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"in Expanding the Field of Knowledge We but Increase the Horizon of Ignorance" (henry Miller) Is This True?

Essay by review  •  February 3, 2011  •  Research Paper  •  1,616 Words (7 Pages)  •  1,865 Views

Essay Preview: "in Expanding the Field of Knowledge We but Increase the Horizon of Ignorance" (henry Miller) Is This True?

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What can you walk towards forever and never reach? The answer is simple: the horizon. The use of the horizon as a metaphor for knowledge is very accurate, depending on how one perceives knowledge. To some people, knowledge may seem like a giant treasure chest filled with knowledge, but it if we keep taking from the chest one day we will run out of knowledge. To me knowledge is so vast that no one person could ever even come close to knowing everything.

With each new discovery we make, we open doors that make it possible to discover more and more things that we never knew. I humans will continue to pursue knowledge until the end of time. Each step we take forward, each area that we claim to know, only increases the already vast horizon of the unknown.

Take into account the areas in which people claim to know things, or the Areas of Knowing: Mathematics, the Arts, History, Human Sciences, Natural Sciences, and Ethics. Mathematics has so many different branches and uses that the only way for a person to learn every branch and use of math would be to dedicate their life to math at a young age, and even then they would only know math. And who can really say they know everything about art? With the many different perceptions of art, and how art stirs different emotions in different people, art is somewhat of an individual knowledge. History will never be completely learnable. Even if we invented a time machine, we would only be able to completely know history if we lived it ourselves. And most likely, we would die before we finished. And for each second we spend learning history, more history is being created. Human Sciences is a subject that would probably have to be learned using a generalization. Most people cannot even understand themselves, how is anyone going to understand the other billions of people in the world? Natural Sciences are so controversial that we might never come to an agreement on what knowledge in this area really is. Some say nature is all science, others may say its God’s creation, and some may say that it is Mother Earth. And the most controversial subject, Ethics. With differences in culture come differences in ethics. Unless we all decide to listen to the hippies and come together as one people, then we will never achieve a complete knowledge of human ethics. Each of these areas of knowing is so vast that it would be a miracle to learn everything about just one of them before we all die, let alone all of them. And not only the knowledge itself, but the wisdom, or the knowledge of knowing how to properly use and apply knowledge, must be learned. And with each new application of knowledge, millions of more areas become open to us. Inventions, for example, throughout time have continuously changed and advanced despite the view that we have finished inventing.

There are three major inventions that have completely changed the world. Just as people were starting to think, “We are running out of things to invent,” someone comes along, and opens thousands of doors and possibilities. These three major inventions are: fire, the wheel, and computers. Millions of inventions have changed the world throughout time, but I believe that these three were the most effective and useful.

How was life before fire? You probably would eat mostly fruits and vegetables, and your steak would always be rare. Imagine you are living during this time, and all you hear as you walk around and see other people is how advanced the world is becoming. More and more humans are appearing all over the world, and everyone is excited about the technological advances of the time. And then, your scientists hit a slump. They can no longer think of anything useful to invent. The tools are as efficient as possible, the hunting techniques as efficient as they can be, and it seems as if there is nothing left to do but populate the Earth and look around for shiny things. And then one day, one of your friends comes up to you going absolutely crazy. He says he found something strange, so you go over to look at it with him. And there it is; fire. It gives off heat makes it possible for you to cook your food, keeps you warm at and gives you light during the night. This discovery has opened so many doors, given you so many new things to explore and discover. Just when you thought you were done, here is the horizon.

The invention of the wheel was a history changing event. It started off with giving humans carts to pull their stuff around, and now has advanced to transportation, machines, and even toys. The invention of the wheel still leaves so much to be discovered, and with each new thing we discover about the wheel, we simply discover new and better ways. For example: the car. Without the wheel, the car never would have been possible, but now that we have the car, we dream of bigger and better things. Now people are dreaming about how hover cars are the future. We are now attempting to move on and explore all the possibilities that discovering the car have given us. It is simply impossible to be satisfied where we are and say, “There is nothing more to discover” Although, this was believed at one time.

"Everything that can be invented has been invented." -- Charles H. Duell, U.S. Commissioner of Patents, in 1899. In 1899 the commissioner of Patents, the man who has seen so many wondrous inventions, so many advances in science that the public may not even know about yet, said that there was nothing left to be discovered. We have arrived and the peak of human intelligence, we know everything there is to know about inventions, it has all been done

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