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Should Knowledge Produce Meaning and Purpose?

1507 words (6 pages) Essay in Psychology

06/07/17 Psychology Reference this

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“The whole point of knowledge is to produce both meaning and purpose in our personal lives.” To what extent do you agree with this statement?

“The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly without fear for newer and richer experience” – Eleanor Roosevelt.

To define the purpose of life in my opinion would be impossible; in order to provide an idea of what the purpose of life would be we need to base it on an individual or group of people. If I would state my own purpose of life, I would base it around faith, emotion and reason. I come from an Islamic background and I believe that I was put on this earth to worship god and to be tested and as a reward after my death is to spend my life in heaven. “Faith is to believe what you do not see; the reward of this faith is to see what you believe.”- Saint Augustine. If we look at it from an emotional point of view, my main goal is to achieve emotional peace, happiness, love and satisfaction from this life. We all carry a reason behind an action; we usually base our reasoning behind our faith and emotions and Mahatma Gandhi, the leader of the Indian independence movement in British between the 2nd of October 1869 – 30th of January 1948 believed and built his movement on religious pluralism. On the other hand, if I would have been judge by an individual or group of individuals that come from different background. they would have seen my purpose of life differently to what I see it being. For example if a western group or individual would see that I come from an Islamic background they would think that the purpose of my life is to become a terrorist and bomb the world in the name of Allah (God) which isn’t necessarily true. I have been saying that we base our purpose of life through religion. So what if you’re Atheist? Does that mean that you have no real purpose in life as you have no reason to believe anything?

Art is the expression of human creative skills and imagination in a visual form. The forms of art branch out to paintings, music, literature and dance… Many people are attracted to certain art as there is an emotional bond between the art piece and the individual. The emotions they gain from these art pieces can develop a understanding of their personal purpose and meaning of life. The famous Italian sculpture Gian Lorenzo Bernini (1598 – 1680) who surpassed Michelangelo. Throughout his art work many people described his abilities to make his art pieces made out of marble and stone come to life incredible. He possessed the ability to depict dramatic narratives with characters showing intense psychological states. His landing piece at his day the “Ecstasy of St Agnes” represented an episode from the life of Saint Teresa as recorded in her spiritual autobiography. The Cornaro family seeming to observe the scene from their boxes and the chapel demonstrates a moment where “divinity intrudes on an earthly body”. Caroline Babcock speaks of Bernini’s melding of sensual and spiritual pleasure in the “Orgiastic” grouping as both international and influential on artists and writers of the day. Irving Lavin said, “Thetransverberationbecomes a point of contact between earth and heaven, between matter and spirit”. And this art piece presented a subjective component as what the Cornaro family felt at that time, a physiological component that Irving Lavin described and a expressive component came from the artist himself as he presented his emotions in his art piece of “Ecstasy of St Agnes”.

However how would the Natural Sciences be without emotions? Well the scientist himself tries to get a sense of self-accomplishment, joy and curiosity to discovering the world around him, this motivates the scientist himself to discover even more to gain the sense of self-accomplishment and joy. However, what if we removed that emotion from the scientists. Well the famous Albert Einstein (1879 – 1955) one of the well-known scientists of his time, his name has become synonymous with genius and creativity, his personal guidance to the US government in 1939 led them to become the only country during the war to poses any nuclear weapons. He believed in the power of imagination in helping to acquire knowledge. Einstein summarised his feelings about his role in the creation of the atomic bomb: “I made one great mistake in my life… when I signed the letter to President Roosevelt recommending that atom bombs be made; but there was some justification – the danger that the Germans would make them.” Because of his actions this may have removed a big chunk of his life. And if that emotion was removed he would of moved on and continued developing his other theories.

To conclude emotion does help us produce both meaning and purpose in personal lives. Similarly with Michelangelo (1571 – 1610) his artwork (David with head of Goliath) ranked one of the most shocking and unique self-portraits in history. As his work had presented a subjective component, physiological component and expressive component that helped the audience and the artist himself to discover who they really are through their emotions

Sense perception is considered to be the aptitudes of sight, hearing, smelling, tasting and touching in a which a body perceives an external stimulus. We mainly rely on our sense to gain knowledge and to understand our surrounding’s. Our abilities to see allow us to move around with bumping into objects, allow us to listen to understand our surrounding’s. however, do our sense perceptions limit the amount of knowledge we gain? Will this affect our personal meaning and purpose in life? Glennie Evelyn born on the 19th of July 1965. By the age of 12, she lost most of her ability to hear. However, what kept her going was her desire, talent and strength of character for music. This allowed her to become eligible to enter the Royal College of music in the city of London, changing the way admission were handle for people who faced disabilities. Glennie continued to grown and soon she started playing at least 100 concerts a year. Even if she lacked a vital sense, that didn’t stop her from developing knowledge about her professional. She has learnt over hundreds of pieces. So we could say even if we had a lack of sense we could still produce knowledge that changed her meaning and purpose of her personal life.

However, through human science we are told differently. According to the neuroscientist Beau Lotto, the founder of the “Lotto lab” who’s studies how we perceive the world around us with our senses and brain. He participated in the TED conference in 2010 and relied on his optical illusions to trick the audience into believing how we couldn’t trust our senses. He presented various images in the conference and proved that our eyes can see different colours based on the distance between the eye and the object, the number of colours surrounding the object because there would have infinite possible colours. Moreover, this provides evidence to seeing isn’t always believing. Similarly, people who are blind, colour blinded or short sighted would see their surrounding’s differently. Moreover, this shows that these people could interpret this knowledge incorrectly and this would be considered as false knowledge. Moreover, this would prove that our sense could limit the amount of knowledge we gain that could help us gain a more meaningful and purposeful life.

To conclude, I would think that our sense would act as barrier to gain knowledge as Beau Lotto said “the brain hasn’t adapted its self to the world around it, we adapted to see the world in a way we want to see it” and I would agree with this. For example if I give you this statement with missing blanks “W at re yo read ng” you would automatically place the letters and see “What are you reading” and that’s because your brain has seen this a multiple of times before.

Moreover, to conclude looking back at the original question “The whole point of knowledge is to produce both meaning and purpose in our personal lives.” In my opinion, I think that most of the knowledge we gain doesn’t contribute to develop our understanding and provide a meaningful life as the ways of gaining knowledge such as emotion, faith and sense perception don’t always provide an exact meaning and purpose of our personal lives as these ways of knowing are depend on what culture we come from because each culture limits the amount of emotion we can feel e.g. (love) and some cultures rely on different beliefs as they have different faiths and other sense perceptions aren’t always reliable.

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