It took me a very long time to learn to blow bubbles with gum. I still have no idea what it has to feel like in order to whistle loudly with your fingers in your mouth, and as I look at other people do it I’m reminded of the impenetrable barrier I once had to blowing a bubble before I just “got it”. I might, for all I know, someday whistle like this by accident, but doing it intentionally involves just getting it – that is, getting the experience of what-it’s-like to whistle like that.
Note that even if we could “download knowledge” in the manner that happens in the Matrix movies it could only, at best, give us the ability to perform feats that look like the feats done by adepts and experts. We would still have to learn how to do them for ourselves. If I downloaded the whistle program, then I could at first only make the sound by letting the program execute the motions of the activity. I could not execute them from an awareness of what it felt like to do it. Said another way, the downloadable knowledge might be able to teach me what to do, but it could not be the very knowledge which empowers one to act according to knowing what it is like to act. Again, if I really had no skill at all for learning algebra, then downloading the algebra program would only empower me to let the the program execute an operation, even if the platform it used to execute it happened to be my own nervous system. Without the qualia of what it is to manipulate the symbols, then I’m simply doing algebra subconsciously – watching my hands move around and make marks that others might determine to be the correct answer.