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Knowledge and Knower – The Two Sides of the Same Coin
Imagine that you have visited a dietician to consult with him about reducing your weight. However, you are surprised to see that he is very overweight. He is an extremely good fellow who has all the knowledge in the world about losing weight. He explains all the methods to lose weight.
Will you trust his advice?
The answer seems to be no for most people. The first thought that comes to your mind is that if this person is really a good dietitian, why can’t he reduce his weight?
You simply cannot trust his knowledge.
Knowledge and Knowledge
Logically speaking, there is no relationship between knowledge and knower. After all, if the same knowledge or advice is given to you by a fit and healthy person, you would have no difficulty in accepting the advice. But here was a man advising you to be fit, but he himself is unfit.
People have a hard time separating knowledge from knower. In fact, the two are believed to be so inseparable that you can reconstruct one from the other. We have reconstructed images of Jesus and Buddha from the knowledge they gave to the world. Hindus have reconstructed pictures of Ram, Krishna, Shiva, Vishnu, Brahma etc based on the knowledge they are associated with, no one had seen them, yet their pictures are in every temple. It is thought that their portraits were also not taken during their lifetime, most people believe the authenticity of these photos as their personalities and the knowledge they gave.
People know from their own experience that Jesus Christ must have been a thin person, dressed in simpler clothes, with a beard because he would not care about his appearance. Similarly, people conceive of the Buddha as the man of peace, meditating on enlightenment and seeking knowledge from within.
What is Knowledge?
Plato defined knowledge as “justified true belief.” His definition of knowledge recognizes that belief and truth are not sufficient for knowledge; that knowledge is subject to true beliefs. This means that knowledge is actually a form of belief that has been found to be true by the knower.
For example, if you have knowledge that exercise is good for health, it is because you believe that this statement ie “exercise is good for health” as it must have been proven true in your experience. Just imagine, if you had noticed that most people who exercised got sick more, you would not have received such knowledge. Even if you had noticed that people are equally likely to get sick with or without exercise, you would never have believed in such “knowledge”.
Thus, having a special knowledge means that you not only believe in the knowledge, but also that you have found the truth based on your own experience or based on the experience of someone you trust. People are quick to reject knowledge if their beliefs are proven false in their real life. For example, if you believed that daily prayer to God could cure cancer, and you watched your friend die of cancer despite daily prayer, you cannot have that knowledge.
Knowledge is transformed
Knowledge is so powerful that it can easily be said that man is known by the knowledge he has. It is because; knowledge is so rooted in the soul that no one can challenge it. Everyone follows knowledge as a slave follows his master.
If you really know that daily exercise is necessary for your health, there is no way you can avoid your daily exercise. If at all, most people do not follow a daily exercise routine despite having such knowledge, it is because they have seen that many people who are healthy do not exercise every day and many people who do exercise every day are unhealthy. They themselves may realize that throughout their lives, they remained healthy despite not doing any exercise.
However, if they fall ill and the medicines do not cure them and the doctor advises them to take daily excises to cure the disease, the same person can start following the routine as he believes in the doctor. If he is cured of his disease by daily exercise, he himself begins to believe this statement and the same becomes his knowledge.
Thus experience can change knowledge as it can break many old beliefs and create new ones.
Knowledge must succeed like man
All human beings know this secret of man that no one does anything against the knowledge he has. Therefore, they closely observe the synergy between knowledge and the known as the knower of one automatically discovers the other.
Thus knowledge becomes a person in real life. It has to succeed in the competition of different types of knowledge. Winning the race is the only way to prove that the knowledge is authentic. If the knower becomes successful, knowledge wins the race. Mahatma Gandhi once humbly accepted it
I have nothing new to teach the world. Truth and nonviolence are as old as the hills. All I have done is to try experiments in both on the widest possible scale.
However, even modern people accepted “truth and non-violence” only because Gandhi gained success by following these principles. Had he failed, these principles would never have been accepted by the world.
Thus the success of knowledge is actually the success of man (the knower). Thus the knowledge of truth and non-violence was personified in Gandhi. It was accepted because Gandhi succeeded in the same world with competing knowledges like violence, racism, imperialism. Imagine if World War II had been won by Hitler, the principles of Autocracy, Racialism, Fascism, Nazism would have become indisputable principles for the modern world and no one would have spoken the truth and non-violence.
Knowledge is a living thing
Knowledge is not something that is written in books with words and frozen in time. Knowledge is always alive as it is always proved by all knowers of knowledge. The knower has no choice as he is forced to follow the knowledge he has. Therefore knowledge is always on the test. It is born, reaches its climax and then dies only after a new knowledge has been born with a different name, but which bears a close resemblance to it. It has its own life as it often survives even after the death of the knower. Almost all religions like Buddhism, Christianity and Islam become powerful only after the death of their founder. However, they all represented a person who personified knowledge in human form.
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