So asked @fadesingh, one of the many interesting and unique people I follow on Twitter.
This led me to a question – what, indeed, is knowledge?
Knowledge of what? Of who? Of how?
Since I was so unsure, I decided that knowledge is one of those terms that is always referred to in the context of something else. Indeed, knowledge is sometimes referred to in its own context.
Curiously enough, I remember a parallel to this self-referential ontological connection (if you’ll excuse the term) in quality management systems where there’s documentation about what documentation to have. It is a bit like knowing what knowledge is – which is, as I would have phrased it in past years (and still would very much like to now), a #meta.
I tried desperately now to find one quote that said that a profound saying is in fact supposed to mean something deep, but in fact means less than nothing. Perhaps this was said in the spirit illustrated above where we ask questions within the limitations of language. Language being what it is, gibberish can result often enough even when we follow all the rules of language.
Therefore, when we ask questions such as “Who does knowledge belong to?” or indeed “What is knowledge?”, we’re probably missing a part of the discussion about the object that is alluded to but not explicitly stated.
Perhaps millennia later, we’ll be smart enough to frame and read sufficiently complete questions to receive specific objects as answers, or perhaps simply binary yes/no answers. Either way, that may be well after my lifetime or yours (regardless of whether the robot overlords take over in a few generations – in which case we’re likely dead, or not – in which case we may well not live to ask such questions).
And I’m typing this last sentence only so I needn’t finish on parentheses.