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There is a distinct relationship between knowledge and emotion. First of all, we have to understand what knowledge is. The word knowledge has many different meanings. For example, we can study for a math test, and after we have understood the ways we have to use to solve the mathematical equations we have gained mathematical knowledge. We analyzed the given information, accepted them to be true and retained them.
The problem is that humans differ from each other. We have different interests and the positive emotions one might feel while doing a task can occur to be negative emotions for another human. While solving mathematical equations, one might be interested in learning the schemas. The person feels that the task he is doing does make sense and this is some kind of inspiration to go on. The goal for this person is to understand the given information and retain it.
On the other hand, a human who doesn’t like mathematical equations needs more time to understand the information given. This human will not feel any positive emotions while doing the task. Other emotions, like anger or fear will destruct his sense of logical thinking and perceiving of information. It is some kind of torture because he does know exactly that he has to gain this knowledge in order not to be punished but he doesn’t understand the deeper sense. He might be able to understand the information but he will have some mental distance to it. He will not have the feeling that this knowledge he gained is his knowledge because he was forced to gain it and it will not have any sense for his future life. That’s also a reason he might forget the stored information after a short time.
It is a fact that we are surrounded by information all the time. We do not even perceive all the information. We just are aware of the information which seems to be useful to us. In this moment when we discover this information, we consciously or subconsciously see a deeper meaning in it. This deeper meaning or deeper sense we feel in this moment is the result of an emotion that connects to the information. The information is analyzed and we gain knowledge, which we actually feel and understand.
Emotions can be released through the evaluation of an object or a situation. For instance, many people who experienced very hard or brutal actions like soldiers during a war are diagnosed with mental disorders. Posttraumatic stress disorder is very common. We can listen to the stories of the soldiers and we can try to imagine what happened, but we will never be able to actually understand what they felt. We know that it has been a cruel time for them and we can tell them how sorry we are that they had to go through this. However, we would lie if we would say that we know how they feel. The emotion you might feel is empathy, but this empathy can not explain to you how cruel the soldier’s experiences have been. It is just a theory in our own mind.
Another example of linking knowledge with emotion is parachuting. Your friend might tell you how great it was and that it has been one of the most intense feelings he felt in his life, but you won’t be able to feel this if you are not going to do it as well. The knowledge you have in this moment is just a theory and you might get excited, but to actually understand it you will have to be in the same situation as your friend has been. Experiences have to be undergone, they cannot be known in the sense of real understanding.
Without emotions such as curiosity we would not have discovered many things in this world. Curiosity is an emotion which stimulates us to gain knowledge. It is a fact that many important discoveries which have been made were actually discovered by accident. The research is the result of interest, which is also curiosity - an emotion. If we wouldn’t be able to feel emotions as happiness, anger or curiosity, we wouldn’t have any motivation to explore the world we live in. We would have no motivation to gain knowledge.
Another proof for the correlation between knowledge and emotion is shown in the research of the psychologist Antonio Damasio. He had a patient named Elliot. Elliot’s emotional center of the brain was damaged. A brain tumor destroyed parts of his brain. After brain surgery, he was in a good psychological and physical condition. His intelligence was assessed to be above average. He also had a good memory, perception and learning ability. But it appeared that he had totally lost the ability to make rational decisions. He wasn’t able to allot his working time anymore; he transacted dubious business and lost all of his money. He divorced his wife and married another woman, but this marriage did not last long.1
Elliot wasn’t able to feel anymore. All of his decisions were irrational decisions, because he was not able to connect his thoughts and deeds with his sentiments anymore. Not only had he lost his emotions, but also his measure of value. Obviously pure reason is not sufficient for decision-making. The case of Elliot proves that pure reason cannot fulfill our lives. Without emotion we might be able to live, but we would not able to interpret situations well and act instinctively.
- Quote paper
- Felix Dyrek (Author), 2009, Theory of knowledge : "There can be no knowledge without emotion…until we have felt the force of the knowledge, it is not ours" (adapted from Arnold Bennett) , Munich, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/159593