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Sivashanmugam Palaniappan

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What is the mechanism by which human knowledge expands?

Almost everyone talks on knowledge expansion. But, the exact mechanism by which human knowledge expands is unclear. Though the "knowledge expansion manual" gives a very vague idea, I like to know the exact mechanism by which human knowledge expands.

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    Dec 13 2011: To truly expand your knowledge of the world try looking through the eyes of a child.
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    Nov 27 2011: I believe expansion of knowledge begins with desire. As Natasha says..."Knowledge is everywhere"... we recognize and embrace it when the mind is ready, and to me, readiness means an open mind and heart which embraces new information.

    I LOVE Austin's description of the "mechanism":>)
    "Assumption- We are able to use our intuition, logic, and intelligent thought when we analyze.Our brain develops --> we process our initial surroundings --> we experience new environments --> we re-analyze our surroundings with new insight [because of the new environment] --> we experience more new environments --> we re-analyze again generating more knowledge --> (cycle continues)"

    We can go through life NOT using this "mechanism" by which we learn and grow...perhaps being stuck in certain worldviews and beliefs...OR...we can continually be aware of the cycle of learning, and embrace it...it's a choice:>)
  • Nov 26 2011: Knowledge is everywhere, but it comes to us when our mind is ready.
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    Dec 13 2011: Hello Siva (is that an appropriate contraction for your name?),

    I would say that the mechanism by which human knowledge expands is the same mechanism by which science advances: Try, try a lot. And fail, fail a lot.

    I call it the philosophy of the whale and i have adopted it for many things throughout my life. A blue whale must filter patiently ton after ton of sea water in order to get a few pounds of krill each round. Not very efficient indeed.

    But that method and patience produces the largest animal (at least the largest vertebrate) that has ever lived on this planet

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      Dec 13 2011: Great metaphor Andres...works for me! I find that with my own explorations and desire to expand, I am constantly sifting through information, and it absolutely does take patience:>)
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    Dec 13 2011: Communication is the answer. Be it language ,speech ,art ,music, architecture these and others are the mechanisms we use to further knowledge.Perhaps I`m missing the jest of your question but this is how I see the answer without being to philsophical.
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      Dec 13 2011: So, Gerry Atricks, is the answer to the question..."what is the mechanism by which human knowledge expands?"...Everything?
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        Dec 13 2011: yeah pretty much !!!! Sometimes less is more... when furthering knowledge.. Sometimes when I am talking with my 6yr old grandson I forget he is like a sponge. He knows things that I have difficulty understanding. after I have given some long winded explanation . he gives me a look and says `` Grandpa I know that, but what about this`` I am left humbled and searching for the things he knows. One day when he was 3 , he had a toy named Cars .He read to me the caption on the box. ``I am Speed`` Then without a break with a glint in his eye he said ``Speed am I `` I have never questioned his insight since.
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          Dec 14 2011: Yeah Gerry...pretty much I agree!!! I think/feel that percieving the world with the curiosity and unconditional love of a child, is very much a part of the "mechanism by which human knowledge expands". One of the difficulties, at times, is that as adults, we put on the "adult masks" and "adult protective mechanisms", which actually prevent us from exploring everything in the moment. As adults, we sometimes think we "know" all the answers, and we therefor limit the possibility of assimilating more information. Perhaps the most important part of the mechanism by which we can expand and grow, is to explore with the curiosity, open heart and open mind of a child?

          Lovely story about the teaching ability of your grandson, and the learning ability of your "self":>)
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    Nov 26 2011: Having endless curiosity..............
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    Nov 26 2011: Knowledge is all inclusive. I though it is the universals which helps us to see the particulars.
  • Nov 22 2011: I think we can agree that in broad terms, the interaction between our neurons and the environment is how all human knowledge expands.

    Assumption- We are able to use our intuition, logic, and intelligent thought when we analyze.

    Our brain develops --> we process our initial surroundings --> we experience new environments --> we re-analyze our surroundings with new insight [because of the new environment] --> we experience more new environments --> we re-analyze again generating more knowledge --> (cycle continues)
  • Nov 21 2011: communication-thought-assimilation-communication.
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    Nov 27 2011: Knowledge expands through experience, direct experience. The more relevant question becomes how do we separate data from knowledge that leads to wisdom or wise action? As E. O. Wilson says in his seminal book, Consilience ( the unity of knowledge) "We are drowning in data while starving for wisdom".

    So if I may tweak the topic just a tad, how does knowledge lead to wisdom and how do we separate that from meaningless data?

    What is the evolutionary process that informs us that is grounded in wise comprehension and action?

    Personally, the evidence is overwhelming that we have little understanding or commitment towards wise actions or wisdom as human suffering, poverty and violence seeming to be increasing in spades worldwide. If this isn't the best test for wisdom and wise action, what is? Is the knowledge of being a Nuclear scientist the same as being a solar photovoltaic engineer? Is there any difference? What is the essence of that difference? How does that inform us regarding knowledge, wisdom and where we are collectively heading?
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    Nov 27 2011: @Natasha Nikulina:
    //Knowledge is everywhere, but it comes to us when our mind is ready.//

    Knowledge is within you or in the objects which you see?

    Knowledge is within you, not in the objects about which you have knowledge
    • Nov 27 2011: "Knowledge is within you, not in the objects about which you have knowledge"

      I think in both. I believe that the whole universe is conscious, but maybe not conscious of itself, we can conscious it through our senses, intuition, mind.
      What I'd like to stress that we have to learn to see. "...when our mind is ready." We need to recognise something we have always known, I agree with you ,it's within. The very word 'recognise' means 'know again' , implying that what you somewhen known before, now you have.
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        Nov 27 2011: I agree Natasha, that we get information from everything and everyone around us, and we have the ability to evaluate information all the time.

        I also agree that it is a matter of "recognising" or "remembering". I believe we have the information we are seeking most of the time. We need to be aware and mindful in our "self":>)
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          Dec 13 2011: Natasha and Colleen, if I am hearing correctly what you are saying, than I am with you on this one.
          The mechanism is "Imagination", that is the first step to everything. It is the foundation of all that is conceived.
          "Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited."--
          Albert Einstein said that, but no one ever broke it down for the layperson any better than John Lennon.
          I think it might be safe to say; pragmatics and dogmatics are restricted from advancing any further in their knowledge without first imagining that they are able...
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        Dec 13 2011: Hi Tim,
        I agree that knowledge can sometimes be limiting...when/if we believe the knowledge we have at the moment, is the only knowledge. When we can "imagine" that there may be knowledge beyond what we already think we know, then we are using our imagination to move further with the exploration? In order to do ANYTHING, we have to believe that it may be possible.
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    Nov 26 2011: Are you asking for the neuroscience of knowledge receiving, memorizing and connection?


    What are you specifically asking? Knowledge is too broad; not burning your hand twice on a hot shove is due to recorded knowledge in a sense.
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    Nov 22 2011: experience.
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    Nov 22 2011: More specifically, I'd say that the best mechanism is scepticism and criticism. Tolerance and agreeing leads into indifference after some time. Only disagreeing thanks to the counter-action it provokes, tends towards the transformation of the old condition into a new one; only then is it possible to abandon the dogma and spread knowledge.
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      Dec 13 2011: Thought provoking response Jedrek. Now, I see the truth in what you say. There is a definite dichotomy/conflict between dogma and scepticism. But next the question arises - so why does dogma exist? And really, isn’t dogma just someone else’s truth that we disagree with?
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    Nov 22 2011: How can one expand the knowledge about anything?
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    Nov 21 2011: It expands through institutions such as schools, governments protecting you from religious or dogmatic authority, and scientific academies.