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Tuesday, April 19, 2022

What is complete knowledge

 To be able to assert that my knowledge about some subject is complete, that knowledge must have been acquired by my body, mind, and spirit. It must be verified by logic, emotions, and ethics.

To know anything in its entirety, one must know about the knowledge, knower and the known, says Vedic teachings. Western philosophers say that you can have complete knowledge of a thing only if you can know that thing with the body, mind, emotions, and the spirit.

I wish to add that you have to know “it” (the object of knowledge) from both inside and outside. How can I get a perfect understanding and knowledge of the Universe when I can never look at it and experience it from outside? On the other hand, I do have a better understanding of this planet, since I can get a glimpse of how the earth looks like from space even though not by my own eyes. I can definitely see that the national boundaries are our creations. They just do not exist in ultimate reality, although they are realities of life on this planet. 

You can know the knower through reflections and insight if the knower is oneself. What if the knower is someone else? How can you know that knower unless you can get into that person’s world from inside that knower?  How can you know how a bat experiences the world unless you can get into it, live upside down in dark caves, and experience “what does it feel to be bat” as pointed out by Thomas Nagel?

One can know the “known” only by experiencing the real world in its “suchness” (a thing as is and not as perceived) says Buddhism.



Ramesh said...

Is it even possible for ordinary mortals like me to even comprehend "complete knowledge"? That seems to be such an unattainable dream that it is not even worth contemplating !

I can certainly relate to your assertion that deep understanding of something is only possible if you can "know" it with the body, mind, emotions and spirit. In practical terms I am interpreting it that experiencing it as much as possible will lead to richer knowledge than say merely reading about it. Every step will improve understanding and therefore worthwhile (reading and reflecting for example) but greater understanding is achievable by experiencing it deeply.

Balu said...

I am also saying that "complete knowledge" is what we, mortals seek but rarely attain. It is also a call for life-long learning and thinking.