Knowledge and Emotion

Topics: Emotion, Great Depression, Psychology Pages: 5 (1783 words) Published: January 24, 2011
10. “There can be no knowledge without emotion…. until we have felt the force of the knowledge, it is not ours” (adapted from Arnold Bennett). Discuss this vision of the relationship between knowledge and emotion. There are multiple ways to obtain knowledge, but of the ways which one makes the knowledge ours? That’s the question Mr. Arnold Bennet was getting at when he says, “There can be no knowledge without emotion…until we have felt the force of the knowledge it is not ours.” One can acquire knowledge from a textbook and use the facts presented as a foundation for his actions and judgments, but when one learns knowledge from description he must take into account the language and reason behind it and whether he can fully grasp the meaning of the knowledge from this type of learning. Or perhaps he learns knowledge by acquaintance and uses his sense perception and emotions to guide his judgment, like Mr. Bennet says. In any case, if there were not different ways of knowing, then the world would be full of simple-minded people who would all act the same way because their actions would be based on the same interpretation of knowledge. This notion is based on the presumption that knowledge is based solely on reason without any emotion or sense perception involved similar to the way robots process knowledge. But of course, this cannot be a true perception of the world because it does not take into account the air of complexity that emotion adds in the thinking process.

The major issue in question is the nature of the relationship between emotion and the thought process and the extent to which emotion influences knowledge making it ours. I believe that emotion makes knowledge more relevant to individuals letting them own it, but objective knowledge can also be learned without the use of emotion.

My theory on the emotion-knowledge relationship refutes Mr. Arnold Bennett’s blunt statement that “there can be no knowledge without emotion.” I do not think one can make such an all-exclusive statement on such an abstract subject. There can, in fact, be knowledge without emotion. This fact-based knowledge is what knowledge areas like science and math are founded on. Without this objective knowledge, many professions would be out of business. For example, the reason doctors get paid so much money is because they are expected to use reason to guide their actions and not emotion, which is not an easy task. No patient wants their surgeon to choke while they are under the knife because they let emotion cloud their judgment. That’s why the

operating-room surgeons that have a high success rate are the rational ones devoid of emotion like Burke on Grey’s Anatomy. However, emotions are also productive in reaching expedient solutions as seen in surgery where doctors are often forced to rely on intuition and educated guesses to guide their decisions when little factual information is known. This can be shown particularly in psychology, an emotion-based science, when a patient’s symptoms cannot be labeled under a certain disorder per the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, a rational manual containing criteria for diagnosing patients1, but even then using emotion can be risky because in the end, emotions are ultimately fallible and do not promote consistency in knowledge.

Perhaps Mr. Bennett did not mean for his words to be taken literally. Maybe he merely meant to say that knowledge is better understood when it has personally affected us rather than if we had learned it in a detached manner. Reading secondary sources like textbooks or instruction manuals will only get us so far. In the work place, the whole purpose of starting at the intern level on the corporate ladder is to gain first-hand experience using textbook education without doing any big damage in the process. While emotion does not always directly relate to experience, there is usually a connection. In order to address this problem I equate experience...
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