May 5, 2016

Knowing something is great. But, it’s just one tool. A good one. A multi-purpose one. Like a wrench or a swiss army knife. But, it’s limited.

It doesn’t do the work of other tools.

Tools like action. No matter how much we think about it or read about it or talk about it; none of them substitute actual action. Results come from only action and nothing else.

Action gives experience. Experience put in words gives knowing. It becomes the basis of further thinking and actions. This makes the learning loop. This can also be limited.

Experience of the moment put in words diminishes it. It is immediately reduced to the familiar. Inevitably, description survives and experience fades. This has been variously described. For eg, a photograph of an object is not the object.

The loss in transcription can be a trivial one. For eg, a photograph of an object is still a good enough representation of it to be used as evidence in a court or for scientific experiments.

The loss in transcription can be a major one. An example is what is called jumping to conclusions. One event is taken as an example of a large set of similar events and a conclusion is drawn. We do it all the time:

I didn’t do well in that maths quiz – I must be weak in maths.

Humans have a tendency to make meaning of something just experienced. It is one of the things that sets us apart from animals. I guess this is what we can loosely call Intelligence. But, this super ability comes with limitations.

Being in action and pausing to think before making conclusions are two ways to work around the limitations of Knowing.


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