Sunday, May 9, 2010

The Quest of Knowledge

The Quest of Knowledge

Traditionally, among the learned people, knowledge is considered as a belief that has its basis either on the sense perception or on a justified valid reasoning. This however amounts to reduce the innumerable ways in which knowledge comes to us. To say that knowledge either comes to us through senses experience or through a rational analysis of the data is to deny the various ways we can access Being.

In our common language what we call extrasensory perception is something unbelievable, non-scientific and a representative of morbid mentality. However, this kind of evaluation of the various modes of knowledge undermines them as extrasensory or supra rational and hides our potentials from our own vision.

The traditional concept of knowledge is erroneous in the sense that it gives extraordinary value to senses and reason. Knowledge comes to us from sources that are beyond senses or reason. It does not mean that we have to defy reason and senses. Rather it means that the knowledge that guides us in our daily pursuits includes other modes of knowing as well. In fact knowledge cannot be restricted to senses and reason alone; there are modes that are extrasensory and non-rational.

Sine we cannot provide any scientific justifications for certain claims about knowing certain facts therefore we think that such pieces of knowledge are mere illusions and depend upon chance. We don’t consider the fact that such extrasensory perceptions are of prime significance for us. We decide not merely on the basis of our sense experience and reason but on the basis of a knowledge that convinces us to do some thing on the basis of our feelings.

Reason is an activity that requires time to ponder over a reality that presents itself to our senses and mind as unchanging for a period of time. We can find a rational solution to a problem if we think about it and see the relationships of different elements. Rational knowledge comes to us through reflecting on an issue of our concern. However, at times we know about things that do not present themselves to our senses or to our rational faculties.

There are many instances in literature when authors describe the knowledge of some thing as lying above rationality, scientism and senses. For instance in Poe’s Tell Tale Heart, the old man sensed some thing in his room for which there was no explanation. Poe however was convinced that he was aware of the death coming to him and, it is this extrasensory perception that woke him up.

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