Once again, the idea of being “modern” is torn apart by means of simple logic. Just as Schnapp discussed the paradox within “modern monuments”, portraying how once something exists, it is inherently part of history and a relic of the past, Professor Peterson expresses how because we aren’t modern, we can’t possibly be revolutionary. In explaining his interpretation of being revolutionary, Peterson compares the varying definitions of the information required to cause a revolution or be revolutionary: knowledge. From a sociologist’s point of view, knowledge is defined as whatever a community believes in, while scientists see knowledge throughout analysis of experiments and tests. Together, both of these definitions form a “dualistic concept of knowledge”. It’s important to understand that while neither definition is by itself a correct and holistic representation of what “knowledge” is, the dualistic concept allows knowledge to be malleable and representative of the population as a whole. Because scientists can prove and disprove certain theories and concepts by collecting data and analyzing trends, samples, and observations, current knowledge that may have existed in society can now be altered and redistributed in its correct form (reflective of new discovery). With this, knowledge is not concrete, but constantly changing as discoveries are made; however, it’s imperative to also note that knowledge can’t exist without the social aspect. Even if scientists are making discoveries, the only way these findings can translate into community knowledge is if people are made aware of them. If discoveries are kept secret and limited to only a small amount of the population, this is not truly knowledge because the community as a whole does not know or believe in this given concept. Knowledge within a population is obtained only throughout vocalization and publications of these findings.
Although not directly related to Prof. Peterson’s talk, it’s interesting to argue whether or not blatantly wrong information, despite being accepted by the general public, is in fact “knowledge”. Is knowledge knowing something, or knowing something that is correct and proven? The Merriam Webster Dictionary defines knowledge as “facts, information, and skills acquired by a person through experience or education”. According to the definition of knowledge, knowledge can be obtained by education, even if that education is not giving correct information, while a fact is defined as something that is proven indisputable. An excellent example of how this unstable definition of knowledge took place in America this year was during the presidential campaign. Although blatantly wrong, both democrats and republicans have been overcome with the “fake news” that has littered social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter for months. Although the information portrayed was often not correct, many misleading posts were able to manipulate many citizens into believing certain things that about candidates. From claims that the FBI agent investigating Clinton’s alleged email scandal was found dead, to blatant lies told during presidential debates, bogus stories coined as “knowledge” played a role in the election. Are these false stories truly knowledge? Is knowledge something that is true in nature or true to the individual thinker?