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Alisha Sharaballi


‘It is more important to discover new ways of thinking about what is already known than to discover new data or facts’. To what extent would you agree with this claim?

Humans have gained knowledge for millenniums through curiosity, creativity, critical

analysis and serendipity. The basic human need to investigate the everyday phenomena led to

the discovery of several fairly important facts such as better understanding of the human

body, electricity and the invention of the wheel. But in our quest to develop at an exponential

rate, we must ask ourselves which would be a better way to accumulate more knowledge –

the development of new ways of thinking about knowledge that we have or the simple

discovery of new data or facts? The two terms are part of a cyclic process. We discover

something which results in the obtainment of new data/facts. When we apply different ways

of thinking to this knowledge, we may obtain an entirely different result and hence gain more

knowledge. On the other hand, through a chance discovery we may also obtain new data

unlike any other that exists. Through the use of 2 areas of knowledge – natural sciences, and

art along with the incorporation of the ways of knowing of reason, emotion, and perception, I

will attempt to prove my theory.

Before moving further, it seems necessary to define the key terms in the question.

How can we define “new ways of thinking” and the “discovery of new data or facts”?

Personally, I feel that new ways of thinking require critical analysis along with the ability to

“think outside the box”. Ways of thinking are invented each day as each person has a unique

process of thought and experience; presented with the same information they may come up

with several different ideas. New data or facts can be discovered through the application of

“new ways of thinking” upon previously existing knowledge or serendipity. But these two

terms also vary when it comes to the context of their usage.

In the area of natural sciences, there is a constant quest to search for new, more

advanced data. There is no end to research as not only is new data being produced but

Alisha Sharaballi


everyday scientists are coming up with new ideas based on their existing data. For example, a

new discovery for science was the discovery of the elements. But soon after the discovery of

several elements by looking at the bonding capabilities of these elements, scientists came up

with compounds. By using their perception of the characteristics of the different elements and

by thinking in different ways and trying to apply particular elements to different uses, they

were able to come up with something entirely new.

Albert Einstein is reputed for his formula = 2 . By Einstein’s time, there had been

myriad scientists who had spent countless hours researching the components of this equation

- energy, matter and the speed of light. There were many theories and mathematical

equations that existed and the scientists of the time were quite pleased with these. Although

there were a few situations these theories did not apply to, these “situations” were deemed

insignificant. Einstein thought differently. He constantly questioned himself and set riddles

for himself. These riddles were set forth to see if the theories present at that time could

answer them. Einstein’s ability to think unlike scientists before helped him succeed in

formulating = 2 . (Orman, M. n.d.) He looked at a pre-existing topic through different

eyes by refusing to simply overlook anomalies. By doing this he also used reason and

emotion to justify his findings.

On the other hand, penicillin is said to have been discovered by complete chance.

Actually, Alexander Fleming noticed that colonies of bacteria existing near the mold were

dissolving as the mold grew. (Bellis, M. n.d.) He thus moved forward to investigate this

further. He used his perception of the situation and applied it. This also connects to emotion

as Alexander was curious about his findings and this application resulted in the discovery of


Alisha Sharaballi


When looking at discoveries in the natural sciences, it seems that all discoveries have

been made through the cyclic process of using different ways of thinking upon our

knowledge to obtain new information.

When looking at history, there are several instances where a new way of thinking has

led to the discovery of new information. Coco Chanel is a designer who has left a lasting

impression of women’s fashion in the 20 th century. When she began, she lacked the funding

to purchase expensive material and instead used jersey. Until the time Coco Chanel started

her business, jersey was a cloth used to make men’s underwear. This was a new discovery for

the fashion industry. Jersey draped very well over the silhouette and as Coco Chanel’s

designs were inspired by men’s clothing, it was quite practical too.

Moving away from the fashion industry, Apple products have left their mark on the

20 th century. Specifically the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad with features like touch screen

technology, Apple has invented some of the most amazing products in existence today. But

the discovery of touch screen technology can first be traced back to a short article published

in 1965 by E. A. Johnson. Over the years, touch screen technology has been used in different

situations to make different control systems, virtual worlds and several tablets to make life a

lot simpler which brings us back to the iPad. Although Apple may not have discovered touch

screen technology, their revision of it to make it move at incredibly fast speeds has brought

us to another level in technology.

When we look at trends in history, we find that much of the “new information” such

as fashion trends or technological trends find their roots in a lot of known data. But unique

people such as Coco Chanel and Steve Jobs have found ways of using the previous data and

manipulating it into something that is new to the world. In a way, they recycle the previous

data to create something entirely new. (Krick, J. 2004)

Alisha Sharaballi


In the arts, Korean and Japanese horror movies have become incredibly influential

and popular. Until the 1990s, horror movies had focused on gore. When Korean and Japanese

horror focused on the horror of a woman’s ghost which focused more on psychological fear

rather than the shock factor of blood and guts, these movies became increasingly popular and

influenced many remakes made in Hollywood, Bollywood and several other movie making

businesses. They used emotion to appeal more to the audience rather than simply shocking

them. This way of rethinking the genre of horror brought horror movies to a whole new level

that appealed to the audience a lot more than they had before.(Schwartzman, N. 2009)

Which is more important: new ways of thinking or the discovery of new data/facts?

New data or facts can be obtained through a new way of thinking about previous existing

knowledge. New data or facts need to exist but at the same time, to further our knowledge,

we must also have new ways of thinking to further discover new data or facts. But the

application of these two concepts varies. In areas of knowledge such as sciences, there is an

endless process where we may obtain a lot of new information from looking at previously

existing knowledge in new ways. But at the same time these new ways of thinking must

result in new discoveries to appeal to the population today.

Alisha Sharaballi


Works Cited

Mary Bellis n.d. The History of Penicillin. Last accessed 24th Jan 2012. <http://inventors.about.com/od/pstartinventions/a/Penicillin.htm>

Mort Orman. n.d. How EI STEI Arrived at E=MC 2 . Last accessed 24th Jan 2012. <http://www.stresscure.com/hrn/einstein.html>

Krick, Jessa. (October 2004) "Gabrielle "Coco" Chanel (1883–1971) and the House of Chanel". In Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History. Last accessed 24 th Jan 2012 New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2000–. <http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/hd/chnl/hd_chnl.htm>

Johnson, E.A. (1965). "Touch Display - A novel input/output device for computers". Electronics Letters 1(8): 219–220.

Schwartzman, N. (June 2009). "Why Do Korean Horror Movies Have Only Female Ghosts?" Asian Correspondent. Accessed 24 th Jan 2012