Knowledge vs experience

"Knowledge" today is often understood as something external. We either "find" it in publications or "experience" it from people who have studied something or at least memorised it.

However, few people seem to have confidence in their self attained knowledge (from experience and especially from intuition). Perhaps they simply have reservations or fears about standing by their experiences or feelings, let alone talking about them. This would not be surprising since we live in a society where people are quickly "categorized" (conspiracy theorists, XY deniers, lying media, right-wing extremists, left-wing extremists, etc.). Even though everyone should know (just from their own experience) that you can only really know something if you have tried/tested/experienced it yourself. In other words, practice is better than theory. Be that as it may.

"Knowledge" is socially reinforced too. By the degree of circulation of a thing ("This book is not just any book, it's a bestseller!"), by professional status ("This is certified, or Dr. Prof. etc.") or by money (propaganda, conspiracy, corruption, fraud). There are even "independent fact-checkers" who, on closer inspection, often turn out not to be independent at all, let alone fact-oriented.

"Evidence through scientific work" sounds more promising then, right? In theory, this seems to be a good thing, since knowledge in that respect is gained through assumptions about theories, experiments and control experiments, and ultimately by verification via "independent" third parties. The latter, the so-called peer reviews, add an additional "safety measure" to the process by verifying the supposedly gained knowledge by "independent third parties". Unfortunately, even this mechanism has been proven to be undermined time and again. It is not uncommon for economic interests and/or corruption to expose supposedly scientific facts as unscientific work or even scientific fraud.

So, in practice, even science seems to be no guarantee of knowledge.

Perhaps in a world like ours it makes most sense then to listen primarily to oneself and to live with the fact that one can only really know what one has tried/tested/experienced oneself.

This article was originally published on the kubus media blog.

#philosophy, #healtheworld
2020-09-17 (amadeus)