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    18-Aug-2015

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  1. 1. Thewholepointofknowledgeistoproducebothmeaningandpurposeinour personallives.Towhatextentdoyouagreewiththis? Within our personal lives, there are many different reasons to why we aquire knowledge. Not only does it produce purpose by instilling in us a drive that influences the path that we choose to take in our life along with meaning by making life more enjoyable. But also, the acquisition and application of knowledge serves a utilitarian function that enhances and even eases our lives. Moreover, knowledge also ensures responsible citizenry by creating a knowledge framework that individuals can apply to make responsible and informed decisions that can have large and positive impacts on society. To answer the aforementioned question, I will be drawing extensively from my own personal experiences within the areas of knowledge of the Arts and Natural Sciences to demonstrate how the point of knowledge is not constrained to just producing meaning and purpose in our lives, but rather, is also extended to serving a utilitarian function along with ensuring responsible citizenry. Knowledge produces purpose in our lives by inspiring us to deepen our understanding of our world, which, by extension helps us to choose a path that we will follow in our life. For instance, I am incredibly passionate about cosmology and quantum mechanics, both two very abstract divisions of physics, which are part of the natural sciences. When I applied to university for a major in astronomy, my parents disapproved because my subject had no real-world application in their eyes. Yet for me, I have an inherent desire to understand the origin of our universe and how exactly were we created. Here, knowledge has given my life a purpose for it has inspired me to deepen my understanding of the physical world. Without this knowledge, my curiosity would not be satisfied and I would not be on a track towards an astronomy major at an engineering school. This knowledge has inspired me by fueling my desire to understand the world and has given me a direction for where I want to take my life as it gives me an incentive to pursue new goals and learn new things. The fact that knowledge has had a profound impact in setting a path for my life shows how knowledge has given my life purpose. This knowledge has given me a reason for being, my purpose in life is to understand the origin of this universe, and it is through knowledge that my curiosity was sparked enough to make this my lifes purpose. However, I believe that knowledge does not have to be the only avenue that produces purpose in our personal lives. Therefore, it must be considered whether life can still have a purpose without knowledge. For instance, Ive always felt that Pakistanis, such as my parents, were brought
  2. 2. up with the belief that their purpose in life was to ensure stability by taking care of their family and ensuring that they are happy, irrespective of how they do so whether its by following their dreams or by pursuing the most secure - yet boring - job. Whereas having grown up in an American society, I feel that I have been conditioned to follow my dreams and pursue knowledge purely out of curiosity and passion, irrespective of where it might take me. So when I asked my Pakistani father what is the purpose of his life, he replied that it is to take care of his family and that this goal is what inspires and dictates his path in life. I believe that depending on different cultures and subsequently, different peoples priorities in life, knowledge doesnt always have to be the sole provider of purpose in our lives. For instance, my fathers purpose in life is to take care of his family whereas mine is to learn about the origin of the universe. Both avenues have dictated the paths that we will both take although one is motivated by knowledge and the other is motivated by duty. Although, in my fathers case, his usage of knowledge is a means to take care of his family through his profession, his purpose has not been created by knowledge but rather, by his culture. This shows how knowledge is not imperative in order to have a purpose in life. Knowledge does not need a reason to be acquired but rather, knowledge can be acquired for its own sake because it can make life simply more enjoyable. The pursuit of Physics has given my life purpose by giving it a sense of direction yet that does not mean that all the knowledge that I seek must be constrained to only physics, or be purposeful knowledge for that matter. But rather, much of my knowledge is acquired for my own personal enjoyment. Coming from a conservative Pakistani family, my parents had always tried to ensure that my studies (particularly in the sciences and maths) took precedence over my musical education because there is no money in music, as my father would say. Both my parents and I feel that music, which is part of the arts, has no significant purpose in my life because it is part the path in my life that I wish to take. Despite this, music does provide me with meaning for the knowledge of learning how to play a new instrument or song does bring immense happiness and joy. I am motivated to learn new songs not because I want to become a musician, but because music simply makes my days more enjoyable. Music, like many other forms of stimuli such as reading, writing, or even exercise are all sources of entertainment and joy. Without these stimuli, life would by joyless, as the very things that give happiness to our life would be gone. By extension, this shows how knowledge is imperative to obtain meaning in life for knowledge is required to pursue any sort of hobby or recreational activity such as a sport, a video game, an instrument, etc. Without the knowledge
  3. 3. of how to use these stimuli, we would be unable to enjoy, use or interpret them, hence showing how knowledge is imperative to produce meaning in our life. Beyond providing meaning and purpose in our lives, another point of knowledge is to serve a utilitarian function by easing or even enhancing the quality of life through the application of knowledge. For instance, when I first started going to the gym, my personal trainer had explained to me that I should never exercise the same muscles two days in a row because not only does this prevent muscle from growing, but it also puts strain on the body. Another example would be how my father taught me how to take care of our cars engine and what kind of fuel would be most suitable for our car so that it would drive most efficiently. In both cases, knowledge is used to make life easier as the knowledge of the biology behind muscle growth has enabled me to exercise more efficiently and the knowledge of the physics and chemistry behind fuel and engines has taught me how to take care of the family car. Here, knowledge from the natural sciences serves a utilitarian value because without this knowledge, both my body would be under strain and my familys car wouldnt be taken care of as frequently, thus showing how through knowledge, we can make changes to our surroundings to improve and ease our lives, thus fulfilling knowledges utilitarian function. Moreover, the acquisition of knowledge also ensures responsible citizenry by allowing individuals to make informed decisions that could have profound implications for society. For instance, after teaching us about the greenhouse effect and climate change, my physics teacher remarked that it is our duty to elect politicians who actually have a thorough knowledge and understanding about the issues rather than being fueled by misinformation, as is often the case with climate change. Using our knowledge about the environment, which is part of the natural sciences, we can determine whether or not the implications of a bill or the election of a politician will benefit society based on what they propose. Without knowledge, we would be unable to determine what exactly are the implications of electing a politician or supporting a bill. In fact, our lack of knowledge could result in us being easily swayed and influenced by the persuasive rhetoric of the politician in the ensuing political climate, hence influencing us to elect politicians or support bills that could potentially hurt society. But with knowledge, we can make clear and informed decisions about the bill or politician by evaluating their impact on society, thus ensuring responsible citizenry by allowing us to make informed decisions that benefit, rather than hurt, society. So in essence, the point of knowledge is to provide both meaning and purpose to our lives but is not solely constrained to this scope. In fact, knowledge also serves a utilitarian function in the sense that garnered knowledge can be used to solve real world problems
  4. 4. through its application along with ensuring responsible citizenry by helping individuals make informed, knowledgeable decisions that can have profound and positive impacts on society. Therefore, to conclude, it has been found that knowledge serves a myriad array of functions in our personal lives. Word Count: 1,533