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Knowledge by Acquaintance

Updated on March 29, 2014

Precision in heart surgery starts as knowledge by description and graduates into knowledge by acquaintance

Repeated behavior turns into a habit that transfers knowledge by acquaintance


Behavior is knowledge by acquaintance. Repeated behavior turns into a habit.

By turning the operations of controls into a habit, the pilot can fly an airplane with a high degree of certainty and safety..

However, there are behaviors that do not belong in habit.

A behavior borne out of the nature of a subject is not habit. Let us take some examples.

Metal spring action. Standing up, when a weight is placed on its top, it depresses. When the weight is removed, it returns to its original height. This behavior is due to the alloy that makes up the metal spring. Let’s focus on organisms.

Heart muscle contraction. Heart muscles continue contracting even when the heart is cut off from an animal, or human being. Its contraction is due to the structure of heart muscle fibers. Even when a person had been brain-dead his heart will continue beating for sometime.

Action potential. An event in a cell where an ion goes against the gradient. Glucose gets into a cell by diffusion, that is from the higher concentration to the lower concentration. Action potential is the opposite. Action potentials, like pumps, are going on in a living cell. There is the calcium/magnesium pump, and the sodium/potassium pump. In the sodium/potassium pump sodium moves outward and potassium moves inward across the cell membrane from a concentration of 4 millimolar to join other potassium ions at a concentration of 135 millimolar inside the cell. This movement is driven by energy, the adenosine triphosphate. It is not certain whether it is the pumping that makes a cell alive or the cell must pump to live. “To live the cells must pump” (McElroy, W. D. Cellular Physiology and Biochemistry. 1961).

Electron grabbing. Molecular oxygen grabs another electron from another molecule. One property of oxygen is the presence of two unpaired electrons spinning around the nucleus each in a separate outermost orbital. Each unpaired electron is free and unstable. To attain stability it grabs an electron from another molecule in a process.

Electron donation. This is due to the nature of how an atom is bound in a molecule. For example, the hydrogen bond that joins two atoms of hydrogen to one atom of oxygen and makes water. Hydrogen bond is only five percent as strong as the covalent and ionic bonds. We will not go into the discussion of covalent and ionic bonds. Suffice it to say that the hydrogen bond is weak. Because the bond is the weakest it is the one that is easiest to break. This means that the electrons of hydrogen are very easy to grab from a molecule or molecules comprised of several hydrogen bonds. DNA consists of several hydrogen bonds that it is easy to nick resulting in injury that result in tumor and cancer (Cummings, M. Human Heritage, Principles and Issues. 2009).

Reaction to hormone. The normal monthly menstruation is not a habit. A female beetle attracted to a male beetle due to the pheromone the male had released is not habit.

But the release of hormone can be halted by repeated disruption which can be a habit.

Deficiency. Deficiency of nutrients or vitamins is not a habit. Deficiency of iron resulting in anemia is not a habit. However, repeated disruptions resulting in deficiency can constitute a habit.

Vaccination. When microbes, say, polio virus, infect a man, the immune system produces a lot of T-killer cells, T-helper cells, and macrophage. They battle the poliovirus. When the poliovirus had been defeated most of the immune cells die off but some remain alive as memory cells. These will recognize any poliovirus cell that will attempt to infect the same person; memory cells will incite the production of immune cells. These will battle the poliovirus the same way they did in the first encounter with poliovirus. This phenomenon is called vaccination which is not a habit.

Autonomous behavior. The beating of the heart or breathing is not a habit.

We will not attempt to enumerate exhaustively behavior that are not habit.

Mental habit

A unique behavior occurring only once, by definition, does not develop into a habit.

However, in man isolation of a unique behavior that does not develop into a habit is impracticable. The reason is that man stores in his mind a record of a unique behavior and replays that record in his mind. There now develops a mental habit.

Mental habit, like memorization, belongs in knowledge by acquaintance.

Habit is the basis of the transfer of knowledge by acquaintance.

Training is a means to make a behavior a habit. For example, in boxing. Ricky Hatton knew that Manny Pacquiao is a lefty so he trained to dock Pacquiao’s left upper cut. Early in the fight, Pacquiao failed to land a left punch. When Pacquiao threw a right cross, Hatton failed to dock because he did not train for it; he hit the canvass.

Pacquiao knew that de la Joya’s merrymaker was his left upper cut. So Pacquiao trained to lean back when de la Joya threw it. De la Joya never landed his haymaker.

A midwife may not graduate unless she had assisted in the delivery of 100 babies or more. Internship makes health care habitual for nurses and doctors of medicine.

A jumbo jet pilot spends many years to obtain knowledge by description and knowledge by acquaintance. He trains under the supervision of a veteran pilot. The more airtime he logs the more confidence he gains in his flying. His manipulation of the controls becomes automatic through habit.

To transfer knowledge by acquaintance, make the behavior a habit.

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