The Country That Embraces Knowledge.
By: David Zaig - Feb 06, 2015
The Country That Embraces Knowledge.
“The currently dominant worldview is in opposition to a gradually emerging new holistic world view of interconnectedness and oneness.” Thomas Kuhn
I was having my morning coffee, watching the sun shine into my room, casting a geometricalimprint on the wall and bending down on the floor--a beautiful spring day, at last.
Joe rang just as I was putting my coffee cup down; he wanted to know if he could join me and Apia at the Watershed pub. Apia has just returned from Marrifa, I said. “Yeah I know” he said, “I am curious to hear what she has to say about this new country, Marfa.”
“Marrifa,” I corrected him, “see you there in an hour.”
Apia was ensconced in a booth awaiting our arrival.
“Apia, this must have been a hell of an experience,” I said.
“I don’t know where to start”, she said, “I was overwhelmed: the architecture, the philosophy, and the clarity in the pursuit of their goals.”
“What are their goals?” Joe asked.
Apia looked up and said, “In a nutshell, first I was amazed by how harmonious and peaceful these people are. To answer your question, there is one word that describes their philosophy and attitude and that is “Holism” the idea that understanding the world, the mental, the physical, and their properties should be viewed as a whole, not as separate and disconnected parts. Nature function as whole and it can’t be understood by merely focusing on their parts. This is a society that is founded on the premise that knowledge is the key to human survival.”
“How do they go about implementing such a noble undertaking?” I asked.
Apia answered me with an affectionate smile, “well, they take learning and education to be the basis for what they call ‘intelligent society’. Look at this picture; this is the island of “Branches of Knowledge” it was designed to emulate the branches of a tree, this is really amazing, each branch is actually a building in which different learning and research takes place.”
“This reminds me of the ‘center of learning’ in ancient Baghdad,” I barged in.
Apia smiled and continued, “The whole island with its branches is actually a holistic center where every aspect of human knowledge is researched. It spans the entire gamut of learning, from the humanities to the outer reaches of space.”
“They must have pretty damned powerful machines to process this kind of cosmic data,” I said.
“Yes, I am glad you mentioned it. They have developed the fastest and the most powerful computer in the world, the “quantum computer”. It makes use of elementary particles to store and process information and performs calculations that would take a pc computer millions of years.”
Then Joe interrupted, “I don’t see what survival has to do with knowledge!”
Apia looked surprised and said, “The simplest example of knowing is not to walk in front of a moving car.”
And I added, “Knowledge is of language, medicine, aspirin, art, you name it. Compare us to the caveman. ”
“O.K.” she continued, “here is a chart showing all the branches with their assigned area of research. And here at the bottom, at the base, is where all the branches converge. It is the central processing unit. It is where the researchers gather, exchange ideas, analyze, discuss, and scrutinize the results ... It is a sort of a knowledge mill.
Joe looked concerned and said, “This sounds to me not different than the communists’ collective ideology—where everyone is supposed to think alike.”
Again, Apia got a bit perplexed, and she answered emphatically “No, no, I did not finish. From my understanding, I spent ample time studying their philosophy and their way of life; they practice democracy, a democracy that demands utter responsibility from every citizen. And if you are harboring some silly notion of socialism, no they are not; they have a free market economy—again responsibility to their fellow humans is ingrained in their social fabric.
Joe asked, “What do you do with this knowledge? What about creativity?
“Well,” she asked, “what do you mean by creativity?”
Joe paused, “creativity is the freedom to express yourself, and to do whatever you want. It’s a fulfillment of a lifetime. Imagination will take me to uncharted places. Places I alone experience … my paintings can reveal some of these secret terrains.”
Apia added, “We need to devote more time on the subject of creativity; it is of paramount importance in understanding our humanity.” “Well,” I said, “the Marrifian’s creative abilities are enhanced by utilizing the ‘quantum-computer’, the most powerful brain-extension on earth. And that gives them an extreme edge over us. So a machine like this gives them gazillions more possible choices, and hence optimizing their creative abilities. Even here, in our world, the theory of relativity wouldn’t have been discovered by an unknowledgeable person.”
Joe got excited, “It’s not realistic; it is Ethiopian, no, I mean utopian --.”
“Look” I said, “The alternative is either stagnation, or make proper use of our brains.”
“Yes,” Apia brought out her notebook and said, “precisely, stagnation! And there is another important thing I forgot to tell you about; the Marrifians view language as actively shaping reality. So, instead of being nonchalant about words like creativity, love, hate, and basically most other words, they reassign meanings to them that describe reality more precisely.” And then she added, “Art symbolizes the poverty of our civilized mind; our society hides behind the veil of culture of illusions--we have a long way to go before the ‘brain-messiah’ will come, on a donkey, to rescue us.”
Apia said that what she had to say today is only the tip of the iceberg. She is preparing a lecture, titled, “What Can We Learn From Marrifa”, and she would be happy to discuss and share it with us next time we meet.
Thomas Kuhn, whose 1962 book The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, has been called perhaps the most important of the 20th century. He coined the word "paradigm" for a worldview, which is essentially a belief system that defines the way any particular culture interprets the world at a particular time. It is very resistant to change, and thus changes only when severely challenged.