What constitute knowledge?

There seems to be some confusion about what constitute knowledge, especially when it comes to knowledge of an individual’s life.


Between two persons who is sharing their lives regardless of gender and assuming that both are totally honest and cultured in their approach to conversation, we can safely say that there is acknowledgement when it comes to relating experiences and knowledge of self and others as well as knowledge of human knowledge.

Suppose your life is like Truman of the movie ‘The Truman Show’, everyone in Truman’s life is acting and is not aware of the fact that his life has broadcast to the world. All his private thinking and affairs are known to the world in Truman’s fabricated life in the show. Truman has no knowledge whatsoever in the way people are behave or is sharing information behind his back. He is also not aware of how his life is only a show (albeit a highly manipulated one). Every conversation he meets or engages in is some form of a scripted entertainment.

Does the reader think that he has knowledge or awareness of his life? He may have knowledge of himself, knowledge of his occupation, knowledge of his family, knowledge of  his friends and colleagues but they are all fiction since he is the main character in the reality television program in a constructed hometown of Seahaven, which is a complete set built under a giant arcological dome in the Los Angeles area.

Since there is no acknowledgement or a mutually honest acknowledging relationship between Truman and anyone in the show, I can boldly say that Truman has no real knowledge of his life or knowledge per se. As such, he, upon becoming suspicious of his perceived reality, embarks on a quest to discover the truth about his life.

I don't know. Young woman against white background

Now lets suppose you are married and your spouse is having an extra-marital affair behind your back. Most of your friends know about it but no one tells you (for fear of hurting you). This is real and not a show like Truman’s. I can boldly say that you are unaware that your spouse is having an affair with someone (perhaps your best friend) and you have no knowledge of it. But when I tell you that your spouse have cheated on you for a few years with you in the dark, you would probably be shocked (and angry) and want verification. Feeling hurt (but perhaps more angry than hurt) you confronted your spouse and asked for the truth. In the heated confrontation, you found out the truth. With this piece of news, there suddenly is an acknowledgement about the knowledge of your spouse having an extra-marital affair.

It is not an eureka moment or an ‘aha!’ moment. Nonetheless it is a moment of truth which is the knowledge of your spouse having an affair. There isn’t an acknowledgement in the sense that when a teacher is taking the attendance of the class but there is an acknowledgment in the sense that when the two of you first met and fell in love and decided to take the nuptial vows as married couple.


This is how knowledge is being known and established between two rational persons engaging in a constructive conversation. However this does not constitute to a scientific understanding of what knowledge is, but that’s besides the point. Knowledge is a generic word that describes the theoretical and practical understanding of something or someone. The main point here is about the interactions between people in the social milieu (public and professional), assuming that there is honesty, courtesy and openness in the interactions. There is knowledge of the individual in the exchange of information. This is what constitute knowledge of a person’s life.

So next time if someone asks you ‘Would I be committing adultery if I have an affair with your spouse without your knowledge?’ The answer is ‘yes’. However since you do not know about it, you are not aware and perhaps will not ever know the truth. And since you will not ever know the truth, would it be still considered as knowledge to you?



One thought on “What constitute knowledge?

  1. Pingback: Work with a friend | Studio 1215 news Blog

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