TOPIC: The whole point of knowledge is to produce both meaning and purpose in our personal lives
What is meaning? Meaning is the idea of something represented by a word. For meaning to impact ones personal life, it needs to be of something that will impact their life for the better or for worst. Purpose is an anticipated outcome that is intended or that guides your planned actions. Meaning and purpose both have a long lasting influence on ones life. Is knowledge the ONLY thing that produces meaning and purpose in ones life? Knowledge is the physiological result of perception, learning and reasoning, it is a finite word that is only the stuff that YOU know. The insertion of the word “whole” means that the ONLY point of knowledge is to produce meaning and purpose in ones life, but that would mean that knowledge is not used for anything but those. It could also be perceived that meaning and purpose in ones life can only be made by knowledge.
Although knowledge influences the meaning and purpose in ones life, it is not the only thing that makes it so. Also, meaning and purpose in our lives can be made from things rather than simply knowledge. Personal meanings and purposes to ones life are completely subjective because it is about the individuals themselves. This statement is false because although knowledge influences the production of both meaning and purpose in our personal lives, there are other things that can influence the production of both just about the same if not more.
We know through the ways of knowing, of a way of knowing that produces BOTH meaning and purpose in our lives would have to be the most influential one of them all: faith. The term “faith” is most frequently perceived as religious faith. Although most associated with belief in a God or gods, faith can be religious without believing in a God. Faith can also be seen as a commitment to a particular interpretation of experience and reality, which is not necessarily religious at all, such as humanism. Through the history of a certain religion or faith, we as individuals grow to fit these customs, because it plays a crucial part in everyone’s families. We, as individuals, begin to give meaning to stuff of which was important to our ancestors, friends, and family.
If one were to be from a religious family, they would be grown into a family that is religious because of the meaning and purpose it has to her family. Earlier this year, in literature class, the class read Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi. Persepolis is an autobiography of Satrapi’s life as a graphic novel. In the novel, we are shown that Satrapi wants to be involved with her parents and their rebelling at a very young age. Her ignorance doesn’t want to know WHAT they are fighting for, but her innate feeling is to bas herself off of her parents. She is grown into something that develops her as a person and influences her life. The meaning of her life comes from the religious activity of her parents.
At the same time, not all people believe in faith or belong to a religion. If faith is a way of KNOWING then there should not be the smallest flaw in the idea of NOT having faith or being religious then there is no purpose or meaning to ones life. It is up to the individuals themselves to proclaim whether or not their personal life is meaningful. Atheists are people who do not believe in God, therefore they have no “religious faith” do they have no purpose in life? Do the not have meaning to their lives? Depending on the ways you are grown you will perceive such things differently. People of non-religious backgrounds are the same as the people that belong to God. They have made their own choice, and we have made ours. Do they judge us for our choices? Do they question whether or not religiously faithful people produce meaning and purpose because of our religious viewpoint? If meaning and purpose are in the lives of people who have no faith, then how can we state that “the WHOLE point of knowledge IS TO produce both meaning and purpose in our personal lives, if Atheism is going against a way of knowing?
Meaning and purpose can derive from all places, not JUST knowledge. Knowledge is a word that describes the concepts learned and memorized by ones mind. Meaning and purpose can come from emotions, specifically love as well as ambition. Love’s sole purpose is to impact our lives, for better or for worst, if one feels loved or needed they believe that they have a purpose in life. It means that they mean something to someone, that someone appreciates them. In the Crucible, written by Arthur Miller, the protagonist John Proctor, has an affair on his wife with a young girl named Abigail. Abigail had been a regular innocent girl up until she came up to being the age of where she can “love.” You can deduce from the play that Abigail was in love with John Proctor, however, it was not the same from the other side.
After being with Proctor, Abigail became more involved, she became more aware, it was as if EVERYTHING had been elevated to a higher level that she came to be the leader of this “group” of girls who had been “bewitched.” After being with John that one time, Abigail’s love for him made her become who she was, a woman who found meaning in her life, a girl who now NEEDED John Proctor. After that one time she would do anything to get him. Ambition is also another emotion that contributes to the production of meaning and purpose to an individual’s life. Being ambitious means to have or show a strong desire and determination to succeed. The ambition of people is what drives them to be successful, and to believe you are successful means that you would have had to have a fundamental base of believing in yourself, to believe that there’re is a reason everything happens like it does.
Knowledge’s only point is not JUST to produce only both meaning an purpose in our personal lives. Knowledge is a major contributor to the process though. Faith is a way of knowing that demonstrates both sides of this. On one side, a faithful person to God would derive their roots, their needs, and their desires because it is of what God has told us through the history of our ancestors. However, if you look at it from the perspective of an Atheist, then they could see it the opposite way because they could argue that their life has meaning and purpose just not under the position of believing in God. They could make the same assumption as we do of them. Would they be wrong? Meaning and purpose can derive from all places, not JUST knowledge. Who are we to say that meaning and purpose JUST come from knowledge? It is subjective based on the person and their perspective of life. However one sees the way meaning and purpose to affect their life means that they have had a meaning and purpose before even coming across it.