The acquisition of knowledge has been one of the most important topics in philosophy for thousands of years. What is knowledge, what are the boundaries of what we can know, and what is the function of knowledge in our lives?
In ancient philosophy the quest for knowledge was not the same as practical science, in which knowledge is acquired in order to advance technology. Like the word philosophy implies is that it’s about having a certain desire or passion towards knowledge; the knowledge is not a means to an end, but the end in itself. Philosophy is a science that observes everything, including itself. This is why early philosophers defined philosophy as the science of sciences.
The purpose of this post is not to go through the many different theories that are out there, nor is it to add one of my own, or judge any of them as right or wrong. Every philosopher has graced the world with interesting ideas, and all have in common that they’re generally well thought out. I believe that every philosopher has a valid point, especially when you look at the time at which one finds oneself in, because opinions and ideas are often in close relation to the zeitgeist in which they were formed.
Contradicting theories can both be true at the same time, simply because everything is relative, and with rhetoric you can validate or invalidate anything. I think that’s the reason why it is most enlightening to realize that opposites don’t exclude each other, but rather complement each other. We live in a dimension of duality where both sides of the coin exist, and true wisdom is to recognize and acknowledge them equally. The challenge is finding a balance between them by being able to move across the whole spectrum of possibilities without prejudice or preconception.
I myself believe that seeking knowledge for the sake of itself is just a mental way to expand your consciousness, like a meditation. A lot of Eastern philosophy is the result of insights during meditation, because it’s one of the most direct ways to expand your mind. Philosophers have a need to understand the essence of things, to see the big picture of how everything is connected together.
In principle there are two ways to acquire knowledge: By observing inside, or outside. The one important thing is that you don’t apply any wishful thinking, because we see what we believe. To be as objective as it gets is simply by observing reality as it is, and not how you would like it to be. This is the basis of the biggest problem in the modern Western scientific paradigm, because certain ideas are simply not accepted by our cultural standard. Even when the evidence is blatantly obvious, people deny reality for the sake of keeping their own belief system intact.
To expand your mind is to obtain knowledge, and to obtain knowledge is to expand your mind. In essence we are consciousness, and the moment we acquire knowledge, which is also a form of consciousness, we expand the essence of who we are. It is not uncommon that people feel like different persons after reading a good book, or watching an enlightening documentary. To expand your mind with knowledge is a very intense way of self development, because it immediately resonates with a part of you as it triggers the subconscious and blends together with who you are.
Acquiring knowledge is not just a mental process, because it can also be a very physical sensation. I would even say that real knowledge always comes with a physical experience, else it’s probably just a mind trip. When you take into account that the body is a projection of the mind, it makes sense that you can experience knowledge as a physical sensation. Often I feel the sensation of knowledge inside my body even before I understand it mentally. I’m quite sure that you’ll have similar experiences, especially when you become more aware of these phenomena.
What I’m describing above is basically how intuition works; your body (read: subconscious self) understands something without relying on the brain in the 5 sense reality. One of the most important portals that connect our human consciousness to higher dimensions is the pineal gland, or third eye. Today I saw a video in which a researcher explained that the pineal gland releases certain chemicals which trigger the near death experience that some people have had when they found themselves on the edge of life. In principle it’s a way to open our perception to different levels of reality.
What I’m saying is that you don’t have to die in order to open up your ability to perceive beyond the 5 senses. Especially in a world that’s rapidly changing, and will keep on doing so in the coming years, it’s never a bad thing to gain a better understanding of who you are and why you’re here. It’s actually quite essential if you want to have any control over your life. Knowledge is power.
Like I mentioned before it’s absolutely necessary to have an open mind, and ask yourself how far you’re willing to go to find truth. Some say ignorance is bliss, but that’s just delaying the inevitable. To try to escape from reality is a waste of time, because it only takes energy and doesn’t lead anywhere. Besides, your life here on Earth is short and it should be a priority to face your demons, if only for the fact that there’s no other way to liberate yourself from misery.
The purpose of knowledge is to expand your consciousness, develop yourself, and to realize the life you want to live. Start with yourself to make the world a better place. Act upon knowledge.