Talons Philosophy

An Open Online Highschool Philosophy Course


Confusing Confucius and Philosophical Fry

To know what you know and what you do not know, that is true knowledge.

In the “Futurama” episode “Reincarnation” a specific bit has Professor Farnsworth on the search for the particle that all life is stemmed from. SPOILER he finds it and goes through an existential crisis at having finally solved what he has spent his whole life working for. Without this search for this specific bit of knowledge, his life no longer had meaning and he lost his way. In the particular bit, Fry goes about his comically perceived bumbling ways and asks why this certain event had to happen in this specific way. At first he was brushed off for being an idiot but the professor actually did some hard thinking about this question. Why did this thing had to happen this specific way? If an idiot can question it, why can’t a knowledgeable man of science figure out how else to question the universe. This is my convoluted way of showing that knowledge isn’t defined by how smart a person is perceived but by their experience.
Knowledge is defined as “facts, information, and skills acquired by a person through experience or education; the theoretical or practical understanding of a subject.” Following this quote knowledge is also proposed as the awareness that there are things that we do not know and we simply have to accept it. To me, knowledge isn’t defined by how much schooling you’ve done, how high your education level is. I define knowledge by your experience and your personal history. Someone who has grown up on the streets has accumulated their own specific brand of knowledge; what streets to avoid, which house is safe, which people to avoid. While upper middle class have more knowledge on the finer things in life, more education based knowledge. These two don’t exist higher than one another in the way that one is deemed “dumber.” We have grown to accept the social connotation that people who don’t do well academically or financially are perceived less knowledgeable. This is clearly not the case as we know but this social construct hits deep and exists to this day. How many teachers give up on a kid because they aren’t doing well in one course but find that they are absolutely brilliant in another way? How many people deem immigrants and refugees lesser due to their lack of western understanding? Knowledge is so much deeper than how we stroke our beards and think about mathematics. People will go through their whole lives and not be truly knowledgeable. We have to be open to the idea that there is a pursuit of knowledge that we will never find. Life is this weird combination of practical experience and thinking that somehow took us from hunter gatherers to ones that carry personal computers with the worlds information right at their fingertips.
But then again, what do I know? I connect major philosophical thinking to a shitty 90’s/00’s show about a guy who was frozen and wakes up in 3000.

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