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Knowledge Theory

Revision: 2020-07-12

Goal of this Document

A versatile examination of the thinking process to better understand and use the truth.


Truth is reality in its past, present, and future. What has been, what is, what could be, and what will be. Truth is the immediate state of the world and the complex patterns of cause-and-effect that structure the specific dynamics of change.

Truth is the most accurate understanding of reality. With accuracy, one projects their best possible power towards intended results. With realism, one maps abstract ideals to actual possibilities.


Truth prepares the best possible action as relevant questions meet actionable answers. The truth of everything always points to the best answer, yet an incomplete truth can point to the worst answer. Every situation creates context for some truths to become good (improves the answer), neutral (no effect), or bad (worsens the answer). Some good truths are the sum of smaller truths that individually are bad or do not change the answer. For a given situation, all or enough of its good truths always point to the best answer. Preparation is the completion of good truths.

Suppose that you are in a hotel room and thirsty. You find a can of juice on the bedside table. Will you drink it? What truths can drive this decision? The hotel environment is generally safe (truth1). The can is unopened and untampered (truth2). The can is labeled with a brand you trust (truth3). The can expired many years ago (truth4). Drinking the juice will lead to hospitalization and death (truth5). Statistically, a pre-packaged hotel drink is fine over 99.99% of the time (truth6). In this situation, truths 1-3 and 6 drive a YES (drink it) and therefore are BAD. Truths 4-5 drive a NO (do not drink it; ideally trash it) and therefore are GOOD. Truth5 is future-knowledge that must be learned by mapping from the present situation, such as truth4. Truth4 can be learned by looking for the expiration date labeled on the can. If the expiration label is missing or badly smudged, you can predict the age of the can by the brand-graphics version OR adjust truth6 to exceed your risk tolerance threshold. If the expiration label is incorrect and at a recent timestamp, you would be terribly misled.

Versatility, Efficiency

A question. The correct answer is provided and applied. Success. A slightly different question. The old answer is applied. Failure. Efficient yet narrow.

A question. The correct answer and general logic are taught. A slightly different question. The correct answer is applied. Success. Versatile yet time-consuming.

Many simple questions. The correct answers are provided and applied. Success. A complex question, expressed incompletely or inaccurately. The best answer is provided and applied. Failure. Importance of correct questions; limits of perfect truth source.

A correct answer. 4 minutes of perfect action. The next question. 1 minute of thinking to the correct answer. Repeat. Non-overlapping question-answer sequence at 80% time efficiency.

A correct answer and the next question. 4 minutes of perfect action, multitasked with thinking to next correct answer. Repeat. Overlapping question-answer sequence at 100% time efficiency. Physically perfect performance and time efficiency are sustained as long as the next correct answer is prepared non-disruptively in parallel before end of current perfect action.

A question and starting premise. 10 major ideas required to logically reach the correct answer. 40 major ideas actually processed, with most time spent processing irrelevant/suboptimal ideas. Evaluation, 25% idea efficiency with significant deviation from ideal idea sequence.

A question and starting premise. 1 major idea per minute expected. 30 major ideas actually processed in 10 minutes. Evaluation, 3 major ideas per minute, as good idea speed.

Definition, Organization

What is a "definition"? A definition is a combination of known ideas used to describe the unknown idea of an unfamiliar keyword.

Example, Tool: Tools are physical things that broaden or deepen the interactive ability of a mind on reality. The human body is the fundamental tool of the human mind.

What is "organization"? Organization means connecting known ideas together to build a greater idea or a mental model with greater complexity and accuracy.

Example, Mineral Map: Combine the simple ideas "map", "mineral", "density", "elevation" to get the complex idea of "a topographic map of minerals in the area categorized by ore density and vein elevation".

Consideration, Memory

What is consideration? Considering is the movement of an idea from subconscious storage to active memory. Because it is possible to know good ideas yet fail to consider them during a relevant task, organizing good ideas for fast-relevant consideration is important.

What is memory? Memory is a container of known information. Memory exists on a spectrum of ease-of-access, from internal (ex. human brain) to external (ex. USB drive). External electronic memory is an efficient way to improve thinking consistency (ex. checklist) and reliability (ex. greater retention rate compared to typical human forgetfulness), but bounded by access time and tool requirements. Memory also exists on a dynamic spectrum of logical activity, from active memory (conscious) to archived memory (subconscious). Memory is understood as blocks that can be evaluated at different levels of scope and quantity (ex. a book is a larger memory block than one of its paragraphs).


What is knowledge ultimately good for? It has physical and mental consequences. Knowledge can help you change the world accurately to your intentions. Knowledge can cause you to feel more or less satisfied emotionally. All learning must be justified by its marginal impact on the physical and mental future.

Example: A book that is certainly known to be not enjoyable for you and not containing useful ideas for your future. Reading that book is not justified.

Types of Knowledge

What are knowledge types? Knowledge types are general categories of memory blocks based on what ideas are included and how the ideas are arranged for observation by the intended audience.

Rational, Irrational

Rational knowledge can be learned accurately by applying strong logic to sufficient fundamental information.

Example: With knowledge of addition, multiplication, and order-of-operations, what is 2 + 4 x 10? The answer is 42.

Irrational knowledge can only be learned accurately through a trusted source. Strong logic can only achieve categorical answers for irrational questions. Irrational knowledge is weakly connected to fundamental information.

Example: What is my name? Probable answer category is a human-prouncible sequence under 100 syllables. Specific answer can only be guessed.

Example: How many fingers am I holding up behind my back? Probable answer set is 0 to 5. 6 or more is possible with unusual mutations and augmentations. Specific answer can only be guessed.

Content creators should seek to improve the efficient accessibility of high-value irrational knowledge.

Preparation, Reference

Preparation knowledge is learned before action. It should be intuitively remembered, contain timeless ideas, and build versatile skills.

Example: The English language. It is most useful when remembered critically (alphabet to vocabulary/grammar to meaningful structured content). It is a standard that will usefully last long into the foreseeable future. It unlocks basic communication skills such as reading/writing, talking/listening.

Reference knowledge is used during action. It should be accessed on-demand, contain specific ideas, and guide task performance.

Example: Comprehensive list of mathematic equations.

Reference knowledge is efficient because it focuses on ideas that drive the correct action.

Example: Press the red button.

Content, Pointer

Some knowledge is directly related to the understanding of the world. This is content.

Some knowledge simply helps you navigate the physical world to other information. These are pointers.

What is an index? It is a list of keywords related to a central idea. An index is usually organized alphabetically, but it can be arranged in any meaningful sequence. With familiar keywords, the index is content for reviewing already-learned ideas. With unfamiliar keywords, the index is a set of pointers for symbolically-guided navigation. An index is the most storage-efficient idea format, but suffers a lack of guiding content for completely unfamiliar keywords.

What is a dictionary? It is a list of keywords and their definitions. It is an index that provides familiar content for each major keyword.

What is a tutorial? It is a chronological sequence of specific instructions for getting something done. It uses a step-by-step keyword-list. It focuses on actionable content and generally avoids pointers to maintain the instructive flow.

Landscape of Knowledge

The landscape of knowledge is the existence of all information in reality from which you can learn the truth.

Idea-Reality Connection

Consider the connection between information and reality. You can change an idea to make it true to reality. Or, you can change reality to make it true to an idea.

Example: Consider the idea "a sheet of paper is on my table". You can change the idea to "a sheet of paper is on some table". Or, you can place paper on your table. Either option strengthens the idea-reality connection.


Consider accessibility as the path to observe or change a part of the landscape.

The physical world. To learn we had to go to specific places and observe/conduct real experiments.

Physical records. With books we could learn at libraries closer to home and read experimental data from trusted authors.

Digital records. With computers we can learn at home. The physical accessibility of information has grown significantly.



Example, Vision: What you see with your eyes is fundamentally a canvas of colors combined with natural depth perception. Without supporting ideas, only a single colorful scene exists. No separation of objects, behind-view inferrence, cause-effect prediction, directional sense, or hand-eye coordination.


Transform raw information into clear ideas.

Example, Natural: The outline of a human figure in the forest.

Example, Symbolic: The word "hungry".


Example, Familiar Combination: What is the sum of "event", "agreement", and "schedule"? Appointment.

FILTER UNIQUE: The repetition of existing knowledge does not expand your knowledge. Pursue unfamiliar ideas.

For the access of specific ideas from internal and external memory.

Example, Internal Access: List 10 significant ideas associated with your area of expertise. Note the marginal time spent from the first to the 10th.

Example, External Access: Go to Wikipedia and search for something. Note the time spent.


What does understanding knowledge theory actually help you do?

Idea Processing

Know how to read text, interpret pictures, watch videos faster with full comprehension.

Example: Watch a video at 2X speed and 100% comprehension.

Know how to connect interpreted ideas to known ideas faster and deeper.

Example: Read an article forming 10X deeper connections.

Idea Filtering

Know what is worth reading, sooner.

Know what to skip with minimal disruption of processing flow.

Idea Planning

Know what information you actually need now/later.

Know how to get that information, by thinking or navigating.

Idea Organization

Know how to organize existing information for efficient access and long-term reliability.

Know how to create/edit compressed information for efficient processing.

Critical Thinking

Know how to connect a problem to a solution with meta-mastery of the knowledge required.

Know how to form new ideas by combining existing ideas.