The knower's perspective is essential in the pursuit of knowledge. To what extent do you agree?
Lets answer the question what is a knower's perspective first.Knowledge is something that someone is familiar with and holds a particular perspective in "Knower's Perspective." This knowledge is based on the perspectives that a person holds. The way someone perceives things in their external environment, the way they see these things is how they will be and play out in one's life. It is the mind that induces perception by developing thoughts, myths, conjectures and fascinations. Every person has a subjective lens that is entirely different from that of other people, and that is what makes them special. A person's viewpoint is shaped by their background and personal experiences as they interact with the world. A person's perspective may, however, be biased or impartial. A biased view means that the judgment favors a particular group or person while a neutral perspective implies that the conclusion fairly represents both sides of the argument (Mouraz & Carlinda, 2013 pg 33).
How a Person's Background Knowledge Influences on the Viewpoint?
A person's fundamental beliefs are shaped by their past experiences. These experiences influence how people think about themselves, how they think about others and how they see the world. For example, a high school student who is a victim of bullying and hurt will strongly be against any disagreements that may result from bullying since they have already developed a conception that they are not strong and will be bullied by others (Mouraz & Carlinda, 2013 pg 19). They believe that they are useless and unappreciated. These past experiences affect what the student considers to be true or untrue and will initiate a broad search for more knowledge to learn more about how true their beliefs are.
A person's knowledge and understanding are also inspired by one's perception from a cultural point of view. Our cultural beliefs have a significant influence on how we perceive and relate to the world, with ourselves and with other people. Take for example the culture of Muslim who believes that pork is not sacred and is a taboo to eat it. From this culture that has existed since time immemorial, Muslims have a point of view that pigs are dirty and cursed animals and that their meat should not be taken by human beings. It is what their perception concerning pork is and hence their knowledge regarding the issue (Gao & Yoshiteru 2003 pg 11). The knowledge may, however, be untrue since we have Christians who eat pork comfortably and perceive it to be a common kind of meat just like beef and mutton.
Childhood upbringing also forms and influences a person's fundamental beliefs that comprise their knowledge. The way a person was brought up as a child will substantially affect how this person will think about his/herself, how they think about others and the world in general. A child who was brought up believing that better education means a real life, will develop a perception that for them to excel in life, they have to work hard in school. This child has a belief that all those people who are successful in the society are learned and are hard working at the school. This student will, therefore, develop a behavior of working hard at school because he knows that working hard is equivalent to a better life in future. They will search for more knowledge to complement their perception (Gao & Yoshiteru 2003 pg 19)
The knower will also seek for more knowledge based on what their opinion about faith is. Faith influences how a person will relate to other people, how this person will think about him/herself, how they think about the world and life in general (Gao & Yoshiteru 2003 pg 14). A knower's faith will arouse different perspectives and hence their search for more knowledge. People who believe in life after death, for example, have the perception that they will be promoted to another life when their earthly life is over. These individuals will be motivated by their perspective to search for more knowledge about how this new life will be and what one is required to do when they are still on earth so they may be promoted to the afterlife. This perspective will arouse their desire to search for more knowledge to quest their knowledge curiosity.
A person's judgment and value of what the world is, who the people that he/she relates with are and who he/she will influence their quest for knowledge to a greater extent. How one believes the world is and how it operates is what gives them the desire to search for more knowledge to support and enhance their perceptions of the world. Considering a case where a person views the world as a better place to live in, this belief about the world motivates their search for more knowledge about how this world can offer someone a better place to live in. It is from this perception that they will seek to add more to the prior knowledge that they have regarding the world as a better living place (Gao & Yoshiteru 2003 pg 11).
However, it is not necessary that a person's perspective is a key factor in their search for knowledge. Some perspectives may not be required in the search for knowledge. When one is still a toddler, for example, they have very little experience but are able to acquire some knowledge in one way or the other. Being a baby and having very minimal experience means one has not yet developed or created many perspectives that can enable them to gain knowledge. This means that babies cannot acquire knowledge which on the contrary they do. It is evident that it is not necessarily that one's perspective will influence their search for knowledge.
The issue of childhood upbringing perspectives does not necessarily represent a person's knowledge, opinions or beliefs. Many children are known to divert from their upbringing beliefs. As these children develop and interact with the world, they learn and observe the way things happen and develop a different perspective about themselves, others and about the world, that is completely different from what they were taught as they grew up. They will, therefore, gain knowledge not from their childhood upbringing but from what they observe and learn.
Is a Need That Is Shaped by a Person's Knowledge, Culture and Personality?
Another point to consider is how people with certain disabilities are able to acquire knowledge and survive in this world. Since perceptions are initiated in the mind, it will be right to say that mentally disabled people cannot acquire knowledge since their mind is impaired. In contrast, people with mental disabilities are able to interact with others and relate with the world even if not as perfectly as people who are not disabled. To some extent, it is evident that these people do not depend on their perspectives for them to acquire knowledge and to be able to understand themselves, others and the world.
Considering a circumstance where someone is faced with a situation that is harmful or a situation that poses a danger to them, their reaction or viewpoint will not rely on their perspectives but will focus on those things that can harm them. Emergency situations call for immediate actions that in most cases are not in line with their perspective. Knowledge at that particular time is not essentially based on what a person thinks or believes but on what is important and what can solve the situation (Mouraz & Carlinda, 2013 pg 29).
Again, when viewed from certain perspectives, a person's perception and knowledge have no connection. In some instances, people act from their perception and ignore knowledge or vice versa (Gao & Yoshiteru 2003 pg 17). For example, when someone is attacked by dogs near a busy road, he/she will react based on their perception that dogs can harm them and hence will probably run to escape the dogs. Since it's near a busy road, they know that there is also a danger of being run over by cars or causing disruptions to the people around but in most likely they ignore this knowledge and react from their perceptions.
What Else Influences Personal Knowledge?
Sometimes personal knowledge bases not on one’s perspectives but Eurocentrism. Western civilizations have influenced people's experience, especially in developing countries either willingly or unwillingly. Instead of basing their knowledge from their own perceptions, people have started believing in what European countries believe in. The way these people think about themselves, how they relate to others and how they interact with the world, in general, is purely influenced by European civilizations and not their individual perspectives (Mouraz & Carlinda, 2013 pg 24).
The issue of biased perception also raises doubts on whether perceptions affect a person's search for knowledge. Sometimes a person's perception may be by universal and personal knowledge. Biasing one's perceptions may lead to knowledge that may, in turn, result in incorrect conceptions. The perspective, in this case, is biased and hence plays no role in the quest for knowledge as it leads to inaccurate information and expertise (Gao & Yoshiteru 2003 p.g 8).
There are many ways of knowing that do not depend on our perceptions. Someone may gain knowledge through observing the environment and how people interact with their immediate surroundings. From these observations, a person may be motivated to search for more understanding in an attempt to understand more how their interactions come about and how they are carried on. This quest for knowledge has nothing to do with an individual's perception but rather on their learning through observation. Other methods that someone can acquire knowledge through are through other people's experiences (Gao & Yoshiteru 2003 p.g 11).
In conclusion, an individual's perspective is influenced by certain factors that in turn inspire their search for knowledge. Past experiences, faith, culture and childhood upbringing, are some of these factors. However, it is not a must that a person's perspective will have an impact on how they acquire knowledge. Children and mentally ill people receive knowledge without depending much on their perspectives. Knowledge can be gained through learning through observations, by adopting Western Cultures and by other means.
Gao, Fei, Meng Li, and Yoshiteru Nakamori. "Critical systems thinking as a way to manage knowledge." Systems Research and Behavioral Science 20.1 (2003): 3-19.
Mouraz, Ana, and Carlinda Leite. "Putting knowledge in context: Curriculum contextualization in history classes." Transformative Dialogues: Teaching & Learning Journal 6.3 (2013).
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