Adam Blatner

Words and Images from the Mind of Adam Blatner

On Knowability

Originally posted on March 24, 2013

Epistemology is the  branch of philosophy that asks about how we know what we think we know. I would dig it a bit deeper and ask whether it might be that true knowledge of anything, full knowledge, is truly impossible in a world of cosmic dimensions. In other words, could it be that the notion that things ever can be knowable is an illusion? I don’t mean partially knowable—sure, that happens all the time. Sometimes it’s even mistaken, but generally, yeah, this is a computer I’m keyboarding on. But is that all it is? Can we know the full implications and underlying principles and everything about anything? I sure don’t claim that my knowledge of computers is very great, and I’m reading a book now that has essays addressing the question, “does the internet change the way people think?”

So I want to suggest that the illusion of knowledge is illusory, but people need it, just as they need the illusion of meaning or self. so folks sort of semi-consciously concede or delegate: “Someone must know.” It’s sort of a corollary of the instinct to not just create myths, but to really fall into a variable degree of concrete belief that what we perceive “there” is really what is there, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. Yet the whole truth is that it goes on far beyond what we can perceive. The truth is that what seems to be is often not what it really is, and almost always there’s more to it, and more, there’s even more to the more. There’s an old bit of doggerel:
  Big fleas have little fleas / upon their back to bite ‘em;
And little fleas have littler fleas, / and so ad infinitum.
      But this applies to time durations, forces, complexities of all sorts, discontinuities, patterns of order mixed with patterns of chaos or chance, etc.

Thus, I want to quote one of my sprite-guides that I’ve had in the background for many years:tolerateambig2

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *