Role of Knowledge for Meaning and Purpose

“The whole point of knowledge is to produce both meaning and purpose in our personal lives.” To what extent do you agree with this statement?

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Curious mind, has a zeal to understand what is going on in the surrounding , let it be a natural event or phenomenon or people around, this understanding developed is what I assume frames the basis of knowledge. To quench this thirst provides the necessary fuel required to move on in personal lives. Knowledge provides the purpose and meaning to lead ones personnel life , while saying personal life I mean, the life of a person as guided by him or herself under his or her own instinct, in very own way-not forcefully guided by others rather willfully adopted to lead the personnel life. The question is how a person will drive his life in a specific way? One of the obvious answers could be by having knowledge of what is best for him. This leads to discuss the reason and emotion as the two Ways of Knowing, supported by the Areas of knowledge fueled by ethics and Natural sciences. The essay will try to understand how the reasoning charges the emotion to lead life in a particular way under the umbrella of Natural sciences in an ethical way, by considering the logical arguments related to it with the help of examples as far as possible.

While emotion is a natural instinctive state of mind deriving from ones circumstances, moods or relationship with others, Reason is the cause, explanation or justification for an action or event, reasoning and emotions are closely connected, the decision making relies on emotions, this implies that life is guided by reasoning and emotions, reasoning helps us to foresee the consequences and to judge if the action makes sense, yet what ‘makes sense’ depends upon the emotion.

People do not practice any activity without active or passive purpose. They don’t waste time and energy purposelessly specially, a regular exercise of getting knowledge for more than a quarter of their life,Struggling in schools and colleges- investing money,time andenergy. There is Reason behind;true,sometimes the knowledge has a direct and well known purpose whereas sometimes the academic knowledge has some passive purpose but all these knowledge are meant to shape the life of the gainer and struggler for knowledge. The quest of finding the fact about malaria, a deadly disease was, to understand the reason the cause, and its cure, it took long time before the facts got established and a possible treatment was discovered leading to the invention of the medicine.Was this without a purpose? Was there an emotion attached behind, to save the whole human kind? I opine, the pain and sufferings of the patients may have fuelled the research to some extent as well. The natural science and its knowledge are all full with reason and purpose behind all scientific discoveries and inventions and endeavor. True, while trying to find out something purposefully people get extra, even un-associated knowledge of some other type or class which may or may not have an immediate use and purpose in their eyes, for the time being.But the graphic detail of it, remains saved in their mind and is utilized somewhere else in due course of time. or even if unutilized the knower is well aware of the latent information, to keep this piece of work in his brain, so as to utilize it some other time thus, knowledge has two forms namely an active and passive knowledge. It may also be noted that sometimes reason gets defeated by emotions attached to the purpose, a child’s repeated demand of cold drinks while suffering with cold and flu is accepted by father, at this point the knowledge question is, why this acceptance? Possibly, not because of reason but emotion!

Talking about the natural science, why do scientists invest their time and brain in new research? Without, any point in their brain? Then what do they do sitting and observing? Till when and why, answering these questions frames the overall purpose of them being there. And these are the knowledge question as well, any new research cannot be carried out in physics or chemistry or biology unless there is a reason behind it, the people from management studies and sciences know it much better, when they say that the most important work for a successful activity is: setting the Goal breaking it into small achievable targets, and then working for the sake of those targets.One by one, to finally achieve the goal, and thus sort out the overall purpose. Scientific research are also done in the same fashion, by setting up goals breaking it into pieces and sequential steps, all forming important steps to reach a solution of the problem, a big tunnel cannot be made or a big mountain cannot be broken or brought to ground without any purpose. Knowledge establishes facts and information are devised from this fact to help understand life and surroundings in a more refined way which thus provides a better living environment. Now the question is what if there is no purpose behind any peace of quest and there is no curious mind working behind a given idea or set of ideas, will the brain still be working will their still be an idea or creativity from nowhere? Where to start for what when how and many more questions will stand still without any straight or creative answer. So how the quest will take form and why?Another important point worth mentioning out here is the famous instant from Sir Isaac Newton’s life when he wandered as why the apple is falling down on the ground and not going up once it is broken from its branch, which leads to the famous and useful theory of gravitation. This incidence was not only once occurring rather a routine natural process that no one actually cared so no purpose and meaning for the people from normal walk of life, so a wandering but purposeful wanderer is needed to really bring meaning and purpose, to shape up knowledge. Or is there any counter claim? Supposing that Mr. Newton was sitting and thinking or dreaming something else at the time of this falling apple, paying no attention to this phenomenon of nature, then what would have happened? The answer is, whatever but not the theory.

Ethics is another important area of knowledge which needs to ponder under this debate of knowledge meaning and purpose. Human coordination towards other humans and towards the nature is another philosophical area, which never works without any relationship between purpose, meaning and knowledge. How an ethical rule is defined and or established unless the raw material, a piece of past experience or a smallest of fact is available to the genuine thinkers in this field?Human mind starts working in an active way only with an input of purpose so in here if the main purpose and the meaning are missing from the whole fury of knowledge then nothing as knowledge takes shape.

While wandering through wild purposelessly people get involved in watching the plants and trees with highest degree of curiosity only if they have interest in watching and gaining some active or passive purpose behind it others may find interest in watching animals or birds out there. Now if their interest is towards human and ethics the perspective will be different then someone interested in animals and animal protection as compared to someone else who is interested in the delicate balance between all these factors and the new ethical theory or principle formulated will be different from all these theorist and philosophers of ethics.

Having said this, we may discuss the academic knowledge as acquired by the scholars at school and colleges, they will have better approach towards their studies, if they have the knowledge and understanding behind their subject of endeavor, if they know the real reason behind the struggle in studies, they will excel in their field as compared to those who are trying to study just for the sake of studying. This is the reason why preface and introduction to the book is written, and written to be placed on the front page. Students undertaking professional qualification always record high percentage of passing out as compared to those who are pursuing a general academic course where the pass percent is comparatively low.

Thus to sum up knowledge is always acquired with a purpose and meaning in life and not in vain , I fully agree with the statement, and personally gaining knowledge for me is only possible if there is direct and indirect purpose leading to the meaning in life. This provides the necessary fuel and zeal required to continue the endeavor and struggle towards the successful assimilation of knowledge.







5) Eileen Dombrowski, Lena Rotenberg,Mimi Bick. 2007. Theory of knowledge , Course Companion Oxford University Press.