Personal knowledge is gained by everyone, by means of experience, direct witnessing of events and phenomena, or by means of internal reflection. However, personal knowledge cannot exist without Shared knowledge, which is defined as the set of beliefs, customs, values, ideas, and philosophies which are transmitted from generation to generation, and may be learnt in school, or acquired at home or from other members of the society. However, the relationship between personal knowledge and shared knowledge is a very complex one. To discuss the way shared knowledge influences personal knowledge, this relationship must be explored from different perspectives. Thus, it would be interesting to explore whether authentic moments of breakthrough exist at all, or everything that is new is built upon pre-existing information. Related to the previous matter, it would be interesting to explore what kind of knowledge is gained first. Object 1: Sleepwalking, Meg Wolitzer Above we can see the book “sleepwalking”, written by Meg Wolitzer. It conducts a lot of studies and gathers information on peoples and experts experience on sleepwalking. This is an example of a phenomenon that can be interpretated different depending on shared knowledge a community already holds. I once walked in my sleep and my mother found me. However, even though she was scared, she remembered the information she had on sleepwalking and did not woke me up, but rather, she helped me to get back in bed. However, the next day she took me to the doctor, who concluded that I had been very tired. Therefore, my mother witnessed this type of behaviour for the first time, but her memory helped her to interpret it from the perspective of shared knowledge as a potential psychological condition and she took me to the doctor. In other cultures, sleepwalking may be interpreted differently, depending on the people’s shared knowledge on the topic
The picture above shows one of the very first cyber security programs accessible to the public. It was created by MacAfee in 1994 and has kept millions of people online secure during the early times of a non-secure internet. Object 2, McAfee first VirusScan program Cybersecurity programs can help to argue that people cannot always rely on shared knowledge to interpret new information- therefore shaping personal knowledge. For example, in trying to deal with a new kind of crime, such as the first cyberattack in history which occurred when Robert Morris developed the first computer worm in 1989 (Julian), the researchers had to use their reason to develop new security systems to deal with this new kind of threat. Their pioneering work represented the basis of cybersecurity which has an important world in many countries’ national security today. Therefore, the personal knowledge they developed through experimentation and experience contributed to the body of shared knowledge in the field.
Shared knowledge influences human life from its very beginning. People need shared knowledge to interpret and even to create new knowledge. Although by means of sense perception, emotion, or reason, we may be able to gain new knowledge, we are only able to interpret it through the framework of our societies’ shared knowledge before it can even become personal knowledge. It may therefore be inferred that personal knowledge must be shaped by other influences, bodies we have previously agreed upon. Sources The Guardian, 2016. 'People think curating just means choosing nice things' – secrets of the museum curators. [online] Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/culture-professionals-network/2016/jan/22/museum-curator-job-secrets-culture-arts [Accessed 8 March 2021] Anazon.co.uk, G. 2022. Sleepwalking by Meg Wolitzer. [online] Available at: < https://www.amazon.co.uk/Sleepwalking-Meg-Wolitzer/dp/1594633134> [Accessed 27 March 2022] Homepage, 2022 - Examples for outsanting TOK Essays. [online] Available at: < https://www.tracesofevil.com/p/examples-of-outstanding-tok-essays.html> [Accessed 27 March 2022]