Here's some reflections for CCK09 on "what is knowledge?"
When we know what we know and know what we don't know, Confucius said "we truly know". Most often, we don't know what we know because it's tacit knowledge that we call upon without conscious reasoning in order to know what to do, how to do it and how to steer clear of likely pitfalls. Our explicit knowledge may not even connect to our tacit knowledge. We'll "say one thing and do another" much to our own embarrassment. To know what we don't know seems paradoxical if all our knowing exists at one level. However we can know the limits of our understanding, know what remains an open question for us, and know what seems so unfathomable we cannot even formulate a question about it yet. On one level we don't know what we don't know, on another we only know what we know, then above that we can know the boundaries of what we know and top it off with knowing what we don't know.
We we know something objectively, that's only the half of the challenge. We can point fingers at it, label it accurately and disconnect from it having anything to do with us or our way of seeing. When we also know something subjectively, we turn three of our fingers back at ourselves, interrogate our basis for labeling it and connect "what we're seeing" with our very personal "perceptions and attributions" We own the inevitability of all being spin doctors who bias how we filter and frame what we take in. In the process of coming to know ourselves through the failures of our objectivity, we find we can empathize with or even identify with the subject of our objective viewpoint. With sufficient practice, the separated object and subject merge into one experience. We are being the observer and the observed all at once.
When we think of knowledge as a thing, we can work at it and try to get it right. When we regard knowledge as an ongoing process, we are continually expanding and deepening our knowledge. We transition from knowledge as property and possessions to knowing as adventure and explorations. We live our questions instead of clinging to what's known to us. We return to innocence after a long bout of being right and jumping to conclusions. We value our curiosity along side our expertise, our fascination with our familiarity and our wonder with our pattern recognition.
When we presume we can make ourselves know more, accumulate more knowledge and become more knowledgeable, we get to be right about that. So be it. When we presume that knowing more comes about naturally, we get to be right about that. We go with the flow of losing some of what we knew to know more comprehensively, inclusively and deeply. We use our inner stillness to let something new arise to explore, ponder and tie in. We learn to trust a process that delivers more to discover each day. We come from a place where life is about experiencing and acting regardless of all the conceptual baggage we've picked up along the way.