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Building knowledge (by chance) to understand our world

November 29, 2012

La persistència de la memòria

I usually think our perception of reality is divided into two main types: near and distant reality. The first one tells us about the meaning of everything that is immediately around us, e.g. which way we have to take to arrive somewhere faster, the meaning of some words or symbols (like traffic lights), what’s the name of something (more or less), etc. The other one tries to solve the problem to further understand the concepts, e.g. how are the people like in other cultures, how is build an engine, etc. Both approaches don’t describe accurately the reality, but they are good enough to make out our point of view of the world. Through our senses, we are able to get information and build some kind of knowledge after we have processed all of this. This knowledge helps us understand the world we live in.

Furthermore, human beings have a special interest in knowing about everything that surrounds them, and they are in need to answer some specific questions to keep the  mind tidy and clear. Unfortunately, we just make interpretations about something instead of trying to make a more accurate investigation. But everything in this world changes sooner or later, and we have to rebuild our knowledge using new information. We usually need to be up to date about everything that is part of our point of view.

Mass media give us lots of information to be processed. It often causes a mental blockage and we only take some pieces of information we think it is interesting for us. But, how much important is this information for us? Where is the information we really need and how we should access it? What happens if we aren’t able to locate it? How do we depend on information? But, the most important question for me is: Does the information need to be interesting for us?

According to ‘La Société du spectacle’ (Debord, 1967), we are involved in a local and global performance which describes the sense of our life. This performance is done by all sort of images which overload our capacity to process accurately and resolve what is useful and what isn’t (according to J. Baudrillard’s theory). However, we see spectacles that represents what’s happening at the moment, especially about social matters. We usually change our mind about something because we don’t pay special attention so we cannot be critical enough on all things we watch, read or listen; we are quite happy with opinions and we are very often so tired that we don’t want to understand nothing. This behavior produces some kind of immunity to real problems which are difficult to deal with: such as poverty, famine, ecological disasters, and abuse. We got used to see performances and we have some automatic answer to justify our passivity, and our idea of the world contains this justifications and we won’t do anything to change it what we don’t agree with.

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