Knowledge, Ilm and Information
By Noor Ahmed Janjhi
Humans possess complex and complicated nature in terms of physical being as well as spiritual sphere. The systems of body work regularly, instantly, spontaneously and continuously. Thought and its dynamism and vibrancy is on and on. Man has been bestowed with great gift of knowledge to testify his potential in unlimited avenue of nature. All of human manoeuvrings begin, interact and lead to know constantly in vast framework of nature. Knowing to unknown has been remained an interesting domain for human being. Nothingness gives birth to something and something again fads away in the vacuum of nothingness. According to Holy Quran, Adam was bestowed with the great gift of ‘knowledge’ at the time of creation and the angles were directed to bow him. The reverence was to his knowing. It means human being was conferred with the obligation of knowledge. The complex and complicated nature of uman brain testifies it. It reveals that knowing process in humans starts with ‘non- knowing’. It creates a curousity that leads towards the exploration of unknown. The exploration of unknown enlarges the scope of human movement from possible to impossible. And unknown becomes known consequently. It is continued since time immemorial. Great thinker Socrates has defined knowledge in these words, “To know is to know, that you know nothing. That is the true meaning of knowledge.” It means known is hidden in unknown and to explore the unknown leads towards knowledge. Shah Abdul Latif Bhittai has reflected on the theme in his poetry. In a couplet, he says;
ڄاڻين ته به نه ڄاڻ، ايءُ در اڄاڻن جو،
ان در سيئي اگهيا، جني نه ڀانيو پاڻ ،
ريڌو آهي راڄاڻ ، ان پر اڄاڻن سين.
(If you know, you regard it that you are knowing not. Those forwarded ahead who did not consider themselves. Master has reconciled with the ‘not knowers’ in this way.)He starts with the point of ‘not knowing’. Advancement of human being is attached with the ‘leaving of self’. Reconciliation is preferred with the ‘not knowers’. In this way, human search and research is continued since time immemorial. All of the human actions and steps in this regard aim at to overcome the frame of reference consisting of ‘time’ and ‘space’. Man has tried to do everything for. Behind all of this is his faculty of knowledge. The term knowledge has been used for exploration of the information and the latter is used for achieved things. Both of the terms are used in reciprocation too.Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines knowledge as, “a (1): the fact or condition of knowing something with familiarity gained through experience or association. (2): acquaintance with or understanding of a science, art, or technique, b (1): the fact or condition of being aware of something. (2): the range of one’s information or understanding answered to the best of my knowledge. c: the circumstance or condition of apprehending truth or fact through reasoning : COGNITION. d: the fact or condition of having information or of being learned. 2. a: the sum of what is known: the body of truth, information, and principles acquired by humankind”Many theories were developed about knowledge but it ambiguous yet. Rationalism of Plato and empiricism of Aristotle take the concept in different directions. Consequently there emerges dualism and the Cartesian dualism views it through dualism of body and mind. In my view there is no such phenomenon when we see the knowledge in its broad concept. It can be said that ‘knowledge’ is the unknown treasure trove of data inculcated in human brain and reflected in nature. Its explored and known or achieved part can be called ‘information’. It is the dualism of human perception rather than that of the origin. The knowledge is the very base, origin and mainspring of the information. The information is its known form. The knowledge is divine and the information is human. The former is coded bed of the software of universe and the latter is output or discovery of it. The knowledge in terms of ‘ilm’ has a different hierarchy. As for as the ilm of humans is concerned, then it can be said that it has three layers. First is its natural form ‘the reason or intellect’ , second is its achieved or learned form in shape of education and experience and third is its sublime form that is ‘ishq’ or love. The first is congenital and gifted and vary person to person. The second is the outcome of human effort and endeavour. It is learnt formally as well as informally. Schooling and experience are its major component. However, the building of the second layer of the ilm is constructed on the first layer….reason or intellect. The building is erected as of the foundation. It provides diversity in spite of the standardization and uniformity of input or the information. The third one is the highest form of ilm because it provides strong impetus to us to explore unknown vistas of the knowledge and turn impossible into possible. All of human risk taking manoeuvrings emerge from it. It can be viewed in its broadest spectrum rather than the traditional notion about it. The hierarchy of ‘ilm’ prevails through these three layers and is leading humanity ahead. The first layer is natural and congenital and the third layer is spontaneous and bestowal of the nature through its law of selection. The middle layers contains human learning, achievements, errors, lesson-learns and much more. Therefor it provides the substance for choice and challenge. The choice in terms of ‘good’ and ‘bad’ or ‘humane’ and ‘inhuman’. It facilitates with challenges to utilize the first layer of the ‘ilm’ and to utilize the hidden potential. Although the second or middle layer is sandwiched between the two other layers, yet it has tremendous achievements and advancements. From petroglyphs to soft chip, man has tried to cross over the frame of reference. The human endeavour must be in favour of humans and nature. It must take human beings a step forward and salvage humans out of inhumane tendencies so as he can move pertinently towards his destination paving his way through the right path.