The Faith of Uncertainty.

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posted on May, 12 2013 @ 03:29 PM
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The Faith of Uncertainty.




As for me, all I know is that I know nothing...

Socrates


OF OUR ABSOLUTES

Absolute Truth or Knowledge (capitalized to appear divine), the idea of a state of omniscience strictly unavailable to the minds of men, is a strange paradox. Because we are not privy to this "truth", if we are to be certain of such a state, we must also be uncertain of it. We must be somehow certain of our uncertainty and uncertain of our certainty. Don’t even bother contemplating it—minds have cracked for less.

If we untwist the paradox a bit and take a better look at this assumption, we find that the basic premise is that only the “universe can know the universe”, or “only God can know God”, or only “absolute truth can know absolute truth”. Whatever tautology we employ, it renders knowledge—despite being a human affair—out of the hands of humanity.

The same can be said of ill-conceived notions of truth. If truth is “that which a thing is”, namely the reality of what we attempt to know, something incapable of existing in the human mind, we are once again excluding the human intellect for no purpose. Since knowledge is more applicable as a correspondence to reality, and not applicable as reality itself, truth must also be more applicable as a correspondence to reality, and not reality itself. Saying truth is reality is simply naming reality something else—something we are all too prone to do—and renders the idea of truth irrelevant.

Luckily, truth and knowledge do not extend beyond how humans define truth and knowledge. We are the truthmakers. There simply is no Absolute Truth nor Absolute Knowledge outside of the idea of truth and knowledge in human thought. Everything else is simply what it is; no truth and no falsity. Knowledge is an act of the human intellect, and, paraphrasing Aquinas, truth is the equation of human knowledge and reality (“Veritas est adaequatio rei et intellectus”). We write the equations; we write the rules of truth; we write the rules of knowledge. Truth is hence the agreement between the knowers (humanity) and the known (reality).

We can see that truth and knowledge are possible, insofar as they are applicable and adequate descriptions of reality as viewed through human experience. Knowledge is never an exact one-to-one ratio of correspondence to reality, but an adequate representation thereof. Truth is true because it works, not because it circumscribes something absolutely. This seems simple, practical and rational. But this view, as it so happens, is still not that common.

OF OUR UNCERTAINTY

We often hear that we simply cannot know one way or the other, it is impossible to know for sure, and every quest for truth is fundamentally futile; but when we look deeper into these claims, we are witness to something more devious: the Socratic paradox in its manifested form, a faith in uncertainty.

“I know that I know nothing...” is unclear. One cannot know "nothing" as nothing has no thing to know. One can only know something. Socrates’ was being his ironic self, and his assertion was his way of saying we cannot know everything. Changing some words and saying it like this removes the paradox of his assertion and seems evident. Of course we cannot know everything; we don’t have the time to know everything. Yet the paradox seems to persists in those who, when faced with “truths” that they do not agree with or simply do not like, find solace in their own uncertainty, where Infinite Possibility (capitalized to appear divine) leaves their ideas untouched, unharmed and alive in the realm of of their uncertainty. When someone say "prove such and such doesn't exist", when there is nothing that says it exists in the first place, they are saying in a round-about way that they are relying on the mere possibility of it existing as foundation to base their beliefs. This is extreme skepticism—the faith in uncertainty—and the irrational refusal to justify believing in the evidence that proves the contrary.

Take Descartes for example. He doubted himself as far as he could, out of his body, away from his senses, out of the world, until he wasn’t able to doubt that he was doubting. Of course, there was no evidence nor practical reason to suggest that he even needed to doubt that far, but he wanted to find something of which he can be certain and a premise from which he could deduce. Finally, he found a premise from where he could acquire the steady footing to stand on: “I exist”. Brilliant? Yes. Obvious? Of course.

But where did he go from here? Having doubted everything besides the fact that he existed, he fathomed the idea that there is a demon pulling the strings of his world like a marionette, and that you, me and everyone else are simply illusions created by this demon to fool Descartes. This is the reason we exist: to fool a man who lived almost 400 years ago. Despite the comedy of such a thought, it persists even to this day; The Matrix, the simulation theory, and the brain in a vat thought experiment are all regurgitations of Descartes’ Evil Demon theory. Even though there’s not a single slice of evidence that would suggest these conclusions about our existence, they are nonetheless “still possible” when inferred from Descartes premise, and hence remain as blemishes on the face of metaphysics.

Philosophy has ruined herself through epistemology. Not only has it cast the entirety of human knowledge in doubt, it has posited, in its place, the realm of possibilities and the paradox that we simply “cannot know”, allowing ideas which have no relevancy to human experience to exist in our thoughts (but no where else apparently). Sure, anything is possible. In some universe, in some future, in some realm, we can crush diamonds with our bare hands, walk on clouds, and pigs do indeed fly. That I will concede; but philosophy need not spend her time contemplating it.

How was Socrates so certain that he cannot be certain? He must have, at some point, arrived at this conclusion and believed enough to be certain of it, thereby refuting himself in a few words; but he still “knew” it despite this glaring paradox. It would appear that what he was so certain about was not his uncertainty, but that he could never fit the entirety of reality in his head. Of that, we too can be certain.

Thank you for reading.


edit on 12-5-2013 by LesMisanthrope because: (no reason given)




posted on May, 12 2013 @ 03:42 PM
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I think it can be reasonably stated that there's enough certainty to give the uncertainty a direction, as opposed to so much uncertainty that your certainty becomes generalized and essentially useless so far as specificity goes.

As such, certainty gives your uncertainty a vector, which is what we call an "educated guess".



posted on May, 12 2013 @ 05:13 PM
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reply to post by LesMisanthrope
 






As for me, all I know is that I know nothing...

Socrates


How can he know that? How can he be absolutely sure that he knows nothing? He's claiming that he KNOWS that he knows nothing, but how can he know that? And if he does know that isn't that knowing something?

It is a paradox promoting confusion and ignorance.

Now if a person says "I keep an open-mind and continue to learn" I would say that has the best advantage towards making sure people learn, grow, and become less judgmental (as in more tolerant and accepting and not fearing from ignorance).



posted on May, 12 2013 @ 05:39 PM
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Sounds like Socrates should have taken "a leap of faith."

But with all folly aside, wouldn't a human-perspective, which appreciates all things, be more enlightening?

Could we even dare to dream this could be so?

And the "thread-of-truth" woven in this article about "uncertainty," reminds one of this:




44 The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field.

45 Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls.

46 When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it.

Source: King James version of the Holy Bible.

edit on 12-5-2013 by trekwebmaster because: Added additional commentary.



posted on May, 12 2013 @ 05:58 PM
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reply to post by LesMisanthrope
 


So how well would you say you know the universe? Or does that not matter, for truth has nothing to do with knowing? I want to respond to your OP because I feel like discussing philosophy but after reading it and skimming over it again, im not quite sure where you are coming from. You think truth doesnt exist or is meaningless, and that only what people create and think is real or truth? or you think truth does exist, but we cant know it all, so it doesnt matter? Or you think truth does exist, but we can know some of it, and that is our knowledge and our truth, and we use that to make more truth? What matters, whats the point, what should we do and why?

To me what Socrates was saying with his statement is that; He was born on this earth, an ignorant baby, tabula rasa ignorant, (yea maybe with some instincts scrambled), and while taking a couple dozen rides around the sun, he has experienced a lot, he has learned to discern between physical items, colors, foods, people, he has learned a language, which uses symbols to describe all of these things, he can think and dream in images, and imagine, he is aware that people can use simple concepts and ideas, and with their imagination expand on them, and innovate new things, people can draw blueprints of buildings and machines, and learn laws of physics and biology and chemistry and medicine... He was aware of all these human affairs and possibilities, he knew he knew all these things... But when it came down to knowing why, all these things we possible, why this planet and star, and universe, and size, and form, and reality exist, and are possible, where it came from, what came before it, and before that, the fact that this existence is, so very real, and so very un explainable, and unknowable, that is the area in which Socrates knew nothing about, and I can say the same. I was born as ignorant as him, of course in some thousands of years we have advanced, and learned greater truths and gained more knowledge about this reality, but there are those areas of vast ignorance which still remain. One could say, all could say, we may never know those areas, we may never know those truths; ok.. i never said we could or would, I am only saying, in regards to the bulk of imagined potential truth, there is a lot I do not know about this reality.



posted on May, 12 2013 @ 06:53 PM
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It really has gotten silly. The biggest thoughts from the greatest minds of all time are readily available to the misinterpretations and misrepresentations by ham-fisted factoidists (some with actual degrees, suggesting a level of professional deference is warranted) in search of yet another angle that can be professionally pursued. And yet, the basics are misunderstood or aggressively dismissed, as if nothing requires any basis to be possible, and if possible, then - according to some misunderstood reading of some centuries-old wisdom staple - probable or even likely. Hell, in some cases, the basis or reality itself...or what would be reality if reality were to ever exist. Which is even less likely than whatever the hell it is that's suddenly become required as a direct result of the evisceration of whatever it was that some idiot misunderstood concerning whatever it was that some guy mused about 500 years ago. Long before that same guy could've ever imagined something miraculous.....like electricity.

The whole writhing mass that is higher thought is completely helpless, and it's the dedicated intent of brilliant people to ensure that it remains completely helpless. Even on this board, it's evident every single day that intellectuals are like lobsters in a tank, and that no one is going to ever let anyone else make it up to the lid. Not even for a peek over the lip to see if there's anything out there. The real point of intellectualism will always be to drag the highest one back down again. Just an endless wasted effort.



posted on May, 12 2013 @ 07:28 PM
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Originally posted by NorEaster
The whole writhing mass that is higher thought is completely helpless, and it's the dedicated intent of brilliant people to ensure that it remains completely helpless. Even on this board, it's evident every single day that intellectuals are like lobsters in a tank, and that no one is going to ever let anyone else make it up to the lid. Not even for a peek over the lip to see if there's anything out there. The real point of intellectualism will always be to drag the highest one back down again. Just an endless wasted effort.


This is a very incisive observation of the intellectual mind, especially as it manifests in these anonymous domains.

This type of undermining and discouragement may invite an opportunity to solidify the foundations supporting your concept and ideas. Presenting new thought to this world is not easy, and more often than not has to survive many challenges and even ridicule.
edit on 12-5-2013 by mysticnoon because: (no reason given)



posted on May, 12 2013 @ 07:29 PM
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reply to post by NorEaster
 


It's worth noting that such practices can (and often do) assist in developing critical thinking skills.
edit on 12-5-2013 by AfterInfinity because: (no reason given)



posted on May, 12 2013 @ 07:48 PM
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reply to post by LesMisanthrope
 


Regarding the Socrates quote, I think it is merely an expression of humility in the face of the immensity of Reality.

As to the faith of uncertainty, the journey to the unknown in this world always proceeds from the known, this is how we learn and discover and grow. Without faith that the unknown has the potential to become knowable, there would hardly be any incentive to break new ground in any endeavour.



posted on May, 12 2013 @ 09:58 PM
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reply to post by mysticnoon
 


I think the human species has demonstrated a distinct impatience for that process...with results that LesMis has already mentioned.



posted on May, 13 2013 @ 09:28 AM
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Originally posted by mysticnoon
reply to post by LesMisanthrope
 


Regarding the Socrates quote, I think it is merely an expression of humility in the face of the immensity of Reality.



That was always my interpretation


I'm one of those people who sit around wondering whether or not I'm real half the time. I try not to dwell on it for too long, because you just end up going in circles.

What always puzzled me about 'The Matrix' was that, once people had been "woken up" and introduced to the real world - why did none of them question whether or not the "real world" was an illusory experience as well?

Kind of like Mol in 'Inception' - because Dom planted the idea in her mind, she became convinced that everything was a dream.

My head hurts.



posted on May, 13 2013 @ 09:54 AM
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reply to post by ImaFungi
 



So how well would you say you know the universe? Or does that not matter, for truth has nothing to do with knowing?

If I'm honest, I know more about what we say about the universe and the names we've given things in the sky. I've never been outside of earth and witnessed what's out there with my own eyes but I've seen some images and heard some stories about it. I know what humans know.


I want to respond to your OP because I feel like discussing philosophy but after reading it and skimming over it again, im not quite sure where you are coming from. You think truth doesnt exist or is meaningless, and that only what people create and think is real or truth? or you think truth does exist, but we cant know it all, so it doesnt matter? Or you think truth does exist, but we can know some of it, and that is our knowledge and our truth, and we use that to make more truth? What matters, whats the point, what should we do and why?


I was not necessarily coming from anywhere. I was being critical of the underlying mentality or psychology I believed I saw beneath irrationality. I was trying to articulate to myself the reason behind people saying we simply "cannot know", which is paradoxical, when in fact we can know a great deal.

Then again, I didn't want to push us into deflationary theories of truth, the idea that truth does not exist beyond the predicate of a proposition, because I feel it eliminates the subject/object relationship so important to human knowledge, and renders knowledge and truth irrelevant. We need the concepts of truth and falsity because they are applicable to understanding. Even children understand truth and negation (forgot where I heard that, might need to look into it). With this thread, I was trying to keep truth and knowledge, as humanity's relationship with the rest of reality, within the reach of humans and not strictly reserved for some non-existent omniscient being.

Anyways, it ended up being just a critique. People have been thinking about this sh## for thousands of years. The thread had no real direction, and sadly no great ideas to debate. It was rushed.


edit on 13-5-2013 by LesMisanthrope because: (no reason given)



posted on May, 13 2013 @ 10:14 AM
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reply to post by LesMisanthrope
 


I think it's that we cannot know what we want to know, which I would suggest is because what we want to know is something we must determine for ourselves. The answers we want are not absolute, but determined subjectively because they are subjective questions.



posted on May, 13 2013 @ 11:37 AM
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reply to post by AfterInfinity
 

Good assessment. It seems fair that we've simply been asking the wrong questions.



posted on May, 13 2013 @ 11:41 AM
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reply to post by LesMisanthrope
 
Ahhh, it must be Monday, a new thread to read from LesMis! And even longer than usual! Better than working, to be sure! Thanks for the read, LesMis.

The trouble I see with equating absolute truth with knowledge rather than with reality, is that knowledge is quite often only apparently factually true for the time being, rather than absolutely true. What was knowledge or true last week or last year, is quite often bs today.

I like to use the word Truth as the same as Reality because such Truth is what one's fundamental and inherent heart-intelligence recognizes once the separative mental distractions of the knower seeking knowledge are relaxed at least for a few moments.

Such conventional knowing of knowledge is never satisfying - we lust for more and more, and of course this has led to many beneficial discoveries, but it is never the Truth or Reality, as you rightly point out. Only recognition of Reality satisfies us at depth because it undoes the endless and futile search for such knowledge or union (with truth).

Fundamentally, we want union - whether that is with a mate or feeling better about our beautiful Ferrari. However, as we know, no such others and things ever ultimately satisfy. So we seek and seek until we finally drop dead.

Why not release the separative seeking, even just for a while, and abide as who we already are, Reality or Consciousness Itself, already in unity. Such is heart-satisfying, and nothing else ever is. Can we actually release such seeking for knowledge and simply abide as the Reality we are? This is a most important question in my view.

edit on 5/13/2013 by bb23108 because: (no reason given)



posted on May, 13 2013 @ 12:05 PM
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reply to post by LesMisanthrope
 
I nearly forgot to say that capitalizing words are also obviously for the purpose of emphasis. We capitalize the word "I" without necessarily wanting to ascribe Divinity to "I", right? Of course, it is interesting that we do capitalize the word "I" and not the objects of our knowing - but such a consideration could be a whole thread unto itself. But certainly it is justified in capitalizing the word "Reality" or "Truth", I would think.
edit on 5/13/2013 by bb23108 because: (no reason given)



posted on May, 13 2013 @ 12:05 PM
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reply to post by bb23108
 



I like to use the word truth as the same as Reality because such Truth is what one's fundamental and inherent heart-intelligence recognizes once the separative mental distractions of the knower seeking knowledge are relaxed at least for a few moments.


And which exists within an entirely subjective realm. Truth may be truth, but it is your truth and no one else's. Which means when you die, that truth dies with you, unlike an objective truth which is called "knowledge".


Such conventional knowing of knowledge is never satisfying - we lust for more and more, and of course this has led to many beneficial discoveries, but it is never the truth or Reality, as you rightly point out. Only recognition of Reality satisfies us at depth because it undoes the endless and futile search for such knowledge or union (with truth).


You mean satisfying ourselves with a line of fecal matter designed to curtail our curiosity so that we never have to discover how much we really don't actually know. You would make an excellent politician. And in fact, that is exactly the kind of subconscious factor that inspires such distrust in LesMis, as we consistently sabotage our attempts to be honest with ourselves in an effort to establish a more emotionally secure existence.

Correct me if you feel I am wrong regarding your message, Les.



posted on May, 13 2013 @ 12:09 PM
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reply to post by LesMisanthrope
 



Good assessment. It seems fair that we've simply been asking the wrong questions.


A frequent complication in matters concerning conflicted ideologies. You cannot know where to begin if you do not know where you are going.



posted on May, 13 2013 @ 12:10 PM
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reply to post by bb23108
 




The trouble I see with equating absolute truth with knowledge rather than with reality, is that knowledge is quite often only apparently factually true for the time being, rather than absolutely true. What was knowledge or true last week or last year, is quite often bs today.


I agree here. Knowledge is entirely fluid. It might be best to adapt to this fact.



Why not release the separative seeking, even just for a while, and abide as who we already are, Reality or Consciousness Itself, already in unity. Such is heart-satisfying, and nothing else ever is. Can we actually release such seeking for knowledge and abide as the Reality we are? This is a most important question in my view.


It is important. I personally find joy in wonderment and curiosity. Abiding by reality for me involves this seeking. No release from it is necessary. Abiding by reality would involve accepting that this seeking is a part of who we already are.



posted on May, 13 2013 @ 12:14 PM
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reply to post by AfterInfinity
 




You mean satisfying ourselves with a line of fecal matter designed to curtail our curiosity so that we never have to discover how much we really don't actually know. You would make an excellent politician. And in fact, that is exactly the kind of subconscious factor that inspires such distrust in LesMis, as we consistently sabotage our attempts to be honest with ourselves in an effort to establish a more emotionally secure existence.

Correct me if you feel I am wrong regarding your message, Les.


You have managed to explain better in a single paragraph than I could have in 3000 words.



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