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The nature of knowledge and truth

ShieldW0lf (601553) writes | more than 6 years ago

User Journal 1

There is no truth, and there is no knowledge.

All the things we know are things which we have decided, and we have decided them from a position of gross ignorance.

There was a time when we knew of the great and terrible fire god in the sky.

There is no truth, and there is no knowledge.

All the things we know are things which we have decided, and we have decided them from a position of gross ignorance.

There was a time when we knew of the great and terrible fire god in the sky.

It was wise that we knew of him thus. To know of him thus was to understand that our lives sprung from him, that without his presence we would die. It was to understand his terrible power and be wary of it, lest he burn you to death. It was to understand that there was a pattern to his actions, and that we could build patterns among ourselves that were supported by the resolute and predictable nature of his actions. We could create time and history where once there was only timeless story and myth and the endless now.

This was not the truth. It was an arbitrary decision that we believe this, and that decision withstood the test of time because it was useful to view things in this fashion. It was a viewpoint that let you do things that you couldn't do before. Those savages who didn't believe were defeated by the weaknesses of their perspective.

There was a time when we knew that the earth was a round globe that the sun revolved around.

It was wise that we knew the sun thus. We spent so long worrying about offending that thing, ascribing motives to it that didn't exist, being blinded to the inconsistencies of our view.

Now we could predict its motion around the earth as we travelled its survace. We could do all sorts of useful things with this knowledge that we couldn't do before. Those who didn't believe as we did were defeated by the weaknesses of their perspective. Those who believed as we believed thrived and multiplied. This was knowledge.

Except that it was an arbitrary truth. It wasn't true. But it was useful. So it was good. This was knowledge.

Now we know that the earth revolves around the sun, and so do the rest of the planets. This is a useful perspective. It has empowered us.

The truth is, we see glimpses of the nature of the universe. We make a bunch of things up, and the more useful those made up things prove to be in helping us continue to exist, the more you see them among us as knowledge and truth.

Now, we have scientists contemplating the microscale of the universe, the macroscale of the universe.

Can you consider the effects your actions when you get up in the morning on the microscale? Or how what's happening on the microscale at the moment should influence what it's wise to do? What it's good or evil to do?

Could you consider how what's happening on the macroscale relates to the morality of your existance and your actions?

You can't.

You can't consider these things.

You're floating along with a whole bunch of made up rules that are there because they're empowering. Inevitably, the falseness of them will come along to bite you on the ass as you struggle to make some sense of the universe with these crude tools that are our truths and perspectives and knowledge.

At the end of the day, you must not get too caught up in defending the truths of things.

You must look around you.

Look at what truths you see bandied about, and try to understand what the purpose of those truths is.

Understand that none of this is really the truth, but every bit of it has some utility that is the reason for its existance.

Try to understand what that utility is.

This will help you deal with the ugliness in the world.

Every ugly evil thing you see has a reason why it is there, that is why its evil ugliness is tolerated.

It serves a moral purpose. It allows us to be.

Reconcile with it. Understand that it has an inherent goodness that is larger than the ugliness of what you can see.

Then look for a new truth that can serve the moral purpose of the ugly one you have reconciled yourself with.

It is in this way that you will find your truth.

It will be a truth that you have chosen. It will not be an inherently true truth, but it will be a useful truth.

It is up to you what you do with the truth you have chosen.

But for it to be a good and moral truth, it must ultimately serve the purpose of continuing to allow us to be.

If it does not serve that purpose, it will ultimately destroy those who choose it as the truth, and thus destroy itself.

What are your truths doing?

1 comment

Put down the crack pipe (1)

Captain Splendid (673276) | about 6 years ago | (#22826624)

My truths?

Gravity keeps me on the ground. (Dammit!)
Interest rates are never good enough.
Gnome is better than KDE.

In other words, I don't worry so much about the made up rules, as long as I'm paying attention to the real ones.
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