When Johann Wolfgang von Goethe stated that certainty is reduced by knowledge, he meant that as we continue to learn, to obtain empirical knowledge, knowledge by acquaintance or description, our certainty and our confidence does not increase, but decreases. More knowledge creates doubt, our logic isn’t deepened or improved by knowledge, and the only time we truly are confident is when we know little. This raises a question: can doubt in its entirety be present where confidence exists? Although “doubt” and “confidence” seem to contradict each other at first glance as if they were oxymorons, I believe they are complementary and correlate with one another, in some cases even very much depend on one another, and the two can exist at the same time and not negatively collide. With knowledge, doubt does not increase, because high confidence and high knowledge, which are created from the inverse relationship between knowledge and confidence, are jointed. In contrast, a different approach that supports Goethe’s statement but doesn’t necessarily correlate with my understanding might be taken into consideration; doubt cannot be present where confidence exists, because the contradictory terms “doubt” and “confidence” have no relation. Doubt erases any signs of confidence and weakens one’s epistemology. For certainty – confidence is needed, for uncertainty – doubt is needed. The two do not correlate.      We value our knowledge greatly, but there is a specific group of people that likely put their faith before their knowledge: religious believers. In fact, people (both religious and not), have been debating for decades whether religion incorporates rational knowledge, knowledge we believe is true due to the simple variable – does it reason with us and does it fit in with other aspects we have known to be true. What is evident is that they, regardless of if to be rational means to be true, rely on faith, which, by definition is a belief lacking supporting evidence. Martin Luther, who later revolutionized the way we see religion, was just a regular a catholic worshiping God, but over time, he learned that his beloved church, one he put all his faith in, wasn’t acting morally right in his eyes. He rejected Roman Catholic Church’s suggested teachings and practices that the rest of the citizens followed, such as indulgences and that sins can be erased if you offer money in exchange. As his knowledge about the church’s sneaky and suspicious ways increased, he started doubting his own knowledge and faith in God. Although more knowledge gave him doubt, he used his doubts to strengthen his confidence. He looked outside his vortex, which allowed him to discover that he can expand his perimeter and his confidence. Instead of looking at doubts as barriers, he used them to his advantage to seek higher knowledge. This brings up the obvious: more knowledge equals more questioning. Luther was knowledgeable, however, a doubt emerged and he questioned it. Against popular belief, questions aren’t equivalent to doubts. Questioning is a part of the knowledge seeking process that leads to more knowledge and more certainty at the end. In the short term: doubt occurs, but in long term – realization that it was part of the learning process all along arises. In the long run, doubt is a beneficial part of the learning process, without doubt, there would be no climax, no resolution, and Luther wouldn’t have lived to achieve greatness, he simply would have stayed in his bubble after he obtained knowledge that created doubt about his whole community.        While religious followers believe in pragmatism and the pragmatic truth test, a theory stating that something is true if it works for us, however, in other areas such as mathematics, that isn’t the case. Mathematicians’ and scientists’ beliefs are more fixed and do not necessarily depend or are based on faith. An example are axioms, an universal principle that any additional mathematical knowledge is based on. For instance, “axioms of equality” state that for each variable, the formula x=x is generally and commonly valid. This means that, for any notion “x,” the formula “x=x” can be viewed as an axiom. This theory contains reflexive axioms, and can be expanded to any symbol (e.g. y=y; 9=9…) because a number/symbol can be equal to other numbers/symbols, but the fixed belief is that it’s always equal to itself. Euclid’s Common Notion One stated something similar, “Things equal to the same thing are equal to each other.” Humans that rely on values of the scientific field are always confident when they know a lot, and more knowledge rarely creates doubt. There simply isn’t much space for doubt in science or specifically mathematics, because many beliefs, such as equality axioms, are locked and have been settled for hundreds of years. The high confidence and the high knowledge of these experts are linked, and if doubts do occur, the confidence stays high.       In human sciences, psychology aspects and the study of our behavior are one of the key concepts studied. For instance, Goethe’s statement parallels the Dunning-Kruger effect, a psychological phenomenon about competence developed by a Cornell University psychology professor David Dunning and his student, Justin Kruger.For example, many argue that political figures today believe they are more knowledgeable and more competent than they actually are. These individuals are confident with little knowledge and believe their incompetence makes them competent, they showcase illusory superiority. People who are really bad singers tend to think their voices are incredible, bad basketball players get surprised when they don’t acquire a place in a highly competitive team because in their heads, they have enough skill, and in case of political figures, they disregard their experience with the government and nonetheless run for public office. When one possesses no expertise on the matter, their inner rationality acknowledges that. Dunning and Kruger themselves stated: “most people have no trouble identifying their inability to translate Slovenian proverbs, reconstruct a V-8 engine, or diagnose acute disseminated encephalomyelitis.” But the issues arise when an individual acquires the slightest amount of knowledge, it becomes dangerous for them and others, because now in their head, they are sure they are competent. I personally saw this cognitive bias in action while I was volunteering at a hospital. A young man nurse in training was alerted by the doctor for not properly and correctly drawing blood out of a patient’s arm. Instead of pulling the skin with his thumb and inserting a needle in a vein, it looked like he stuck the needle in a random place on the arm. His response to the criticism wasn’t positive, in fact, he attempted to overpower the doctor by defending his actions and behaving ignorant and convinced in his competence. Just because he was aware of what needles are, he didn’t necessarily know how to use one, and if he recognized his deficiencies, he would mentally and physically have the chance of improving.          With more life experiences, people are able to recognize their own failed strategies. If the nurse have obtained more experience, his confidence would stay remarkably high, but he would have (as many tend to) realized just how minimal his knowledge is in all actuality, and he might have the opposite reaction to criticism. In complete contrast, some of the world’s smartest people do recognize their impressive brain power, but generally do not possess the confidence of a “know-nothing” delusional person. That is Dunning-Kruger effect in reverse, just as knowledge and experience can be overestimated, one can underestimate themselves, even though their brain capacity, life status and overall intelligence is rather high. Many psychology oriented magazines claim that all high-powered people, educated and successful consultants, or even rich CEOs have incredible amounts of insecurity within, its a paradox. Actress Meryl Streep who has repeatedly been called  “best actress of her generation,” Award-winning author Maya Angelou, co-founded the Beatles, the most commercially successful band in the history of popular music John Lennon, and many more gifted individuals show low amounts of security, or what psychologists would call “impostor syndrome.” They carry so much knowledge and talent, yet their confidence is at times lower than confidence of a person that knows very little.         Knowledge is our superpower. There is nothing more valuable and beneficial we can obtain in our lifetime. Is important to view things above our own sight and to expand our own perspective, to be capable of noticing assumptions we value greatly and realize that some have simply been constructed by our own particular self and all the experiences we carry and observe around us. A lot of our life is spent living inside a bubble, constantly reassuring our own beliefs, and even when we attempt to examine and consider problems, ideas, and matters with another person, a lot of that conversation consists of us trying to push our own views onto someone who believes otherwise. Understanding this opens up a way to clarity and shapes us in a way that we feel connection with our own minds. Finally, the statement “We know with confidence when we know little; with knowledge doubt increases” does not hold true because confidence and doubt can coexist without interrupting the knowledge process. In fact, to attain knowledge and come to conclusions, a healthy mind needs to allow both to transpire. That is why general knowledge without ignorance is how we grow as people, while we continue to naturally doubt and question, but do so with confidence.

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