Knowledge result to the person searching for

Knowledge is the accumulation of facts and
information gained through study, investigation, research or also through
experience. In my perspective, based on the given question adapted
from JW von Goethe quote, I feel that the quote only scrapes the surface of its true meaning. I believe that one
does not have confidence only when they know little but, confidence can also
increase with the increase in knowledge. However, gain in knowledge which can
lead to a rise in doubt, can also lead to a decrease in confidence. Reason and
sense of perception could be interpreted as a combined form of one’s wisdom.
The relationship between knowledge and wisdom is
that, wisdom acts as a combination of the gained information and experiences
into insights that deepens one’s understanding of certain events or situations;
discerns and judges which aspects of knowledge
we have acquired are applicable to one’s life. By using the Areas of knowledge;
Natural Science and History, and Ways of knowing; Emotions, Reason, Sense of
perception and Faith, I shall discuss JW Goethe’s claim, with the use of my
central knowledge question, ‘To what
extent does doubt obstruct or trigger someone into expanding their own
knowledge?’

From a historical view,
doubt can be used as a way to widen one’s knowledge, when one knows less. A
Persian proverb states that ‘Doubt is the
key to knowledge.’ A seeker of knowledge must have an equal amount of doubt
in order to come to reasonable conclusions. If the person does not affirm to a
certain historical fact or event, this would result to the person searching for
information in order to find and confirm its actuality. Based on sense of
perception as quoted by Philip Roth, ‘Seeing
is believing and believing is knowing and knowing beats unknowing and the
unknown,’ shows that the person may not believe the facts provided, as he
or she did not see the event taking place. By seeing, then only will the person
now believe. Searching for information through journals, historical books, the
internet or any other source material, would be the only logical reason as History
is the story about the past. I can relate to this when in school, when I learn
about multiple conflicting theories such as The
Creation theory and The Big Bang Theory.
Through faith, I would believe one theory being true and the other false, even
without strong evidence to prove its actuality. However, my sense of perception
and reasoning will come to play, as the more I learn about the clashing theory,
the more I will want to make sense of it, enticing me onto researching about
it, which would give better understanding of what I have doubted, thus eventually
leading to the expansion of my knowledge based on the event in question. For
example, if a person could not believe that the Islamic religion was forcefully
placed in certain countries such as in Iran, he or she would gain more knowledge
and awareness from conducted research, about the Islamic revolution in Iran,
and also know the reason behind the revolution, as well as get acquainted with
the leader of the revolution and how he overthrew the Persian monarch. Hence,
deriving the explanation and example given, doubt based on history, can
increase knowledge by shading enough information for greater understanding,
however certain counter claims from research can lead to greater doubt, leading
to greater craving for more information about the matter.

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In Natural science, doubt
would definitely lead to more research, which would also lead to new
discoveries or findings thus more confidence as a result from acquired
knowledge. Scientists will always conduct research on different existing
theories, if they feel that it lacks enough supportive information (less
knowledge), as resultant from doubt. This action is called falsification, which
was introduced by Karl Popper, a philosopher. This is when a scientist makes an
assumption through logic and reasoning, based from the theory he felt uncertain
about. The scientist will then have to formulate a new hypothesis and design,
as well as an appropriate experiment in order to prove that the existing theory
is false. The scientist will also have to come up with a new theory based on
his or her experiment replacing the previous one. However, before establishing
a new theory, multiple practical experiments would need to be conducted, in
order to minimize the creation of doubt, in people, which could also lead to
new unexpected discoveries, thus, expanding knowledge. However, in some cases,
certain theories will always seem doubtful linking it to doubtful knowledge.
For example, in early Mesopotamian study, the Earth was believed to be a flat
disk with a dome, until Ferdinand Magellan managed to prove that the Earth was
spherical in shape after successfully circumnavigating the Earth in the 15th Century,
which later on in the future was proved to be true, after space travel was
achieved. Another example would be of the Italian physicist Galileo Galilei
who, despite the endless controversy, criticism and denouncing made against
him, proved false the long withheld notion of the geocentric view that the
Earth was at the center of the Universe. Using sense of perception and faith,
people of that century believed that they were the only most important beings
created by ‘the gods.’ Thus, it is
evident that through the use of some scientific theories, unless disproved
otherwise, knowledge is updated and will remain as such through continual
doubt. Therefore, even after scientific theories are propagated into laws, new
methods will always be discovered which can be challenged as long as one
continues to doubt. This can also be shown as a sign of increased confidence, as
the person having a new theory, is confident that his new theory will over
throw the old theory, due to his research and experiments, seen as a sign of
more knowledge.

Doubt in history, may become
a hindrance on gaining knowledge, if there isn’t enough proof and support with
it. Due to certain draw backs such as emotions, one would realize how it can
play an important role in finding the truth because, being scared to be proven
wrong makes some people close the way to develop their own ideas or refuse to
relate their own assumptions with that of others, so that the real knowledge of
truth cannot be revealed. In other words, people can also become their own
limitations from gaining knowledge, and through pride, they will not want to
accept new facts or findings that contradicts from what he or she believes. In
relation to the Islamic revolution, some would defend it as the better law through
their faith, while others will see it as a threat to their freedom, through
their own emotions and reasoning. This is given light to by Marjane Satrapi’s
childhood experience in her graphical novel, The Persepolis. With emotions
clouding reasoning, it leads to ignorance. There would be no understanding
between the two opposing sides in the revolution, as one side refuses to
understand the other’s opinion, being somewhat bias, thus emphasizing on the
quote, ‘Ignorance is Bliss,’ by
Thomas Gray.

Ignorance is mostly seen
among historians, as they have different perspectives and theories, which
contradict one another. When a new fact is revealed by another historian, he
would feel uncertain about the fact because the fact is completely different
from his or her own belief leading to less confidence. If the historian still
wants to stick with his or her belief, without investigating the other
historian’s claim, he or she will not advance on gaining any knowledge, as they
feel confident in their own theory. It usually takes time for a paradigm shift
to occur in history, as different historians will need to accept the claim
placed, however, some historians are usually reluctant to be open minded, which
will prevent the true knowledge from being discovered. This is seen when
Italian physicist Galileo Galilei who also proved that the Earth orbits around
the Sun and not the Sun orbiting around the Earth. Endless controversy,
criticism and denouncing were made against him, which lead to his persecution
by the Catholic Church, due to their emotions and lack of knowledge as pride, they
saw this as heresy, emphasizing JW von Goethe’s quote, ‘We know with confidence only when we know
little.’ The dispute
between the Church and Galileo has long stood as one of history’s great emblems
of conflict between reason and dogma, science and faith.

Excessive doubt can also become
a hindrance on expanding one’s knowledge, especially in natural sciences.
Excessive doubt can make something become more complex, especially among
scientists, if they are not certain about something, they might end up becoming
too confused at the end and will not gain any information from their own doubt.
When the theory becomes complex, a practical experiment to falsify the theory
will become more complicated, and without suitable and appropriate apparatus,
the scientist cannot make any progress from the theory being investigated. An
example can be seen when scientists try to prove, if the existence of
extraterrestrial life is true or false. Despite continuous trials and
experiments conducted, the level of our present technology limits us from
finding the truth behind the claim.

In conclusion, based on certain events,
confidence does not only come about when one knows little but also through the
gaining of knowledge, which can however even end up turning into excessive
pride. With reason, sense of perception, as well as faith, an increase in doubt
can occur, with the increase in knowledge. Increase in doubt can either become a
catalyst on gaining knowledge or a hindrance to acquiring it. 

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