Knowledge is what the title implies: A theory. Nothing that we assume we know is fact. Everything is a nebulous web of beliefs with every belief relying upon others for support. The evidence that we draw upon to bolster those beliefs is based upon further beliefs and assumptions and so on, and so on. We know nothing for sure! And yet, somehow, we function in the world, live our lives, manage our affairs and believe there is some kind of order in the apparent chaos. The belief in order and purpose is what allows us to conceive of a world that reflects those qualities.
A newborn’s brain is made up of billions of unconnected neurons. Each neuron has the potential lead in a different direction. Slowly, neurons connect to neurons and neural pathways are formed, which eventually form a neural map in our brain. Our minds arrange our sensory data into categories and pathways until images and impressions organize. This map becomes our map of the world and governs our thoughts and actions. We have created order from chaos and purpose from beliefs. This becomes our reality.
Knowledge is what gives meaning to those beliefs. It is the evidence that supports and defends our perceptions. Without knowledge, the world would appear to be a jumble of disassociated sensory impressions. How do we acquire knowledge? What is taught and how much is gained through the innate genetic expression of our developing physical bodies? How do animals learn? We call it instinct, but what is instinct?
The Biologist Rupert Sheldrake, Ph.D. has proposed the theory of the ‘Morphic Field’ or ‘M-field’ to explain the perceived order of things. He postulates that there is an invisible, but tangible pervasive field of energy throughout the entire Universe, which orders the movement and formation of all matter within that field.
It is analogous to a magnetic field surrounding a magnet which dictates the patterns of iron filings that surround it. Also, as with the magnet, it works the same in part as with the whole. If you break the magnet into pieces, you end up with smaller magnets acting in the same way and producing similar patterns as the larger magnet. In other word, it works on the holographic principle where each part reflects the order of the whole.
That means that the formation of molecules and the formation of galaxies follow the same imposed order dictated by this M- field. He uses the term ‘Morphogenic Resonance’ to describe instinct. He postulates a collective unconscious memory for each species of life which the organism taps into and which orders the behavior and actions of that organism, what we refer to as instinct.
With us, the acquisition of knowledge proceeds experientially. As your accumulation of data increases, you form a hierarchy of information, which forms the basis for your extension of knowledge. Because experience is subjective, so too then does knowledge become a subjective term. Knowledge is a belief which is based upon other beliefs, which are further supported by other beliefs. We know nothing for sure.
One theory that has received a great deal of traction in recent years in physics is the theory of ‘Quantum Entanglement’. The term ‘quantum’ refers the atoms and subatomic particles and quantum entanglement details the observed behavior of entangled particles acting in unison regardless of distance and time. It is described as ‘non-locality’. If everything is inseparable at a subatomic level, then the theory of quantum entanglement might explain instinct as well as the coordinated movements of flocks of birds or schools of fish. It might explain the phenomena of telepathy and empathy. The non-locality effect of entanglement allows these occurrences to happen instantaneously despite separation by distance.
Everything appears chaotic and random when you are in close. As you pull back further, you begin to perceive order and structure. Continuing to move back, you observe how structures blend together to form other ordered arrangements of matter.
A great example of this process is portrayed in Charles and Ray Earnes’ film, Powers of Ten. This short video starts with filming a family picnic from one meter away and one meter square. Every ten seconds the field is enlarged by a power of ten, so in ten seconds we see the scene from ten meters away and it is ten meters square. In another ten seconds, we are 100 meters away and our field of vision is 100 meters square, and so on out to 10 to the 24th power at the outer edges of the universe.
The video then reverses the perspective by zooming back in to the picnickers at one power of ten every two seconds and then moves into the man’s skin by a power of ten every ten seconds until it reaches the quantum realm within the atom at 10 to the negative 16th power. The perspective gained would seem to concur with the concept that every perceived part of the universe is but a reflection of the whole; inseparable, ordered and in constant motion.