Scouting the Truth
Having explored the nature of knowledge and its generation, thought must now be given to the nature of one who generates knowledge, a seeker of knowledge, a scholar. How do we view those who have or seek knowledge?
Revelation and Social Reality, by Paul Lample, provides a very insightful analogy to the nature of a scholar – from which the following is taken.
A scholar is not as a gatekeeper or priest, one who is seen to hold the keys to knowledge, one who determines what knowledge is valuable or meaningful, one who sets the directions of inquiry. Neither is a generator of knowledge like an anthropologist or archeologist, merely identifying truth as what is currently understood, or even as what has been in the past. Nor is a scholar an artist, simply constructing the meaning of knowledge according to one’s subjective standards, preferences, or inclinations. Finally, a seeker of knowledge is not an impartial observer, apart from and outside of the community in which one learns.
Instead, the generation of knowledge is a right and responsibility of all human beings, not an elite few; it is a constantly evolving process, where truth is relatively less understood, applied, and embodied now than it will be in the future; it is, however, the process of uncovering objective and foundational truths of reality; and every individual both influences and is influenced by the social reality they seek to study.
With this understanding, one can view a generator of knowledge as a scout – helping to guide an expedition into unexplored territory with the aim of bringing knowledge back to the group, constantly advancing individual and collective understanding, while not possessing any authority on the subject, and actively participating with others and making a humble yet vital contribution towards a collective endeavor.