Information Filtration (1)
This is the age of information,
And more is yet to come,
What is information exactly?
The same statement which sounds informative to one person, can be total
nonsense to someone else,
And what is knowledge?
Does information constitute knowledge??
I think it is time we should
differentiate between the different levels of human “awareness”,
So that for each category of awareness, and from each level ... a different word
is used to point to it.
So it is the awareness of something ... that we are trying to
Such awareness can be about an illusion, physical facts, intuition ... or some
other inner source ...
And as soon as I try to categorise those “sources” of knowledge ... eyebrows
are raised ...
Because the last item in that list, namely the “inner source”, is seen by some
as an illusion ...
While an illusion ... can be taken by some as well-established truths ...!
This is a very sensitive subject of investigation,
Because it touches on the beliefs and convictions of people,
Beliefs and convictions which are sometimes taken for granted,
And no investigation is believed to be necessary to validate the reliability
and scope of truthfulness of their sources
Information Filtration (2)
When you examine what
people “know” ...:
Information and emotion start to look inseparable, although the two aren’t ...
There’s an emotion attached to every piece of information in people’s heads
It could be negative ... as in something that is feared and loathed, or
positive ... as in something that is wanted and loved,
But what about technical
knowledge and vocational skills?
Those also seem to be associated with want, and the desire to be good and
competitive at something ...
So I really can’t find any
knowledge that people have that is not associated with some emotion,
And I equally can’t imagine anyone trying to acquire knowledge about something
which they don’t have some sort of emotional attachment or unattachment to ...
And I’ve been using the words information and knowledge loosely and interchangeably
... but I’ll come back to this later ...
This is how and why we
browsed the newspapers in the past, and this is how and why we browse the Net
We pick and choose what we want to read, and pass quickly over what is
“unimportant” to us ...
So what did we do in the
past, before the establishment of the information dissemination apparatuses?
One can imagine that there were books, in whatever physical medium, of
mythology and religion and hocus-pocus sciences,
Perhaps there were also documents of treaties and wars and achievements of
kings and rulers ...
And most importantly there were laws ... heavenly or mundane ...
Although, all these vary from one culture to another,
Some cultures recorded a lot, and some didn’t record anything ...
And all this recorded knowledge was as accurate and true, from the reader’s
perspective, as they believed it to be ...
And there were ... rumours,
Rumours that were spread by individuals who’d earned the status of being
reliable sources of rumours!
Rumours would be about the things which were happening ... in the local
community and beyond,
And rumours about ... the mysterious causes of things,
And this went hand in hand with religious beliefs,
So, in essence, the sources
of ”information” haven’t changed much ...
What has been added to this is the academia,
The material that is published by the academia is different from the recorded
or the orally spread information of the past, because it is subjected to
scrutiny, as in the case of empirical sciences ...
But in everything else beside empirical sciences that the academia publishes: I
wouldn’t exaggerate if I used the word: speculation to describe it,
So in this respect also:
emotion plays a big role: endorsing beliefs and counter-beliefs, and pointing
in chosen directions ...
Not that this is totally bad, in anyway ...
It is bad when it is presented as established facts, rather than a theory that
might or might not have merit ...
As for empirical sciences, those who are involved in them will tell you that
there’s a good deal of emotion that attracts them to them,
Whether it is the love of scientific knowledge, or the desire to achieve and
prove one’s capability ...
this so far seems to ignore the architectural and building achievements of past
civilisations, as well as their medical knowledge ...
But far from it,
Because one can't but stop of awe and wonder: what kind of emotion sought such
Information Filtration (3)
It is obvious, hence, that
the sources of information that people rely on are dictated by their emotions,
And when we say emotions: beliefs are called upon,
Because belief is essentially embraced by emotions,
This is why we use the word “embrace” or “adopt” in
English, and in Arabic words which translate accurately to “embrace” and “adopt”
A belief system is actually a source of
information for the believers in it: because those who participate in the
information dissemination would have to be believers, or at least prepared to
Modern secular systems of
belief aren’t different,
Although they all would like to believe that they are,
The contrivance of empirical sciences, and the high degree of certainty of its
information that is verifiable by experimentation that requires no preconceived
idea or belief: has been the envy of the ideologues of politics and economics,
and indeed religion: wanting or hoping to come up with a system of ideologies,
presented as accurate and precise information, similarly to science ...:
Thus it seems that: the
degree of universality of credibility of information: depends on the degree of
independence of the information on people’s beliefs and emotions,
So for example: a natural
phenomenon that can be created and observed as many times as desired: will
occur consistently, if the observers’ emotions cannot influence their
perception of it,
But when it comes to a
phenomenon that cannot be recreated: people’s opinions of it, and how it
eventuated and ended: will vary with the people who observe it ...
And those who have not observed it will adopt the version which they feel close
to emotionally in their belief system,
That’s because in the
former case: all the elements which constitute the event are known and hence
can be controlled, and in the latter case: very few or perhaps none of those
elements are identified or can be controlled: and this leaves a lot of room for
the emotions to play their part,
If any phenomenon is not
yet known comprehensively and analytically ... the perception of it will be
shaped primarily by emotions, and predictability is the outcome of a complete
absence of emotion,
Such generalisation seems
to apply not only to phenomena in which only mute natural elements are at play,
but also to those in which animal and man are components and participants ...
And the two-way street
between events and the different versions of recounts of them: and the
multitude of sources of information that it sets off ...: is the basis of what
is called falsely “sources of information”, and should indeed be called: modes
Information Filtration (4)
So let’s put the “rumours”
aside for now, to ask the question: what is knowledge?
Well, the self-evident answer is that knowledge is about truth,
But this seems to raise more questions than provide answers,
If we say that knowledge
should refer only to information which is beneficial ... to everyone, as
somebody has been suggesting in recent times:
We risk opening the doors wide to everyone claiming to have knowledge which is
beneficial to everyone,
Hence fallacies and superstition ... and religious beliefs are taken as
knowledge, by those who adopt them!
And thus we haven’t made one step forward on the way of ridding the world of
fallacies and superstitions altogether, to pave the way for knowledge,
And many do believe that
their religious and “spiritual” beliefs are beneficial, and everyone should
adopt them to be successful and happy,
And people should feel free to adopt any belief, and to think that some
knowledge they have is beneficial to them ... as long as they don’t consequently
give themselves privileges and special rights that no one else can have ...
But if we say that
knowledge should refer only to information which is universally accepted as
true: we have a better approach to “truthfulness”, and hence to knowledge,
which everyone in the world can go along ...
Yet many will be adamant
that their beliefs are universally true,
But the universality of any truth is not a belief; it is an actual demonstrable
The question now is: apart from scientific facts and mathematical theory: how
much “truth” do the peoples of the world share?
If we admit only science
and mathematics as universal truth we risk putting wisdom and philosophy side
by side with fallacies and superstitions and local truths,
Because the truthfulness of wisdom and philosophy cannot be verified by a
universal system of demonstration similarly to empirical sciences and
And we have, by so doing, deprived human values of their truthfulness,
So little wonder why some
have been calling for the retirement of philosophy, in the light of the advance
of sciences ...
But COB has said before: that it was philosophy which paved the way for the
advance of mathematics and empirical sciences,
Moreover, COB can’t see that the direction that sciences are in: can guarantee
their advance in the future,
Philosophy will have to be called upon once again ... to point to new
directions, where worlds of knowledge have not been explored, and new
technologies which can only be dreamt of now can be developed,
But this aside, who can
argue against the values of justice, cooperation and compassion ... which all
The problem is not in the inadequacy of those values, or their shortage of
truthfulness, the problem is in their scope of application,
When their scope of application goes not one inch beyond one’s own country or
whichever group of people one identifies oneself with: this is when trouble
Because from such a narrow perspective: those values turn to their opposite
outside that scope,
if taken as universal truths: their benefits can be reaped, and they become
knowledge, similarly and equally to science and mathematics ...
And the more knowledge of truths people have the more human they become
Information Filtration (5)
Information is akin to a
In it words are defined,
Those words point to something, which can be physical, abstract or essential:
Such as a chair or an animal, succession, and
So a text relays a concept, using words
from the dictionary,
This concept is made up of components which in turn are concepts,
So, for example, you can have an entire book with the title “The Functions of
The title by itself is a concept, expressed in concepts,
The content of the book would expand on the functions of the liver, with more
concepts around that title ...
Let’s assume that you have
the scientific background to understand the vocabulary and all the concepts
featuring in the book,
What this means effectively is that you already have some information, which
enables you to understand the book ... and to make sense of it, and thus you
can acquire more information,
And how much it makes sense
to you and by how much you relate to it will determine how much of it you will
retain in your memory ... for it to become useful knowledge,
If a group of people like
you: are given the same book to read it ... they will understand and retain
some parts of it ... like you,
So each participant in this exercise has a degree of knowledge now about the
functions of the liver,
: The one who has the best
understanding of it and has retained the most of it and perhaps all of it: is
the one who had a desire to learn it, so now he loves it, or fears it: in the
sense that it triggers in him an anxiety about the health of his own liver,
I think this is demonstrable
Emotion makes us understand and remember things,
They thus become part of our consciousness,
They become our knowledge:
Because we have mapped them onto some part of our mind: by the intermediary of
Information Filtration (6)
The knowledge that we’ve
looked at so far is incomplete,
Although it can have a useful application,
And its usefulness is only applicable in its scope of truthfulness,
Hence the process of learning never stops, and the
pursuit of knowledge is in itself one of the practical uses of knowledge,
At some point, and perhaps due to the
shortness of life, some of us ask the question about knowledge itself: what is
it, and why do we want it?
Socrates had a dialogue with Meno about this, and was unable to precisely say
what it was,
And that’s because knowledge cannot be known by knowledge,
COB has said that a thing
can’t know something higher to it,
And higher refers to rank of existence: as in cause and effect,
Like matter can be known by the senses, which all living beings, even some
The senses can be known by consciousness,
Some might argue here that
matter creates the senses and that the senses create the consciousness,
In this case they have to prove to us that a video camera is self-conscious,
and that vision can be created by matter that has no idea what vision is ...
And consciousness can be
known by a mind, as in the case of the human mind,
So knowledge: which is one
of the components of consciousness: should be knowable by the mind: which is
capable of spontaneous knowledge ...
This is why Socrates did hint ... to the first two or three letters of a word,
and how they point to an object of knowledge,
His statement however was
not taken in its correct context,
So here what I see he was hinting at:
In the ancient Hebrew texts, it is said that the universe was created by the
letters of the alphabet,
This is the alphabet of existent things, the primordial sounds which created
the primordial images,
People who work in creating
sound effects in the film industry will have no difficulty in understanding
Every image that we perceive, by vision or by the mind, has a sound that speaks
And vice versa, every sound has an image that represents it,
The twins exist simultaneously,
The image can be stationary, or at motion,
The motion is meant to show the image from different perspectives, or at
different stages of its existence,
I know this is verging on
But psychology and neuroscience will have to research this sooner or later,
Also linguistic science: has to look for the three-letter roots of the
vocabulary of the all the languages of the world ... perhaps to come to the
conclusion that there is in fact one vocabulary,
Neither the spiritist nor
the materialist should have a problem with this approach: after all, they both
agree that the brain functions by the laws of the universe
Information Filtration (7)
If you are comfortable with the idea that information is akin to a
dictionary: it becomes paramount that information be as accurate as possible,
And this is not a farfetched concept:
The vocabulary that you know is the building blocks of your knowledge:
Even as you read the news - and let’s pretend that
the news is accurate: what you are doing is that you are adding events, dates
and personalities to your dictionary ...
If you decide to analyse the news: you would
involve your emotions and past experiences: in order to create a kind of
The events and the dates by themselves: will be
pushed to the margins of your memory, and in time: completely erased from it:
if you don’t get somehow attached or unattached to them ...
let’s not take this too scientifically: and words can never point to pure
“substances”, except perhaps in chemistry!
With all this in the back of your mind now: you can start seeing that if the
dictionary of your information is inaccurate or inadequate: you are at risk of
being unable to have knowledge that has any degree of truth, and you are very
likely to hoard illusions in your head, and you certainly cannot identify the
causes of things: let alone the Cause of all the causes,
So, for example, if the fact that a Book that is the Word of God is taken
by you to mean that nothing else is the Word of God: then the entire creation
will be overlooked by your belief: and consequently all your deeds and
expectations will be invested in the Book: and the natural world will neglect
you as much as you have neglected it,
And similarly, if you take matter to be the only existent thing; then your
mind and emotions will be overlooked by your belief, because you will not be
able to identify them anatomically or with some laboratory analysis: and all
your deeds and expectations will be invested in tangible things: and the world
of the essences will evaporate from your head, as quickly as pure spirit: if
spilt on the floor