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Not an EggshellWalker
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Registered: 07/18/03
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Knowing and Realizing
    #3842935 - 02/27/05 08:33 PM (13 years, 11 months ago)

If other humans are the same as me in any way, perhaps they have noticed that much of what they know is not realized. For example, mostly everyone in the developed world knows that the Earth revolves around the Sun, but how many people can actually comprehend that fact? Unless you can zoom out of your life and go millions of miles high and see the Earth in space revolving around this huge burning fusion factory we call the Sun, it's mostly just a matter of memorizing words that we cannot realize.

It is not only the large things in life too, as there are much larger things than the Sun that we "know" but cannot comprehend. What about the small things? While mostly anyone can look at their hand and know it's made up of atoms, as we've learned that our whole lives, very few can actually comprehend the quadrillions of these seemingly alien things making up all of our existence. The cells joining together to make up our body are beyond the comprehension of the human mind, despite the fact that that is what we're using to comprehend anything- the matter cannot comprehend itself in this case.

And after all, why should it? According to evolution, what advantage does someone who can comprehend atoms or the sun or the universe have over someone who just hunts animals and builds forts in the woods without having a gram of comprehension in his body? It's just the very tantalizing beginning of intelligence to humans- that is, we've evolved to be intelligent enough to realize how stupid we are, but that's about it. And perhaps that's a triumph in terms of evolution.

And if it's true, that humans are just memorizing the words of what makes sense to them, without being able to truely comprehend the concepts, what does that say for philosophy and truth? It's all a matter of semantics, and anything we're told from our birth we will memorize the words to- that is, we'll see as truth. The earth pulls everything down towards it, and we call this gravity, but if we cannot comprehend the earth, how do we know we're not being lied to? The uncertainties of life abound in every fact we've known, and sometimes it truely makes me wonder the sanity of individuals who claim undeniable truth. "Yes, interesting, that is an undeniable truth, it is a shame no human can comprehend it, only spout the words that his mind gives him as truth."

So long as you are praised think only that you are not yet on your own path but on that of another.

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Re: Knowing and Realizing [Re: Ravus]
    #3844505 - 02/28/05 12:38 AM (13 years, 11 months ago)

Ya most of the time when you learn something, you don't take the time to realize it.

but as of today we know about the infintely small nature of mattter, and the infintely large nature of the universe. We might not be able to totally grasp any of it, but just the fact that we are able to locate ourselves between the two infinites represents a great leap in evolution IMO. now what we are bound to do is to totally grasp this notion, not just have knowledge of it, but being able to conceive it and comprehend it.

I love to trip out at night and look at the horizon and try to imagine how i'm just on the dark side of earth and how the sun is shining the other half of this planet. i love to try to make an objective conception of myself and my position on earth and in the universe.


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Re: Knowing and Realizing [Re: Ravus]
    #3844817 - 02/28/05 01:23 AM (13 years, 11 months ago)

This reminds me of one of my favorite quotes

"Life is the only real counselor; wisdom unfiltered through personal experience does not become a part of the moral tissue."

----Edith Wharton

While not science related, it is so true. You don't really understand something until you see/experience it for yourself. I didn't care for the mind, or psychology, or any sort of non-computer related thing until I got to college and experienced a lot of intense, amazing nights. Now that I've experienced that, I KNOW there are incredibly amazing things that I'm interested in. And it doesn't matter if I tell people a million times how cool the brain is, for example, they will just hear what I say and that's that. It doesn't matter until it touches you personally.


Ron Paul 2008!

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Re: Knowing and Realizing [Re: Ravus]
    #3844968 - 02/28/05 01:51 AM (13 years, 11 months ago)

It's funny that you chose to post this thread around the same time that zippoz posted his "The difference between knowing what to do and doing it" thread. These are both really important questions, in my opinion. I have this theory that there are different levels of comprehension.

There is the 'literal' level, as you were describing, where you only understand things as they are literally stated, e.g. memorizing this mathematical relationship: 2 + 2 = 4.

Then there would be the 'conceptual' level (a deeper level) where instead of seeing "2 + 2 = 4", you would actually visualize two objects combining with another of the same two objects in your mind.

Then you'd have the 'kinesthetic' level where you are physically applying the concept, EXAMPLE: you are packing a picnic basket for two couples and you place two apples in the basket for the first couple, and two apples in the basket for the second couple.

Sometimes a person can be adept at one 'level' and handicapped in another. Picture this scenario:


A baseball player steps up to the plate to batt. He stares into the outfield and decides where he wants the baseball to go. As soon as the ball is pitched, his mind instinctually predicts the balls motion, where the batt will make contact with the ball, and what direction the ball with go in. He lands a home-run. He doesn't understand the science behind his victory, he only has an instictual 'kinesthetic' understanding of physics.

The athlete's nerdy brother sits in the bleachers watching. He used Newton's laws of mechanical motion to predict the tradjectory of the balls path. He is intimately fimiliar with the mathematical forumlas he used, although without his calculations he would have trouble visualizing the forces at play in his mind.

A 3rd on-looker with a talent for conceptual understanding can visualize the muscle fibers contracting in the athlete's arm in such a way as to create the heavy thrust of the batt. This on-looker sees the ball, in the instant it makes contact with the batt, being momentarily deformed by the batt's solid chemical makeup-- resulting in an elastic-like reaction by the ball as it launches into the air. He sees the massive earth wrapping it's gravitational influence around this tiny ball, pulling in downward while it travels forward-- creating an arched path. The onlooker struggles with the formulas, and is himself a poor athlete, but he enjoys watching the game on a deeper level.


One last note, these levels of understanding apply to more than just science. Grammar and linguistics are associated with the 'literal' type of understanding. Language is really designed to convey a concept or an emotion. Some people struggle to desipher and comprehend the meaning of the characters that they read or the vowel sounds that they hear. People talented in conceptual understanding are able to better comprehend the meaning behind the phraseology.

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