Everyday in our life, we will learn something new either we realize or not. We gain the knowledge through our own experiences as well as other people’s experiences. From those experiences, we learn which are right or wrong. When we get the knowledge, how can we recognise when we have made progress in the search for knowledge? This essay will be discussed two areas of knowledge, Arts and Natural Science. This essay will discuss how Natural Science and Arts made progress in the context of Scientist and Artists themselves as well as in the context of a knower in the public.
Yes, we can recognise that we have made progress in some areas of knowledge if we can first measure the expansion of the knowledge. We measure the expansion of the new knowledge by comparing it with the present knowledge.
In Natural Science, we measure the expansion of the new knowledge by comparing it with the present knowledge. If the new knowledge has more benefit compare to the present knowledge, we consider we have made progress in this area. We can say that we recognise we have made progress in the search for knowledge because we can see the benefit of the new knowledge.
Here, we take an example of X-ray. Wilhelm Roentgen was the one who found X-ray accidently. He did not know what kind of ray was it, so, he called it X-ray. This was the new knowledge that he discovered at that time. The other scientists made further research about X-ray. They compare X-ray (new knowledge) with the present knowledge, which is light because they found that X-ray is one form of light. Therefore, they compare the properties of X-ray with the properties of light. Then, the benefit of X-ray was determined. One of them is X-ray have high penetrating power. Other researches were made, now, the X-ray is used in medical field. We use X-ray to see the structure of the bones in the body. Besides, X-ray made progress as it is used not only in medical field but also in automotive industry as automatic X-ray inspection. Here, the knowledge expands and we realize the expansion by comparing it with the present knowledge and we can see the benefit of the new knowledge.
However, what if there is no benefit of the new knowledge? With the help from the latest technology, the experts found that there is one part of the intestine in human body that called appendix. When they made more research, it is find surprisingly that the appendix has no benefit and if it is remove from the body, there is no negative impact. Yes, it helps for those who has appendix problem if they need to remove it but for whose have no appendix problem, so far, does it means that this discovery is not knowledge to them? It is indeed knowledge and new progress that we know it gives no negative affect. On the other hand, I would like to think that it must have good reason why God created it. It is right that we still need to do more and more research before we make a new progress that is to know its function and its benefit.
Can we measure the progress in the search for knowledge in arts? In arts, we still measure the expansion of the art by comparing the new piece of art with the past and present arts. For us to recognise that we have made progress in the search for knowledge in arts, we can see it in two ways, from the satisfaction of the artist who produces the arts and the acceptance from the audience. We know that in arts, there is no absolute truth. Everything can be real in arts. So, here, we can say the expansion of the arts can be seen from the heart of the artist and the audience because both of them may not have the same opinion.
Imagine that an artist starts painting pictures and sell them on a street. Then, the artist tries his best to produce more and more pictures that he satisfies until he can display his pieces of arts at art exhibition. After joining the art exhibition, he becomes popular and his paintings become well known around the world. The artist must really feel content with himself because he and his paintings has been recognised from on a street to the art exhibition. In the eyes of the artist who produces the arts, he must be really satisfy because his pieces of arts expand and made progress from the street to around the world. We compare that the piece of art that at first produce on a street now being presented through art exhibition. Before this, the painting just known at the street but now, it becomes popular around the world. This can be the measurement that his content is progressing, his recognition is progressing and the sale of his painting is also progressing. However, what if the audiences do not accept that piece of art? Even though the artist feels content with his piece of art, it means that his content is progress, but if the audiences do not have the same opinion, the artist cannot make progress in his recognition and sales on painting. If the artist produces many paintings but the audiences do not buy or accept them, the artist cannot join the art exhibition. Therefore, for the artist to recognise that they have made progress, they need to consider the opinion and acceptance from the audiences.
In any progress made while seeking for knowledge, we will discover more about the advantages and the disadvantages of the subject. When we find more disadvantages, can we claim that we have made progress in that area of knowledge?
In natural science, we take the example of X-ray. About X-ray, we know that we have made progress in the knowledge about it. X-ray gives good impact such as with X-ray, we can see the structure of the bones. X-ray helps the doctors to determine the bone’s condition of the patients. Then, the doctor can decide what to do next. X-ray makes everything easier for the doctors and patients. The discovery of X-ray brings very good impact in medical field. However, X-ray also brings harm to the people around it, who expose to it. Too much uses of X-ray can lead to the formation of cancer. This means, if the patient undergoes too much X-ray test, he/she will have higher tendency to get cancer. The same thing happens to the doctor or nurse who conduct the X-ray test. He/she is exposed to the X-ray for a long period. Thus, he/she can get cancer. If we do not find ways to overcome the danger of exposure to X-ray, this will bring more harm than good. But, with X-ray, it gives a lot of knowledge about one’s health. That has lots of benefit. Therefore, it is considered as the knowledge made progress.
Progress in arts, for example in photography, there is progress from 2D photography to 3D photography. While the arts make progress into 3D, it brings disadvantages when it produces pornography. There are many form of pornography, one of them is pornography in motion pictures. Although photography in 3D brings good impact in arts, as it makes art more realistic but with the present of pornography, it brings negative physiological effect to the society. One of them is it leads to anti-social attitudes and behavior to the person who loves pornography. “Male viewers tend to be more aggressive toward women, less responsive to the pain and suffering of rape victims, and more willing to accept various myths about rape”.(Anderson, 1992). Besides, “pornography leads men and women to experience conflict, suffering, and sexual dissatisfaction”. (Anderson, 1992).
In both areas of knowledge, natural science and arts, we can recognize we have made progress in the search for knowledge by comparing the new knowledge with the present knowledge. In natural science, if we find the benefit of the knowledge when we compare it with the present knowledge, then we can recognize that we have made progress. Although there might be disadvantages of that knowledge but as long as the benefits if more, we can still consider that the knowledge expand. While in arts, we recognize we have made progress when the artist satisfies with the piece of art.