Menu

“Some areas of knowledge seek to describe the world

February 23, 2019 0 Comment

“Some areas of knowledge seek to describe the world, whereas others seek to transform it.” This quote suggests that some areas of knowledge only seek to describe the world and while others only seek to transform the world. However, this is not always the case. Each area of knowledge explores a wide range of disciplines and expertise, where each individual has their own intentions when creating knowledge to provide a greater understanding of a subject. They may seek to either describe the world or to transform it, or do both. When forces are combined or when emotional attachment is present, people can make a much bigger impact on the world and create a much better explanation for the phenomena in the world, than an individual would due to the wide range of perspectives. Thus making it possible for both transformation and description in the world, particularly in the natural sciences and the arts.

The natural science is an area of knowledge associated with scientists who seek explanations, to describe the world and phenomena around us. They want to understand how the world works, in order to maintain it in a liveable state, predict what would be possible in the future and to improve the technology and other things available today. Curiosity is the main stimuli for most scientists when seeking explanations and as a result, contributes to their creation of knowledge. Albert Einstein was a German physicist. He was very curious about how the earth functioned. So he used his curiosity as a way of knowing along with reasoning and imagination to understand how the world works. For instance, his dreams from his childhood were about light which greatly influenced his Theory of Relativity published in 1915. In this theory, he describes the phenomena between gravity and space-time. He devised his theory through scientific methods by creating special models, developing Isaac Newton’s theories of gravitation further and he received observations and measurements from astronomers of the universe. When this theory was first proposed it did not intend on seeking transformation as many scientists disagreed with his theory because they were not convinced that it was true. It also seemed very vague and unrealistic. This shows that uncertain claims cannot revolutionize or have an affect on the world. Thus only further explanations were sought by the natural sciences at that time to build upon that theory before it could potentially make a change in the world.

As time passed by and technology improved, scientists have shown that there is the possibility of transforming the world and describing it when there is certainty in the knowledge. Can truth be accessible to the humankind? Over the course of many years, Einstein’s Theory of Relativity became more and more accepted in our society as there was more evidence found which proves what he stated in his theory as being true. Today his theory is considered to be one of greatest achievements of the 21st century as all the knowledge he created was intellectual. In 2015 and 2016 the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Waves Observatory (LIGO) found a lot of evidence of actual gravitational waves (also referred to as ripples) present in the universe. This is what Einstein had predicted and described almost a century back. These findings provide even more cetainy for his Theory of Relatively. Consequently; such events have lead to remarkable transformations in the world because it opened many more opportunities such as time traveling. Making our world more advanced. Scientists are now building exceptional projects which are expected to launch for trial in 2020. Einstein himself was not able to create transformation in the world but his successful predictions and theory was able to give an accurate description of what is present in the universe which has caused other scientists to seek answers and change. Einstein himself developed our understanding in the physics field of the natural sciences. This example shows how description can lead to transformation in the natural sciences, as it creates a foundation of knowledge which people can build upon and the more shared knowledge there is, the easier it is for people to transform the world.

In the area of knowledge of art, artists seek to transform the world through the application of creative skills, to produce something new. They seek ways to enhance what is already present in the natural phenomena in our world and seek to make it even better through innovation or it can be used to raise awareness about issues present in the world. So it can be considered to only seek to change the way the world appears. Furthermore, art does not require people to follow orders or conform to the norms. Instead, the Arts are about man-made intentional creations which must have a response by the viewer. Many artists usually have the intention to create work which communicates certain ideas or emotions. Marina Abramovic is a well known Serbian performance artist who lacked control and suffered under the authority of others during her childhood which influenced most of her work. She uses performance as a medium rather than just creating typical make-believe theatrical performances. She wants to depict the real-world which for her only seemed truly possible by manipulating and demonstrating issues on her own body. Abramovic is known for reaching beyond her body’s limits and even puts her life in danger in order to transform herself, change our knowledge and perception of human through the high level of frightful energy present in her performances. Rhythm 5 was one of her performances held in 1974 where she laid inside a burning star to represent the communist control in Yugoslavia. She eventually lost consciousness and was taken out of the burning star by the audience, once they realized that it was killing her. The audience became involved with the performance by giving it an end. She targeted them emotionally and people couldn’t escape morality. Her performances majorly transformed the way people can perceive art by being involved in its creation. Through the involvement of the spectator, Abramovic is able to reach people’s inner consciousness giving a clearer picture of real world issues. Deeper meaning was formed in the mind due to the alarming performance. Which caused people to change or rethink their current behaviors which leaded to change in the world. Proving the many ways in which the area of knowledge of the Arts seeks to be transformative.

Although artists tend to seek to transform the world, they can also seek to describe the world which can eventually lead to transformation. This is very common among artists who intentionally paint pictures of world issues or significant historical events. Pablo Picasso was a famous artist who sought to describe the Spanish civil war with his abstract piece called Guernica. He deliberately captures the horrible situations through the manipulation and distortion of the human figures. For that reason, can art be used to create reliable knowledge in history? Guernica is a picture of the past from Picasso’s perspective and hence is only certain to some extent. However other evidence is present which backs up the ideas of what he described to have happened at that time through this painting. He was able to create a lot of knowledge about the past by emphasising certain features, experimenting with different color values, shapes and form to portray the historical event. Picasso explains the bombing of Guernica during the war, how people behaved, felt and what had happened through the imagery. It also acts as an anti-war protest which didn’t directly change the world or end the war but his work did impact the audience’s perspective and their knowledge about this conflict. This piece also sought to express the suffering felt by many during that event through symbolic elements connecting the viewer to the painting with our emotions. Through his work, he also transformed the methods used in the arts by inspiring others to manipulate the human form through the abstract technique. He showed the world how art can be far more relevant than just a description of an event. His piece changed people’s mindset towards political issues which has altered human behaviors. This is another example showing how description is also present in the arts and can, in fact, cause transformation in the world.

In conclusion, although certain areas of knowledge seek to only describe the world or only seek to transform, it is evident that they can do both. People have different intentions that control our behavior. If we have the intention to describe the world then we will seek ways to make that happen and if we have the intention to transform the world then we will seek ways to make that happen. Our intentions may not always be like our outcomes thus making it possible for either transformation and description to happen. Description and transformation are connected so one can not happen without the other. Major transformations in the world would not be possible without some kind of basis of descriptive knowledge obtained beforehand and vice versa. We are also able to achieve greater things the more shared knowledge we possess and when different forces are combined it makes it easier to change the world. Transformation and description can give us a better understanding of the world. Hence both description and transformation being equally important during the creation of knowledge for all areas of knowledge.