How is knowledge gained? What are the sources? To what extent might these vary according to age, education, and cultural background? As we grow old we will continue to learn new things in life, weather it’s how to ride a bike or learn about our heritage and certain religions. We constantly increase our knowledge in various ways to help us progress further and develop our brains more which in turn will help us develop ourselves. Of course we will learn from the media, books or from other people but in order to process information and knowledge from these sources we have to already know how to read, how to reason and who to trust.
Whatever we pursue in life we have to look for ways to expand and increase our knowledge. For example increasing our knowledge in a certain subject such as biology, we will be might be able to learn different things about the human body so then we can progress and maybe become a doctor or even a nurse. By increasing our knowledge we grasp a better understanding of certain things and we gained a better ability and a greater intelligence in that particular area. Some of the sources of knowledge include reason, intuition and instinct. Growing up as a Bermudian I will learn about my heritage and my background information from my parents.
I will learn about my ancestry and how things use to be in the past and how much it has changed. Because of my cultural background I will know that my native language is English and I will be brought up learning English. Here I will reason because of my belief and faith. I will learn what has not only caused changes today but how it has affected life today and how the world is benefiting or suffering. Knowledge can be gained from basic experience or empiricism, intuition, observation. It is not proved that we possess knowledge from birth but from young you do learn several things such as reading and eating.
From birth, everyday you observe your mother and father do certain jobs such as cook or read or even get dressed. As you grow older you will begin to learn how to do the things that you once were not able to do. For example, when you are young, your parents dress you but once you become old enough you will learn how to dress yourselves, because your parents are showing you were certain pieces of clothing go, so you will not be putting socks on your hands or underpants on your head, you will know exactly were the clothing goes because you learn from your parents and you observe what parts of the body they put their clothing.
It’s the same with when your parents teach you how to use the bathroom or take a bath. You learn from young and than with experience you become an expert. People could also come under this category because we learn by watching others and listening to others. We learn by the experience, mistakes and expertise of others. Whatever fields we wish to pursue careers in there are hundreds of people who have enough experience in those particular fields. All you have to do is associate with the experts in the field you wish to gain knowledge about. Experimentation could set in when you are a teen because curiosity sets in.
With age you become curious about knowing certain things, so if someone asks you something you will know about that specific topic. When you are 15 you may become curious about how to ride a bike and what types of bikes there are so when you are 16 you can show off your new bike and maybe even have the best bike. You may also become curious about different fashion icons, wondering what the latest fashion is so that you are not wearing clothes from two years ago and then people teasing you. There is little we can learn by abstract thought. But reason plays a role with observation. Depending on your age you might know more than another person.
So being as I am 16, I may know more then a 6 year old which is just in primary school and also I may know more than a 60 year old with reference to technology. The elderly may know more than me with reference to history because being as they are old they have lived longer so have experienced more situations than me. But they may lack knowledge about the new advances with technology and other advances which have changed for our generation so then we become teachers for them. From experience you are gaining your knowledge from mistakes and use those mistakes to progress further and doing it again rightfully.
With the sources of instinct, when you have an education you are gaining knowledge by reading books, newspapers, or even school text books. You automatically believe that what you are reading and what the teacher in school is telling you is true because you do not have someone to tell you otherwise. Reason could also be considered here because whatever you learn you have to believe it weather it related to religion with reference to what you believe in or school. With the source of reason we are allowed to reason by collecting facts, generalizing and coming to conclusions and making a final judgment.
There are books for every single topic you can think of. So if you are curious about knowing something you could go to the library pick up a book related to the topic you want to know about and you will gain a better understanding of that particular topic. Lets say I wanted to know how and why plants are growing, I will go to the library or school and get a biology text book or a book about plants and I will come to find out that they grow by a process called photosynthesis and that they need water and carbon dioxide to produce glucose (sugar) and oxygen.
Before looking at the book I might just think that the plants grow because of water but after looking and researching I grasp a better understanding about plants and why they grow and maybe even why some are green. For another example, let’s say I want to learn a different language I would have to learn about all the verbs and proper grammar in school so that it’s possible to communicate with other spanish people. Without learning it in class and without the background there is no way I would be able to speak a sentence which is grammatically correct.
With education you begin to “know how” before you actually do something. Although education comes from experience of various mistakes that we make, this is why we have a school which is built for us knowledge aspirants to undergo the same mistakes that we once made and gain another “new” knowledge by our very own experience and share it with the world again. Subjects such as math, geography, chemistry or history, we can not learn by experience but rather by text books and teachers because for history, historical writings can show us the experiences of whom and what lived before our time.
With math and chemistry we can not experience this but rather absorb and practice it in school. Here we have to just believe that what the teacher is teaching is true. For example we learn that 2+2= 4, but weather we know if this is actually true we will never know we just have to believe that it is in fact 4. All the lessons in school help to stimulate or brains ability to enable us to absorb new information because the more we learn, the more areas of interest we will gain. It is not all about the very things we are learning in school but the methodology to gain the knowledge in general.
The teacher can only teach so much, but there are an unlimited number of things we can learn on our own. Education and experience helps us with our “knowledge discovery process”. One helps to teach you to know the world, and the other uses those teachings to help you make sense of the world. If I learn by reading it allows me to learn faster and more efficiently, but if I want to learn something through experience, I may have to wait endlessly for a particular circumstance and experience to take place.