Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Reading, Writing & Publishing ~

Tag Archives: knowledge

What Do You Know? ~ How Do You Know It?


Reading and writing both need knowledge to function and both give knowledge if done right.

Publishing should contain knowledge from both readers and writers.

From the previous post, Do Writers Always Know What They’re Writing About?:

“Over-used, old writing maxim: ‘Write what you know.’

“Misunderstood, old human maxim: ‘Know thyself.’”

And, in the post, The Knowledge A Writer Needs . . ., I postulated four broad areas of necessary knowledge: Reality, World, Social, and Self.

The question today is, When Do We Begin Learning?

Kindergarten?

One year old?

After our first breath?

Annie Murphy Paul is a magazine journalist and book author who writes about the biological and social sciences.”

One of her books has a fascinatingly long title: The Cult of Personality: How Personality Tests Are Leading Us to Miseducate Our Children, Mismanage Our Companies, and Misunderstand Ourselves.

She’s also wrote, Origins: How the Nine Months Before Birth Shape the Rest of Our Lives.

From that last title, it becomes apparent her position is that we all begin gathering knowledge in the womb

Does this knowledge change the maxim, Know Thyself, or the “rule” that a writer, Write What They Know?

Do, please, enjoy watching this video of Annie as she explores learning before birth and do, please, leave a comment :-)


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The Knowledge A Writer Needs . . .


knowledge for writers It’s often been said a writer should write what they know.

I, personally, don’t feel this means you can’t write about people or situations that you’ve never experienced directly.

If a writer had to stick to only things they’ve actually, directly experienced, humanity would have lost many of its finest stories

Some of you may have found what I’ve said so far to be extremely obvious; but, some folks haven’t questioned writing maxims and have spent years trying to do what they want to write about—swimming with sharks, eating poison then purgative, killing small animals, and worse.

Still, there is a way in which a writer needs to “know” what they’re writing about.

They can read of other’s shark swimming, talk to poison-eaters, watch documentaries, call scientists, consult with priests, interview a prostitute

I feel there are four broad areas of knowledge a writer needs to be constantly expanding if they want their stories to resonate with Truth:

Reality

Material reality and metaphysical reality (if you must, use “psychological” or “spiritual” for metaphysical)

World

Knowledge of what’s going on globally (politically, economically, etc.) is important even if your story happens in an isolated mountain valley—your readers will most likely be in the bustling world. And, if you story happens 12 light-years from Earth, your readers will still be stuck herejudging the aliens by Earth standards

Social

This is the arena of human interactions on the personal level—how men and women communicate, how children get what they want, how old people suffer

Self

Self-knowledge is probably the most important kind. Even without much know-how of the other three realms, many a fine, introspective and critically helpful story has been told

What are your thoughts on the knowledge a writer needs?

What experiences have you struggled through for your character’s sake?

Have you ever been in a writing vacuum and needed a knowledge upload?

How far from the “Truth” can a story be and still engage a reader?
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Mind or Reality ~ Which Came First?


There have been various explorations on this blog about the writer’s mind and the reader’s mind. And, we’ve also explored various realities.

Try putting both words , “reality” and “mind” together, in the search box at the upper right, the one with the little magnifying glass, and you can see what we’ve already discussed.

Today, I want to broaden the discussion out to anyone’s mind and how it either creates reality or is created by reality.

I’m not going to state a definite opinion (though, you might infer it from the “voice” of this post).

So:

A child is born with a mind. Does it have patterns already associated with it? Or, is it “blank”?

If it already has pre-existent patterns of operation, does that mean that it reaches out and molds whatever is outside the body into a “personal” reality?

If it’s blank, does it just accept whatever exists outside it as fact and build on that?

What about thoughts and feelings? Are they both part of the mind?

Why should it matter what we think or feel about the mind and reality?

If you could read and understand that last sentence you may have a clue about why it could matter

There are enough studies and articles about mind and reality to build a staircase to the Moon and there seems to be no strong consensus on which came first.

Oh! There’s also the debate about whether the brain and the mind are the same thing or if the mind somehow includes the brain but operates “above” it.

And, we probably shouldn’t ignore the various views on what the word “reality” actually means and the various “kinds” of realities people postulate: social reality, personal reality, physical reality, imaginary reality, consensus reality, etc.

My reality recently got a kick in its mental/emotional ass. My view of the world and the importance of various supposed priorities is evolving and mutating. I’ve always wondered about what’s real and how I could know it and the last week has taken my wonderment to a new playing field.

The Game continues but the Rules are changing

If enough of you comment on the questions of this post, I’ll weave a part two tomorrow. If the comments are sparse, I may weave tomorrow’s post out of thin air.
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