What really is knowledge? How are they linked to dreams?

Today during our second lesson of Theory of Knowledge (TOK), we had just begun experiencing the meaning of the word knowledge. The word knowledge implies that we base our “knowledge” on facts, information, and skills acquired through experience or education. It is the theoretical or practical understanding of a subject. Knowledge can be acquired through the awareness or familiarity gained by experience of a fact or situation. However, knowledge can be questioned by what we can see. If something is not proven or is not witnessed first hand, it is hard to believe. Knowledge and belief tend to tie ends, as when a person finds a result from an action, it turns into both belief and knowledge. For example, if you kick a ball it will move forward. So if a person actually does kick a ball and it does move in that direction, then the person will believe the statement and believe that if anyone kicks a ball, it will move. The person is able to come to this conclusion because they have witnessed the situation. 


The idea of knowledge can also be linked to dreams. We tend to dream about what we have seen before. Dreaming is a succession of images, ideas, emotions, and sensations that usually occur involuntarily in the mind during certain stages of sleep. Although the content and purpose of dreams are not fully understood, we believe that dreams appear to be influenced by our waking lives in many ways. Theories about why we dream include those that suggest dreaming is a means by which the brain processes emotions, stimuli, memories, and information that’s been absorbed throughout the waking day. Rather than knowledge being connected to dreams, it is actually that your dreams can affect your knowledge. Your dreams represent your subconscious and your conscience, so when your actions in a dream are different to how you feel the way you would act would later affect your knowledge.  


An interesting relationship between dreams and knowledge has actually already been explored in the movie Inception (Leonardo DiCaprio!!). Inception is about Dom Cobb who is a thief with the rare ability to enter people’s dreams and steal their secrets from their subconscious. His skill has made him a hot commodity in the world of corporate espionage but has also cost him everything he loves. Cobb gets a chance at redemption when he is offered a seemingly impossible task: Plant an idea in someone’s mind. If he succeeds, it would be the perfect crime, but a dangerous enemy anticipates Cobb’s every move. Inception itself is the practice of entering dreams and planting an idea in someone’s head. 


The link between dreams and knowledge is that reality can be bent as it can become hard to distinguish between reality and fantasy. If you’ve ever said “I don’t know what was real and what was fake”, you’ve got reconciliation issues. When you’re faced with making fantasy and reality consistent with one another so that you can accept the truth of what has happened, and what you feel, do, or are being, you opt for the illusions. This basically suspends you in No Man’s Land while opening you up to problems in the real world. This is what bends the difference between knowledge and belief through dreams. This is because fantasy is an idea with no basis in reality and is basically your imagination unrestricted by reality. Whereas reality is the state of things as they exist. It’s what you see, hear, and experience, this could also be a lucid dream. 


There is a high possibility that we could be dreaming right now. Apparently, it is said that before our body completely shuts down when we die we still have sevens minutes of brain activity left in our body which revisits every moment in our lives. What if we (or I) are dying right now and are reliving the last seven minutes of our lives?  It is something that we will never know. 



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