I know it becomes my own point of view out of my own ignorance. It is not true knowledge because the things I am told I have not experienced for myself and therefore I do not know first hand what exactly happened or what to believe as true.
This is because I receive my knowledge from such authority figures it is important to me to find out things for myself. This helps to establish confidence in what I know to be a fact or and opinion. Though because I am accustomed by society to believe what I am told by these authorities, I believe it because someone else believes it and there are no other ways to disprove that what they believe is wrong or right. Through this journey of self discovery and knowledge it helps me prove that the journey to gaining this knowledge is worth it.
It is worth it to me because I am able to realize what I know and what I do not. By recognizing what I had thought I knew as truth and developing doubt about the truth I had once perceived. From this I am able to distinguish between my knowledge and the knowledge of others. From the truth of others I am able to choose and take from my own experiences and create beliefs that are true to my own experiences. The journey to true knowledge is hard and sometimes scary because once I closely examine what it is that I really know I find that I do not know as much as I think I did.
This can be devastating to some but to others such as myself who are searching for their own knowledge it enables us to separate knowledge from what is not really known. From separating these things it enables me to seek and strive to learn and experience things for myself. By experiencing things for myself and clearing the foggy ness that surrounds my knowledge, I am able to know for a fact that I have knowledge and be confident in the fact that I know what I am talking about, perceiving, feeling, and sensing is in fact my own knowledge and not knowledge of others as Descartes did.
This is also similar to the story of “The Allegory of the Cave” by Plato In “The Allegory of the Cave” a man is unshackled from the cave in which he had faced away from the sun only to see shadows. His first action after being unshackled is to turn and face the light (the light represents knowledge) but the light hurts his eyes because it is not what he has believed to be true all his life. He does not want to leave the safety of what he thinks he knows so he has to be dragged up towards the light.
As he goes along he is told everything that he believes is false and only an illusion and the reality of things is explained to him as he goes along. The light from the sun blinds him meaning that all this new knowledge he has now been told he can not believe that it is true because he has only known what he has perceived the world as down in the cave. Slowly he sees objects as they are and begins to question. Finally he is able to see the sun and understand the new knowledge that is.
He does not want to go back to living in darkness and shadows of the truth because he has seen the world as it is and had a new perception that is better than his old one. This shows that the journey is worthwhile because down each road of life I learn and experience new things, some good and others bad, but because have experienced and recognized these things fro myself I would not want to turn back and wish I had not known what is really true. This is all because what I know and what I have directly experienced makes me who I am and enables me to change for the better.
The Story of the “Allegory of the Cave” is like the journey that everyone will eventually make and the journey that I am making as I write this. I am able to see the stages that the man in the story had to go through to gain knowledge and truth. Though trying to gain knowledge and truth is painful it is not with out its rewards. The rewards of knowledge are insurmountable because now that full knowledge is gained and confusion has lifted people will be able to build on a better foundation of knowledge leading to better sense of self and the world around my self as I perceive it and not as other do.
In my journey according to “The Allegory of the Cave” I am in the stage where I am questioning what is being told to me. I think for each person the length they spend in each stage of realization and gaining knowledge is different. The length of time spent in each stage also has to do with how provincial a person is and how willing someone is to learn what knowledge is to them. I feel that I have not reached the end of my journey and am not sure if I ever will but I will always be able to keep in mind what I have discovered as the knowledge to myself and continue on in my journey until I reach my own state of self actualization.
To me the Journey is worthwhile. The journey is worthwhile because I am able to seek and gain knowledge as the man in the cave did , know for myself what I knowledge I really posses, seek to know what I do not know, and strive to understand what I had found to exist within myself as my own knowledge. Though doubting and trying to figure out what I thought was a fact I am able to continue along down the road to self discovery and actualization.