Know seems to be the most popular verb that can be said in a day. People say that word anywhere, anytime. And when they say that, almost everyone think that they are true. People also use knowledge to compete against others. In modern society, the person who has a wider knowledge is always attached much important than the person with a normal knowledge. But can we really be sure that we know something truly? First of all, we have to look at the way how we can access to the resources of knowledge. There are four methods for us to do that. They are sense perception, language, emotion and reasoning.
The next step is to find out about each of them Let say first about the sense perception first. Most people say that there are 5 senses perception: hearing, taste, touch, smell and sight. Somebody says that there is also the sixth sense perception, the sense of prediction, but we just usually use the 5 senses above. According to some famous psychologists, there are 3 parts for us to acquire knowledge by sense perception. Firstly, our sense receptors are stimulated by sensory information. Then the brain translates that sensory information into sensation such as sound, taste, temperature, pressure, smell, or sight.
Finally, higher centers in the brain either ignore or recognize the sensation and their meaning, based on neuronal networks of past association and expectation. So the sense perceptions sound to be reliable, doesn’t it? However, it is not totally trustworthily as it was thought to be. It is because of a fact that the whole body does not always work properly. Sometime there will have some problem with our brains, which lead to an incorrectness in the knowledge we gain. Another reason for this phenomenon is the illustration. There is no doubt that our eyes are easily tricked.
The second method of acquiring knowledge that we need to find about is language. It is the oldest and the most popular way to communicate between human and human. It is usually used in daily communicating as well as written language which appears in books or magazines. Sometime it is also including body language as an efficient way to communicate with others. Because of its popular, it now becomes the main way of exchange knowledge. About 50% of knowledge that you can gain in a single day is gained by language. But it is still not an accurate way to acquire knowledge.
It is easy to understand this because the information that we take from others is depended on them. It might be wrong, by mistake or on purpose. We can never know if it is true or not. The next way of acquiring knowledge is emotion. Our emotions are considered as the core of our direct experience of the world. Emotion can take information from external causes as well as internal cause. Our emotion is also affected by cultures and language: different cultures and languages can catalogue the emotions in different ways. Emotions of other give us knowledge about what they are feeling by their language or their behavior.
Then we can understand why emotion is not a reliable method to acquire knowledge. Emotion is too changeable, and it is also too easy to pretend to sad or happy or love or anything. The information that we can gain by emotion is not always accurate and obviously, it is not a perfect way to acquire knowledge. Last but not least, we can gain knowledge from reasoning. Reasoning make us, human, become an advance species. Reasoning is our thinking, our own opinion about a topic or something. When we make reasoning, we have to use all our information that we knew about a specific topic and then combine them and make our own reasoning.
We can also gain knowledge by listening to others’ reasoning then make it ourselves knowledge. And reasoning, again, is not totally exact. It depends on our available knowledge as well as others’. If it is wrong, we will waste our time and power to gain a helpless thing. Those are 4 methods of gaining knowledge. In fact, 4 ways to knowing thing is quite a lot for us to acquire information. But the question is that can we know something exactly? And the answer, in my opinion, is no. We can know anything perfectly, because in every condition, by every method that we can use, there is still a chance that we are acquiring wrong knowledge.
Everything that we knew is not totally correct. Everything can change in a moment. A truth, which have survived for hundreds years, can be destroyed immediately just by another truth that seems to be more accurate than the older one. For example, our ancient people believed that the Earth is placed in the centre of the universe and the Sun travelled around the Earth. Nowadays, we all know the opposite thing. But who can be sure that it is totally true? Who can be sure that it will not change again? So don’t say that you know something for certain, because you are lying yourself.