I have been thinking a lot about the way that our world is designed to enhance knowledge and wisdom. The current paradigm for accumulating our understanding of the world is to have various individuals designated to specialize in certain areas of the puzzle and then commune again after studying separately and work to form a cohesive whole. This is the true essence of the process of analysis — to pick apart, examine the constituents, and then put the subject of the analysis together again. However, it seems like this model, although pragmatically quite a marvel, is really insufficient.
That is, what are we really getting out of it? What is the end result?
I know that many scholars and scientists will retort that it is clear and evident that this paradigm works. After all, we have been able to combine the fields of biology and chemistry and the expertise there to create various pharmaceuticals and neuroactive compounds that have enhanced the well-being of humankind. If you combine a knowledge of the ecosystem with that of economy or anthropology, you might be able to come up with a sustainable system to create balance between resources, allotment of funds, and lifestyles. I mean, the examples are endless…
And though I agree with all of this, it still doesn’t make a lot of sense to approach one issue or topic from several different specialties and expect to get a super-conscious that can put it all together.
Let’s say you write a paper on consciousness and you have six individuals designated to explore various dynamics of consciousness, say (mostly arbitrary)…imagination, dreaming, dissociation, memory, learning, and emoting. Each individual studies his or her designated aspect of consciousness exclusively with some cursory interconnections to the other aspects of consciousness (because the goal is to specialize!). When the individuals come together again, we form a document of their “findings”. Each person writes a page summarizing his or her findings. In order for this process to be beneficial, the individuals would have to discuss endlessly what they found and how it inter-related. And even better, the individuals would have to rotate so that the person who previously studied imagination is now studying dissociation, and so on until each aspect has been explored by each person. THEN they can reconvene and discuss how it all fits together.
More importantly, I think that there is this implicit assumption in our modern worldview that somehow if we get enough minds coming together and honing in on one topic then at some point there will be a super-consciousness created that has a total knowledge which is much more than the sum of its parts. However, how can this be? An external audience member reading the report created by researchers working in this manner will be 25% informed on each dynamic covered in the report. It is not as though by merging this expertise together that somehow the end result will be an understanding of greater than 100% for the total subject.
I have found recently, also, that when I was a student I had a different mindset about approaching my subject of study. I would focus in to the finest detail of what I was studying and learn my way though the subject as though taking a telescope and gradually reducing the magnification. Is this model really all that functional? I mean, it is very common and it seems to be very useful..but I wonder if it is really the best way. Why do we ever need to look at the world through a telescope when it is always right here? Further, why do we need to “internalize”…or perhaps, really, externalize (through abstraction and dissociation) through representation a world that is already here?