He likes to reflect on human transactions in many colors, each of them leading to a horde of imponderables, human or nonhuman.
What Shields Everything
Think of a petroleum installation that could be holding a vast amount of fuel. Mostly, we will be tapping the storage, only when we are in a need. All times, it will have to be guarded against loss or damage from fire, weather, pilferage, leak, or any other form of hazard. Certainly, there will be examinations and inspections by qualified personnel at prescribed intervals. We know, for everybody’s good, we need to follow such an approach.
Now think of each living being as one such installation holding vast amounts of an equally inflammable commodity called knowledge. Just like a petroleum product, which is of use only when it is converted to some form of energy, knowledge shall be of help, only when it is put to use. Also, when not put to good use, it tends to align with the random hustles, something that exist among all forms of life. Agitation or disharmony arises out of it, which, in the case of all except humans, settles too, fairly quickly. Naturally, in the case of human society, tranquility and peace are always at threat.
How the Shield is Broken for Humans
Therefore, just like a petroleum product that needs to be well-guarded against damage due to weather, fire, or pilferage, whenever it is not in good use, knowledge needs to be insulated against intrusions. Else, such intrusions shall make powerful cocktails that can lead us astray.
Since we are quite careful about fuel, that too, all the time, the world remains habitable. But, since we are not so careful about knowledge, the world is always in peril. In fact we are constantly finding fresh reasons for the perilous state, since none of our efforts have ever succeeded in putting an end to it. Each such effort then add to the peril, making it worsen, effectively placing us in a vicious circle!
Knowledge, the Culprit!
Now that we have found, the disturbances arising from our unfettered expression and experimentation in the garb of knowledge is leading us astray, we need to be careful about knowledge. How do we ensure that it does not lead to a spark, or stir up a fire? As far as petroleum goes, our attention is more or less in sync with the inflammability of the product in question. And it is paying us well.
Let us see, what all constitute knowledge, and how dangerous each of those is. We need to identify the components of knowledge, say, skill, intelligence, or imagination, which should be given attention in proportion to its potential to lead us astray. Also, we need to introduce examinations and inspections in a suitable way. And I think this too will, pay us well.
Now, what next? We need to analyze and dissect knowledge to its elements, evaluating the disruption potential for each element.
Thereafter, we need to control each such element, the nature and the degree of control being more or less in proportion to it’s disruption potential. But, it is not at all easy to attempt something like this, since, we hold knowledge at a very high pedestal. And due to which, not only that knowledge is not being handled in an optimum manner, but also, by default or by design, totally unsuitable steps creep in and pass off as the appropriate ones. (In fact, this is what makes human societies, unlike all non-intelligent forms of life, pots of boil!)
Let us take a broad look at what is happening today and locate the culprits, as far as these things go. Suffice to say, we are pushing down the throats of our children, what they would not digest. And force-feeding the old, what they would have loved to pick up on their own. In both the cases, we do not pay attention at all, to disruption potential. Everything else can be thought of as a result of this misunderstanding or oversight. Over centuries, this has altered the fundamental nature of human race, one which is best exemplified by the widely accepted refrain - to err is human. I now think, a couple of points are there that have a significant say on this matter.
Think of the derivatives of knowledge. Intelligence, imagination, skill, and diplomacy are a few that comes to mind. Intelligence, in fact can be considered as a derivative of knowledge with reference to time, context, or other elements of relevance. And, one’s level of intelligence can be seen to be directly proportional to the degree of derivation, one is comfortable with. In fact, imagination could be seen as another level of derivation, where all the elements of reference would be belonging to the future. Skill also could be thought of as a derivative, one with reference to certain spatial or contextual parameter.
Now, think of any physical system, say, a machine. The performance of the system is dependent on both the desired signals, like input, and the other signals, like noise. We need to make necessary compensation for noise, if machine performance is to remain at a satisfactory level. For that, we need to account for not only the noise, but also its derivatives, and we rely on a large collection of active and passive components like filters or shock absorbents. Therefore, for coming up with an appropriate approach to the issue of knowledge, we need to pay attention to all its derivatives.
To understand this better, we need to learn thoroughly, the part played by knowledge and its derivatives in the conduct of our life. In fact, human life is not a single entity, it is a combination of two main components. One is its duration, well known as life span, and the other is liveliness, the feeling of contentment that remains diffused. And we always have either of this in mind, normally undisclosed to all including ourselves, whenever we mention a word linked to life. Depending on the context, environment, and one’s own state or priorities, each derive one’s own meaning, both while saying, and while hearing, such a word. As can be easily gathered, all transactions will not be in sync at all times, and many will result in misunderstandings or scuffles, more so, if there are things undisclosed. Instead of probing further, we legitimize such blunders or slip-ups by naming human society, a naturally violent one.
So, the permeating violence of human race is nothing but an offshoot of the way the race treat knowledge and its derivatives. How? And, if so, what can we do about it?
I think, currently, we are aiming for maximizing the duration of life, even at the cost of doing away with liveliness. In the absence of liveliness, there is no occasion, or an opportunity, for the derivatives of knowledge to flourish. All those derivatives act like suspended variables, with an affinity to attach itself anywhere, unless one takes strong preventive action. Of course, for some people, certain preventive actions, like concentration, meditation, and many other engagements of that sort, may succeed in quelling this. But, most of these free derivatives thrive, each ready to result in a commotion.
If we adhere to a balanced diet of liveliness and life, this shall be put to a stop by the resulting ambience of merrymaking. For that, we only need to provide sufficient avenues for each of those derivatives to bloom, or, limit such derivatives, if there is can’t be an occasion for that. I think here we are lucky. In fact these derivatives are linked with age. We can think of imparting knowledge to each one by choosing only the topics or subjects, where one has the natural propensity to find amusement in it. In that case, each one shall feel encouraged to derive pleasure by fiddling with its derivatives. The merriment that comes along shall act as a guard against instances of commotion.
In short, we need to alter our pattern of teaching. Topics amusing to the young, say, things one would like to encounter often, or the endearing ones among whatever they encounter, should be the curriculum for them. Which perhaps shall involve physical operation, or rather playful use, of things like common gadgets and implements. And, things and ideas of abstract nature, like resistance, friction, efficiency or thermodynamics, should become the topics for the higher classes, and those who have passed the middle age. The young ones will feel exhilarated to have an endless foray into it, while they play, and the older ones will stay glued to the abstractions that make clearer, what they have been playing with all along. And this will keep in check, what threatens peace and tranquility. Namely, as explained above, the disruption potential of whatever one chooses to be busy with.
© 2022 ROY T JAMES