(These were the thoughts I had penned down a long time back after watching this outstanding movie Solaris by Andrei Tarkovsky)
What is knowledge?
Today, I watched Solaris. It raises questions about the nature and limits of knowledge, something that I had thought about for a long time now.
In the movie Snaut says, “Man wants to see man when he goes to outer-space. He is unwilling to see or learn anything that does not fall under the realm of human knowledge”. It is true, isn’t it? We see and understand everything on the basis of the knowledge we already possess.
For example, we see everything in terms of numbers – two eyes, many people, a blanket. No matter what we think it is not possible to get rid of the number. I had long back written a blogpost in which i posted a picture of a bunch of men and I asked what would you think of this picture if you did not have the number system. Well, what would we think? No matter what we think – it always seem to come back to the concept of numbers.
What if there is a different basis of knowledge that does not belong to the realm of numbers? What if it was an accident that human knowledge chanced upon the number-realm rather than the other? Sure, it was an act of pure genius, the invention of numbers. But all the subsequent knowledge that we built was based upon this one basic premise, which in the end was probably an accident.
So, if we have to talk about truth, the existence of which is unknown as far as i am concerned, the knowledge that we possess today is true only as long as the premise is true. But the premise is an assumption at best. So is all knowledge an assumption?
Is our “understanding” of nature our own fabrication and nothing more?