Monday, March 9, 2009

First-Hand Knowledge vs Second-Hand Knowledge

In my post yesterday, I mentioned about my ongoing exchange of views with YOUNG Joshua and how it led me to be thankful that Jesus came to live with us as a man and therefore fully understands what we go through.

Joshua's view is that personal experience is not critical in building up one's "knowledge capital", he said the following in blogpastor's comment box:

"And the idea that experiencing something warrants one’s knowledge better is of course nonsense.

One knows the effects and danger of cocaine without the need to use them. One can describe such effects through tapping on the experiences of others without the need to experience it ourselves.

Experiencing it would just add to our memory capital but doesnt necessarily add to our knowledge capital. That means if u had already read about the effects of cocaine previously and then u take cocaine. Then you just gain an experience but that doesn’t add to your knowledge about what you already know about cocaine’s effects. You just had an additional memory (experience) but not necessarily knowledge. And you dont need to experience cocaine to really ‘appreciate’ its effect. Or without experiencing it doesn’t mean you cannot describe its effect accurately. In fact many time, one can describe the effects from reading about it than those who just experienced it."

The following is an excerpt of my reply to him on blogpastor:

"The so-called “knowledge capital” that you have from “tapping on the experiences of others without the need to experience it” yourself is just second-hand knowledge. The one with the personal experience does not just add to his “memory capital”; in fact he has the true knowledge capital."

Today, as I was reading the sports pages in the Straits Times, a short report jumped out at me, as if to confirm what I had said. Take a look at the picture: the player being quoted is Andrei Arshavin, a football player who joined English Premier League club, Arsenal from a Russian football club in January this year.

Effectively, Andrei is saying that first-hand knowledge is so different from second-hand knowledge.


Malcolm Loh said...


Wasn't this the same joshua who tried to defend peter koh's plagiarism?

He has a tendency of trying to cover up rather than admitting when he is wrong.

Little does he realise that by doing so, he's losing credibility, whatever's left of it.

Stanley Wong said...

It seems that YOUNG Joshua has progressed from using cocaine to using shit (as analogies) to support his arguments.

I append an excerpt of his latest rather lengthy reply to my comments on blogpastor. As for my reply, I believe the picture at the top of this article says it all ;-)


"My point is simple, I have information to make a judgment on parenthood. I do not need to experience the parenthood myself to make that judgment in the same way a person do not need to take cocaine to know about its negative effects.

If you and other reliable people told me that a certain laksa taste like shit, then I don’t need to try it to make sure that it really taste like shit. And neither do I need to taste shit to know how shit tastes like. I just believe those who have tasted shit and that laksa to draw the conclusion."

Daughter Of Sarah said...


Stan and Malcolm, I've come to see how when we've been through some experiences then can we genuinely empathise and understand what someone with the same problem goes through.

When people know you truly understand they open up more, and if they see good has come out of your situation, it arms them with HOPE that they too can get out of their troubles with life and life more abundantly.

Recently I've realised that my ministry has been with the single mummies, young mummies, old mummies (counselling them abt their r/s with their daughters ie my friends of similar age), troubled teenage girls (that struggle with the issues I struggled before_... and I see how Jesus works to touch their hearts. I help Him till the soil a bit and I see how He makes them grow and blossom in the Spirit.

When we cannot truly understand what it means to depress, everything we say about it is textbook and clinical. It is cold and logical.

But when we understand it, we are able to say yes I've been in your shoes or put ourselves in their shoes. We are able to cry with them, hope with them, fight alongside with them.

My aunt and uncle are drug addicts and I can honestly say that the people who have helped my aunt the most are friends who have left the habit. They encourage her, keep her in line and she sees their victory and is encouraged.

So Young Joshua is as his name suggests, very green. I dunno how old he is but he obviously doesnt realise that experiences are precisely how God takes something meant to stumble us and turns it into a blessing for us and for the lives He sends along our path to touch for Him.

Daughter Of Sarah said...

May I add - he is one of those people I deem a smart aleck, who tries to tell everyone he is so smart and knows so much, but is devoid of true wisdom.

True wisdom comes not from logic, philosophies or human thought.

It comes from truly understanding what the point of Christ's death on the cross is about.

I like how Reinhard Bonke puts it still - THE GOSPEL IS GOD'S MESSAGE, NOT CHRISTIAN OPINION. I know I've quoted this before, but I feel I must quote it again.

May we not be too proud to admit we are foolish in the things we are most needful of understanding. It is only with such a truly humble state of mind that we can be teachable in the Spirit and can truly move hearts for Jesus, not just mere minds.

(Incidentally, the word verification for this comment posting is PRIEST. LOL!)

Daughter Of Sarah said...

OK last comment on this dude hahaha... sorry I am longwinded... adoi.

Talking to him reminds me of one cheng yu - DUI4 NIU2 TAN2 QIN2

He aint getting it coz he is discussing on a different level of understanding - and it is not a higher one that he presumes he is.

Again hahaha this is so funny. God has a sense of humour... the word verification for this comment is actually MISSES !!!

Yes. Young Joshua misses the actual point again and again. Haiz.

Sze Zeng said...

Hi hungribunni,

I don't know why ppl get the impression that I'm "smart aleck, who tries to tell everyone he is so smart and knows so much, but is devoid of true wisdom."

Perhaps it's the circumstances of how we encountered with each other on the Net. But certainly I have no intention to portray myself in that light. And certainly not to be like that in front of my Bro & Sis in Christ.

On the other hand, since you are the one who get the word verification "MISSES", perhaps it can also be interpreted as God is telling you that you are missing something? Just a perhaps, of course.

Daughter Of Sarah said...

Lol. I hope so my brother because I believe we are all God's projects in progress and we are only perfect in Christ and not of ourselves. =)

My hope is that we whatever we miss, Christ fills us up with. That's grace to me.

A reflection-

I think why Paul was able to argue so well against legalism was because he was once a legalist. But once he was struck by the amazing grace of Jesus, he became one of the most outspoken grace preacher in the whole new testament. =)

I pray that we will all be touched with that same passion and zeal for the new covenant in Christ as he was.

Hmm the word verification this time is interestingly - grabit lol.

Let's grab hold of His grace and never let it go. Amen.