Know Nothings

Bear with me here, please.

After brief con­scious mas­ti­ca­tion, fol­lowed by a long boil in the sub­scon­scious, and anoth­er bout of con­scious bang­ing my head against this thread [and accom­pa­ny­ing arti­cle], these are what I think about some stuff.

We always know noth­ing. [Yes, that con­tra­dicts itself, as do most of my navel-gaz­ings].

Here we go.

What start­ed me off was this state­ment by one Ryvar:

It’s impor­tant for peo­ple to real­ize that all of the expe­ri­en­tial process­es you have with­in the course of a day or year can be explained while accept­ing that there is no mys­ti­cal com­po­nent to con­scious­ness.

Now, I dis­agree with this quite a lot, but I’ve noticed when dis­agree­ments arise it is usu­al­ly the result of a fal­la­cy in a high­er order of thought on the part of all par­ties, so after I gnawed on this for a bit, decid­ed what was wrong with his argu­ment, I then applied it to my own.

We are both argu­ing belief sys­tems, he has his deter­min­ist approach and I’ve got mine. His is fact based, mine is more of an amal­gam of faith and fact. I am not going to explain my belief sys­tem, as it would be tan­gen­tial to what I want to dis­cuss.

Both of us are com­plete­ly wrong, for­ev­er.

What is a fact? Some­thing that can be proven, no? Twice two is four, as the Under­ground man would say. Humans eat, sleep, and excrete. An acorn grows into an oak tree. Behav­ior is deter­mined by the stim­u­lus of envi­ron­ment upon mol­e­c­u­lar sys­tems [If it is cold out, we shiv­er.]

There is no such thing as fact, with this def­i­n­i­tion.

Facts are still things that are believed in. I have sort of touched upon this kind of thing here but now it appears to be reach­ing a type of matu­ri­ty. A fact is sup­pos­ed­ly some­thing that is known to be true, and true faith knows in this way as well. What, ergo, sep­a­rates the two?

Every­thing we know we have been taught in one way or anoth­er. Yet it seems that we have been taught to believe in knowl­edge. Belief in Fact is just like Belief in God, we can prove it to our­selves, we can prove it to oth­ers, oth­ers can prove it to us. Yet, it is still false.

The prob­lem, yes as usu­al, lies with the old Del­ph­ic fiat, Know Thy­self, an impos­si­bil­i­ty. Since no one has attained this goal, any oth­er knowl­edge they come across, dis­cov­er, pro­pound, or have prop­a­gat­ed upon them­selves is flawed. This is because the per­son who orig­i­nal­ly thought it up was flawed in them­selves, an Orig­i­nal Sin of cog­i­ta­tion, all human efforts become utter­ly futile. This is sort of how bib­li­cal schol­ars jus­ti­fy var­i­ous inter­pre­ta­tions of the bible, it was hand­ed down from a per­fect source, but tak­en by a flawed being, and is there­fore imper­fect in its inter­pre­ta­tions.

So we can­not ever know any­thing because every­thing goes back toward the basic flaw in human under­stand­ing. We only believe, have faith, that we know things. Unless we are per­fect beings, we have mit­i­gat­ing cir­cum­stances to under­mine any­thing we think we believe we know.

I’m sure this is old hat to plen­ty of philoso­phers and the­olo­gians out there. It seems a bit rem­i­nis­cent of the whole ‘Do we exist’ argu­ment. We think we exist, we believe it, but we can nev­er quite know it. If we can­not even feel secure about one of the old­est and most basic verbs, the one fun­da­men­tal for any cod­i­fied knowl­edge, we can­not tru­ly know any­thing.

I think I might eat break­fast now. [At least, that is what I think I believe I know I am doing.]

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