Monday Aphorism: The End of Knowledge

Somebody realized not too long ago that knowledge has its own marketplace. What sells, what people hear and want to hear, what is the truth, and what are the facts, have no clear tests. What constitutes truth is all mixed up with what sells, and there is no totally obvious truth. What is true, the logicians say, is what is not-false. Truth is like geometry: axiomatic, derivable, provable, applicable. Perspectives, contexts, a different set of assumptions, equally true or not, burst that bubble! What is truth, logicians come to say, is what is falsifiable. Hedging, it seemed, but noting at long last what is circular and proves nothing but what was believed already. This realization has set the stage for much wondering.

Many could not stand the tension of wondering what – anything? – is clearly true. Wanting to believe in the truth of their beliefs, they became their own earlier opponents, and declared the end of truth, the impossibility of knowledge. They (we) have become beggars, hanging about the marketplace of ideas, declaring there are none, still eager to eat the shriveled fruits and tired vegetables of yesterday. Appetites shrunken, satisfied with little, they (we) seek nothing…and find it.

  • Stefan

    Very interesting (and great video also!). Despite supporting and largely agreeing with this aphorism, I still believe (ha ha) that there is something unrelative about truth. I still think bad people don’t go to heaven, just ’cause they have a last minute “moment”. And I still don’t want to be a card carrying ACLU member; instead supporting them when, relatively, I agree with their point. (But that may just mean my philosophy is stuck in the late 18th centry with the Encyclopedists)

    Please keep on challenging us and keep em coming.

  • Stefan

    Very interesting (and great video also!). Despite supporting and largely agreeing with this aphorism, I still believe (ha ha) that there is something unrelative about truth. I still think bad people don’t go to heaven, just ’cause they have a last minute “moment”. And I still don’t want to be a card carrying ACLU member; instead supporting them when, relatively, I agree with their point. (But that may just mean my philosophy is stuck in the late 18th centry with the Encyclopedists)

    Please keep on challenging us and keep em coming.

  • April

    It’s hard not to cringe at talk of the “marketplace of ideas,” which any good student can assume is only the (only) idea of the marketplace. I like this image of the beggars on the margins. “Ideas themselves? Now exchange values!” is their message of opposition and lost hope. But even (especially) the beggars want for nothing. And want for nothing.

    How do we promote a place of real work and use? Maybe even real exchange? Or, first off, how do we work towards such a place? I guess I have started to suspect that for people like myself, it starts very humbly; by asking marginal others for new ideas. Listening with open critical mind to those who have them, and passing along anything useful to those who do not.

  • April

    It’s hard not to cringe at talk of the “marketplace of ideas,” which any good student can assume is only the (only) idea of the marketplace. I like this image of the beggars on the margins. “Ideas themselves? Now exchange values!” is their message of opposition and lost hope. But even (especially) the beggars want for nothing. And want for nothing.

    How do we promote a place of real work and use? Maybe even real exchange? Or, first off, how do we work towards such a place? I guess I have started to suspect that for people like myself, it starts very humbly; by asking marginal others for new ideas. Listening with open critical mind to those who have them, and passing along anything useful to those who do not.

  • http://harveysarles.com Harvey Sarles

    April,
    Real work and use? A great question. Real exchange? – right here. The ideas of the world seem to be at some impasse, following a time of amazing technological development and change. Partly, I think, we are emerging from years of money and “stuff” bubbles – and are in some moments of reaction and rethinking. How to increase our worlds of real wonder, without falling into deep negativity? Think hard about our own thinking, and try to move beyond – what these aphorisms try to state and convey! Important, I think, to look at other eras when we moved from one time and state of being to another – and try to envision futures which can and will work in contexts that will serve us…all. Thanks,
    Harvey

  • http://harveysarles.com Harvey Sarles

    April,
    Real work and use? A great question. Real exchange? – right here. The ideas of the world seem to be at some impasse, following a time of amazing technological development and change. Partly, I think, we are emerging from years of money and “stuff” bubbles – and are in some moments of reaction and rethinking. How to increase our worlds of real wonder, without falling into deep negativity? Think hard about our own thinking, and try to move beyond – what these aphorisms try to state and convey! Important, I think, to look at other eras when we moved from one time and state of being to another – and try to envision futures which can and will work in contexts that will serve us…all. Thanks,
    Harvey