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.