Some believe that emotions are what provides us with a reason to live. Arnold Bennett a famous novelist who established an important link between English literature and realism states, “There can be no knowledge without emotion… until we have felt the force of the knowledge it is not ours”. However the relationship between knowledge and emotion is more complicated. The importance of emotional input varies from subject to subject, depending on the level of personal intervention required. This argument will be evaluated using the following areas of knowledge; biology, History and Art.
By analysing certain aspects of these areas of knowledge and providing examples the significance of emotional contribution will be evaluated. Some may argue that in biology the importance of having a stronger emotional association with the information might be considered helpful. Using reasoning can only take you so far in understanding information; sometimes it can help and strengthen if there is an emotional input. When you learn something new you make connections between neurons. The stronger the connection the longer it will last.
Memory is simply the reactivating of that connection. One way of making these connections stronger is when the information holds an emotional impact. The emotional impact in biology is most present when studying the human body and how it’s affected by diseases. If someone has seen a close family member die of a certain disease such as cancer, when learning about cells and how the can turn into tumours, that person will make a stronger connection with the information, since it has greater meaning to them.
I know that after the father of a close friend of mine died of cancer it changed the way I view the information, they weren’t simply facts anymore, the emotional contribution helped me understand the real consequences in a deeper level. However learning Biology does not require a great emotional input to personalise the information. One can learn using reasoning and building upon previous information. The neuron connection in the memory can be strengthened by rehearsing the information or by relating that information to previous knowledge.
I have been learning Biology for 7 years and each time I learn something new I build upon the knowledge I already have stored in my memory using reasoning. By putting the information into previous context it strengthens the previous connections and helps me understand the new information. In year 8 I learned that the body is composed of cells which are constantly reproducing. So when in year 11 I learned about mitosis, which is the process of cell replication, I was able to add that knowledge to what I already knew, giving it more value and understanding it better.
To understand all the different stages of mitosis, one has to know about DNA and other elements, then using reasoning one can link the information together to give it meaning by putting it in context. In Biology like in many areas of knowledge rules and patterns have been created, and any new information is generated from those rules and patterns. Using those rules and patterns one can use reason to make sense of the information.
We know that each specie is adapted to live under certain conditions, so when we see an animal with wings and feathers we assume that it can fly, because that would be the reason for it having wings, since it is the general rule. However there are certain exceptions to the rules, for example chickens have wings but they don’t fly. Thus one has to be careful when the rules are too generalized. This ability of categorizing information and making it connect with previous information to make sense allows us to learn new things and understand them better, without the need for emotional engagement.