Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Image and Knowledge

Knowledge depends on seeing the relationships in a body of information. It requires a structure to visualize the whole in order to understand what the information means since meaning depends on relationship. This was much easier when there was less information. The sense of how the information connects is more difficult immersed in the quantities of information that characterize the modern world.  Many identify with the feeling of having a mind full of unconnected islands of facts. The sense of how it all fits together was easier to see when there was less total information. In addition, the structure provided by the prevailing cultural belief system simplified it even more. Global internet culture weakened the power of old belief structures but hasn't provided an alternative outlook on the whole. With so much specific detail a search away, combined with the inability to organize it without a structure of meaning, many young people give up on the personal acquisition of information altogether. This leaves them adrift, without perspective. However the pleasure of discovery is far more familiar than it used to be, and the choices for what to look into offer a brand new individual freedom. So what I offer here is a technique, a tool to navigate the river of information.
Spend life building knowledge in an area besides work day expertise. Something that satisfies personal curiosity or builds up a desired skill. In some cases it happens by itself. If you like working on cars, over time you learn more and understand the big picture of the mechanism. This gives a basis for analogy. For understanding other things where similar relationships apply, where connections might be faulty or the timing off. We use spatial knowledge to reason about other things so having an area of spatial knowledge that gets into the working of a topic sensitizes us to more sophisticated levels of meaningful pattern which enables us to recognize it where these patterns apply Shifting attention from details and parts to interactions and relationships reinforces capacity to see patterns. Obviously the engine analogy doesn't hold for everything, but building  skill in analogy strengthens ability to find connections and understand  systems of interaction. Building knowledge about the body is both useful in practical ways and because it's a harmonic assembly of many systems with many flexible analogies regarding growth and day to day functioning. The nature based dynamic imagery of the I Ching is useful clarifying harmonic action in 64 different active situations. Perhaps the lasting universality of the I Ching is the imagery of moving in a world of natural and human weather and how behave in harmony with it. Lost in the surface information we need skills to find essential patterns. Deep expertise in any area builds a system of relationships that serve as starting point in finding the patterns that matter.

No comments: