Knowledge

I love to learn, I have a natural curiosity and thirst for knowledge that I do not believe will ever be quenched, even if I were to learn all of the knowledge that is found in the world, including those things not yet discovered or thought of, I would be satisfied that I know enough. I value intelligence, in myself and in others. But it isn’t the only thing that I admire, but very few things in life make me as happy as when I’m learning something. Even as I write, I am learning, as I think through the things I’ve already learned, I am solidifying them in my mind, rethinking them, spotting errors, confirming truths, and so forth. There is the initial stage of learning, the discovery of something, that can happen in an instant, but it can take the rest of my life to refine that thought. I’m alright with that, the joy for me is in the learning, not the answer of the question, but in the asking of it. I like to know things, but I enjoy knowing that there is often more to something then I can currently comprehend. I do not know if I can pronounce it to be true that I hold complete knowledge on any given subject. And that’s okay. It’s alright not to know something, and there may well come a day when I learn something new about it.

But I enjoy learning, and part of that is experimenting. This can be fun, you ask a question, and try to consider every possibility you can think of, then you take those possibilities and you try them out. Some succeed and some fail. There is often more then one correct answer. In most things there are multiple answers that are correct. The sun is both round(ish) and bright. It isn’t round or bright. It isn’t round and dark, square and bright. It is true that it is round and it is true that it is bright. The fact that it is bright doesn’t subtract that it’s also round. Yet, we often approach life as though it can only be one or the other. It’s not just the sun, or Cymbeline as I call her, but almost everything in life. There is multiple things that are true about them. Why do we keep looking for single answers then? I suppose there is comfort in certainty. But in my mind we can never be absolutely certain about anything, not really. Why? Because there is always the possibility that there is something we do not know yet about it. There is always the possibility that we do not know something, so unless we know everything, we really can’t be certain about anything. Now, that doesn’t mean we should disregard things, because we’re not 100% certain of them, by no means, all it means, is that we cannot be 100% certain without 100% knowledge of any given subject. This is a discomforting fact perhaps, and I cannot be certain of it, but I am convinced of it. Which, in the end, is all we ever are, is convinced creatures. We can not be certain creatures, only convinced.

How can we be? Do we know everything? By no means. I do not even know all of human knowledge, not to mention all knowledge, human or not, including that which has not yet been thought of. I do not have that. Therefore, I cannot be certain of being correct about everything, but I can be convinced of what is, what is not, and in most cases, if we persue it, we can become 99.99% certain of thing, but never 100%. That small difference is all the difference between absolute knowledge and attained knowledge. There is always the possibility of being wrong, however minute a possibility that might be on some things. There comes a point where we have to take the matter, any matter, and consider it to be true, because that is what we believe it to be. We have to take everything with at least a minute measure of faith in the end, because there is always the possibility of being wrong, however a minute possibility it might be. If it can be thought of, it is a possibility, because consideration of an alternate possibility, no matter how astronomical the odds of it actually being the correct way, still demonstrates that it is a possibility.

This is a surprisingly troubling thought to almost everyone I’ve ever mentioned it to, yet it is just a simple conclusion based on the observation of the possibility of being wrong. That’s all it is. And while there is still a lot farther I could take the thought, I try to take it as far as I can before I simply run out of ideas of what to do with it. Trying to consider it in light of everything I do know from experience. Though experience itself is a poor teacher of facts, it is still a teacher, especially of concepts. Things are not always what they appear to be, your senses are not the most reliable ways of deducting correct information, even if they do a pretty good job at it. They simply do not have the capability to be refined enough to notice all that there is to know about things. There are physical limits to how much we can see, what we hear, what we feel, smell, and so forth. If we have a limited sensory experience, it follows that there is things that we do not experience, yet nevertheless are present, even if we can’t detect them with our detectors. Something doesn’t have to be detected to be present, things can be true, even if we don’t know about them. There is that. I do not believe absolute truth may be discovered by experiential means. A fact may be exceedingly supported by our experience, but it cannot be decided with absolute certainty. We simply do not have that luxury available to us.

We cannot even be certain of our own existence, not to mention anything that is around us. Now before you throw a fit, just stop and think about it. How do you know that you are here. I mean take that thought as far and as extreme as you can. At some point you’re going to come up against the fact that you believe it, because of experience, but experience always has the possibility of error. You cannot put your faith in your existence based on your experience.

So, where does that leave us? It’s really quite simple, suppose there was someone who claimed absolute knowledge, and what we know, no matter how small a percentage of the entirety of the knowledge of the fact, but what we know supports the claim of the being with absolute knowledge, it’s quite simple, we can ask the being about it. If they are as they appear and possess all knowledge, then they should be able to tell us if we are what we appear to be. But only they are qualified to make that statement with absolute certainty. Anything that a being with absolute knowledge would have to say, would be absolutely certain, because uncertainty is nothing more then a lack of knowledge, an incomplete fact.

I believe that God is the one who holds absolute knowledge. Yes, it is a belief. But, it is a belief I can be more certain of then I can be of my own existence, then the universe and all that is within it, which is a pretty good certainty.

It’s really quite simple.

There is the unspoken assumption that what we see is what we know, that things are what they are seen to be, and that is all that they are. That what we experience is the only basis for what is reality. That anything that falls outside of the realm of what we know by experience, is therefore false, by default.

I don’t know, can I agree with that? I don’t have the faith in something that has proven shaky time and time again  every time something new is discovered in fact, to be my definition of absolute truth. Not that there is no value in it, our experiential knowledge is extremely valuable, but it can never be mistaken for complete knowledge. And that is the error in our unspoken assumptions concerning it.

In my mind, the only thing that can be known with absolute certainty, is that we can’t know with absolute certainty unless we can be absolutely certain that what we know is absolutely certain. And to know that with certainty, I must have absolute knowledge. As a human being, I do not have the luxury, so I can therefore not be absolutely certain about anything.

But that’s alright. It’s okay to not have all the answers, for me, the delight is not found in the possession of absolute knowledge, but in the seeking of it.

Five years from now, my ideas will be different then what they are today. I’ll have learned new things, discarded ideas that seemed to be good ideas at the time, but later turned out to be just pretending, and will have learned new things. And yes, I know I said I will have learned new things twice, that is intentional. Think about it.

To my mind, the basis for learning, is in finding out the basis for knowledge, which I believe to be God, and whatever God has to say about things. That might not be acceptable to you, but I respectfully ask that you allow me to hold my belief to be true in the matter, you are free to believe differently then I do if you wish, I’m not saying you’re right, but you are free to do so if you so desire. Right, wrong, true, false. These are the things we ponder. For me, I like to try to narrow things down to whatever it is that is the essence of that thing. For my part, I believe that knowledge can only be absolute in one who is absolutely knowledgeable. I do not have any evidence to suggest that there is anything that God does not know, therefore, I conclude that God is a pretty good candidate for someone who holds absolute knowledge. The reason that this is important, is because that makes God qualified to make statements, and have those statements actually have meaning to them, rather then just being a sum total of a bunch of beliefs turned into a word. God has the word, not just the idea of it, but the word in its fullness, because God has absolute knowledge, he holds the right to define the word, and he who defines the word, defines the nature of what it is that the word represents. Without the word, we are nothing. Nothing is anything without a word to give it definition. Reality is little more then words made manifest. So, what are words? Ideas, or information. Ideas come from a mind. A mind, is something that is intelligent, something that knows, something with knowledge.

Knowledge. Ideas. Words. This is the foundation of what we call reality. The essential building blocks of the universe, of whatever it is that is outside of the universe, if such a thing is even a possibility  which I think it is, simply because I have the idea of it, even before we get into quarks, sporks  forks, and orcs, are words, or information. Information is the essence of all that we call reality. When you narrow it down it becomes information.

I have seen this in only one place, storytelling. Maybe we’re a story before we’re anything else. Stories are not the products of accidents, but are purposeful, and the more well thought out, the more complex the story, even if it is told so well, that one forgets that they are part of it. We are the story. All of humanity, all of history, everything we ever were, are, and will be, are but a story. A story implies a storyteller.

For my part, I believe the storyteller to be God.

It’s quite simple really. It’s just narrowing things down as far as possible, then seeing what is there, and drawing conclusions on it. Not saying I’m right, or wrong, I am an observer of the world around me, I study it, I consider it, I think about it, and I draw conclusions based on my observations. Knowing, all the while the possibility of being wrong, but it is freeing being able to be wrong, because if I can be wrong, I can also find that I am right. It is a comfort to me to know that I do not know all the answers, and probably never will possess absolute knowledge. But that’s alright, I do not need to understand everything, to enjoy it, to learn from it, and so forth.

I do not see the quest for knowledge to be a bad thing, I can only see the seeking of knowledge, chasing it as far as we possibly can, to be a good thing. It will, if my assumptions are correct, always ultimately point back to the truth in the end, we can’t ever find the anti-truth to be true in the end, because a lie can only ever be a lie, it can never be true or it ceases to be a lie. Lies will find correction, but never verification. Knowledge, and the seeking of it, is a virtue, as far as I am concerned, it is not good to be ignorant, but to learn, is a good thing. I make no apologies for my curiosity, nor for my unquenchable thirst to know more, they are among those things that can’t ever find completion unless they are fully complete. I will never run out of new things to learn until I learn everything there is to learn, then, and only then, can I know anything, but as there is an infinite number of things to learn, it is quite out of my reach to attain such a knowledge. That doesn’t mean I shouldn’t try.

This was supposed to be about learning languages, and the conclusion of the matter was to be about trust, and how I have a difficult time with trusting people, but alas, it seems the post has gone in a different direction then I intended. That can sometimes happen. I think I desire to conclude this post with this thought, however, instead of attaching new subjects to it.

We can have more certainty in God’s words then we can have in our own existence. But, if what God’s words say about us confirms it, we can be certain of our existence, but only because that is what is spoken of us. We can have more confidence in the words of God then we can have in reality itself. That is the conclusion I have at least. Which is why I trust God, I think. Because God possesses absolute knowledge, I do not have to hide anything from God, and if God says something about me, then that is what is true, regardless of whatever else may appear to be true, this is what is true.