"When the only tool is a hammer , all problems begin to resemble nails" Abraham Maslow.
Gaining knowledge and comprehension is an everyday mechanism which comes across evolutions and outgrowth. But whenever we witness and perceive these variations in knowledge we are hardly acquainted that whether the knowledge we receive is in its entirety or we are receiving just a limited part of knowledge. In the quest of knowledge are we being limited by sticking to just few areas of knowledge?
Abraham Maslow claims that when the only tool we have is hammer then all problems begin to resemble nails. If I use his theory in context of ways of knowing, it would mean that if we use a certain area of knowledge as a tool, i.e. hammer then all problems will fit into the position of nail and can be solved by using a hammer. But in my sense this theory does not go well. My friend’s brother, Karan who lived with his family in Delhi got a job in Kolkata which was almost double paying as compared to his job in Delhi. Now he had to make a choice between choosing a higher paying job or his family. He was reluctant to leave his family and friends in Delhi and go to a city. In this case he is being emotional but if he chooses to work in Kolkata he is following a path of reasoning.
Emotion is nothing but a strong feeling from one’s mood, circumstance or relationship with others. However its source is mysterious. Reason is justification to an action. In this way we come across the fact that all problems cannot be fixed by making use of one tool or any one way of knowing. Ways of knowing are coordinate and parallel to each other since in this example emotion and reason are dependent on each other. This might be seen as a Spanner or Screwdriver in Maslow’s quote. But the problem is a nail. So I think that we are limiting our knowledge by only being dependent on one way of knowing. So why is it necessary to be dependent on one way of knowing if more than one way can be used to come up with an answer?
Once in our school we were given coffee sachets and we were asked to guess the product inside. Everyone straightaway said coffee by making use of their memory and sense perception. But since we did not see the product, it could have been and crystallized or powdery thing like cocoa or powdered sugar. But everyone guessed coffee. This symbolizes the fact that their knowledge is being limited till a certain extent.
Other example that I would like to quote is of the famous epic RAMAYANA. In India we consider Shri Rama as the hero who won victory by killing the evil, Ravana. We know this fact as it is a general faith and we deny to change it. But in Sri Lanka Ravana is the hero whereas Rama the evil enemy and they too deny to change their belief. This can be answered by many evidences found in Sri Lanka and serve as a reason. In a way neither of us our wrong. The problem is that we continue to go with our limited knowledge. This can also be observes in the Hoax Vocabulary of Eskimos. They have hundreds of words to describe snow because their knowledge is limited in areas which they are not aware of.
In Chicken and egg situation where we have to decide which came first , the solution can come both sides if we use more than one area of knowledge. That’s what we are taught in our French class. Whenever a student does not find a meaning of a word they directly look it up in a dictionary. Our teachers encourage us not to look in dictionary instead we can get the meaning by stressing on our memory. If we still do not understand then we can still find the meaning by referring to the context of a sentence. So there are various ways of knowing a solution to a problem.
Now we come across a fact that more tools we have more problems exist but solutions exist too. So it is necessary that we should not keep our knowledge limited and therefore we should make use of more than one tool, hammer. Yehuda Berg has rightly quoted that “On one hand, we know that everything happens for a reason, and there are no mistakes or coincidences. On the other hand, we learn that we can never give up, knowing that with the right tools and energy, we can reverse any decree or karma. So, which is it? Let the Light decide, or never give up? The answer is: both.”