According to Aristotle, knowledge is the only good and ignorance is the only evil. When knowledge is the only good, where do we start from since ignorance is the only evil? In Herrmann’s whole brain thinking, how rational can we get when in fact the majority of the time we are irrational (irrational due to ignorance because knowledge is the only good, thus knowledge keep us rational).
To begin I refer you to this short video from ASAP science.
As you can see, we were all females before we were born. We are gender neutral at certain point of time in the womb of our mothers. In the first 5 to 6 weeks we are the X chromosome. One chromosome pair – the sex chromosomes – is unique. You don’t necessarily end up with a matching pair. Typically females have two X chromosomes and males have an X and a Y. Mothers always pass an X chromosome on to their children. Whether your father passes on his X chromosome (leading to a pair of X chromosomes) or his Y chromosome (making a mixed set) determines your sex.
That’s knowledge! We now know that we are all females once. The next thing we know, in terms of knowledge, is that we are born after nine months of gestational period. Depending on the X and Y chromosome combination, we are either male or female. As a baby, it is safe to say that we are all irrational since a baby will not be able to learn until perhaps a few years later. Our biological parents, despite their educational levels, will continue to nourish us and nurture us with knowledge and their emotions. We continue to stay irrational (as babies we only have emotions and perhaps basic knowledge) thus ignorant as long as we are babies and growing up to be a child that is able to stand on two feet, literally speaking. Our parents shower us with love and care. We cannot say that the child is evil simply because he is ignorant since a child has the right to be innocent and naive until he or she is of legal age (legal age varies according to different constitutions) to decide for him/herself. Since the child (below legal age) is ignorant and innocent, he cannot be evil in the absence of knowledge. The child begins to acquire basic knowledge when he or she is enrolled into pre-school, perhaps through play. When the child proceeds to higher education, he or she begins to acquire more knowledge through directed learning. When the child becomes an adult, he or she narrows down his or her learning education when he or she choose a particular field of study, i.e. law, medicine, commuter engineering, etc. In other words, apart from learning in schools, we start to gain knowledge when we feel that we have insufficient knowledge to understand a particular situation or subject. We improve ourselves when we feel inadequate. This is what the reflexive theory says when we try to understand a particular situation with our cognitive function and then sort to participate or manipulate that situation.
If we equate irrationality with emotions and rationality with knowledge, we understand that knowledge is good and keep us rational. In addition, if we consider moral and ethical values to be knowledge as well, we acquire moral virtues through these ethics/morals using our intellectual virtues, thus providing us virtuous living. It is only when these ethics/moral virtues are practice to become second nature that we can truly consider ourselves good (since knowledge is the only good and ignorance the only evil). In the tree of knowledge above, it offers us an analogy of how knowledge is a living thing and not an end in itself.
Knowledge is your power, hence knowledge empowers you. Please also understand that knowledge does not make you more equal than others, above others or even above the law. If that is the case, knowledge is not good anymore and ignorance will not be the evil (knowledge becomes the evil and not ignorance). It is also fair to argue that these people who think that they are above others is ignorant in the sense that they may have too little knowledge or too narrow of the idea of knowledge to think that they are above all others. This is where my earlier posting on equality comes into the picture. Thus we cannot blame evil on knowledge, we can only point the finger at ignorance when it comes to evil. Aristotle is right on!
It is the person with the knowledge to apply that truly lives knowledge – knowledge empowers you. When knowledge is living, it becomes good. When we are able to share knowledge, we will be able to multiply that power. This is when the notion government of the people, by the people and for the people is fully in function.
Moral virtues are also a form of knowledge. However it also has to be practice. If one is ignorant of a moral/ethical value, it can be said that he is ignorant of it. But once that knowledge is shared and the person understand it (unless the person does not have the intellectual ability to understand), he is no longer ignorant of it. This is not to say that he is good since he only understand the superficial value of that ethic/moral. There isn’t a universal theory on what good ethic/moral is as well as a universally accepted moral or ethical person. Virtues do not happen at a particular time of the week, i.e. from 8am to 9am on Sunday. It is something that is second nature to the person of ethical value. We are able to learn and teach virtues because we are able to point to an instance of that ethical value of a person. Since we are able to learn and teach virtues, most people will understand and know that ethical value. It still has to be practiced in order for it to become second nature to anyone. It does not matter that we keep failing but it does mater that we are always mindful of the virtues (thus becoming second nature). To me, when it is second nature, it is the intellectual virtues that will make the person with the ethical value to truly carry out the ethical purpose. This is when phronesis, episteme and nous come into the picture. When all are present, wisdom will then present itself in its beautiful form thus resulting in the notion that beautiful actions come from beautiful characters aiming at beauty – thus Aristotle’s kalos kagathos.
We are all females once when we were fetuses in the embryonic stage. We are all irrational (emotions) when we are only babies or children. We are all ignorant (perhaps not evil) when we were young. We are only good when we have the knowledge to understand why because knowledge is the only good and ignorance the only evil.