Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Knowledge Inside & Out

In answer to a statement yesterday that all knowledge does not come from 'outside,' let us have a quick look at intuition.  Mostly, let's just nail down a definition ... and for that, we have wikipedia.

Let us take note of a couple of sentences here.  First, that intuition is "the ability to acquire knowledge"; fair enough, things are looking good for Alexis to be wrong.  But let's look at the beginning of the second paragraph:  Intuition provides us with views, understandings, judgements, or beliefs that we cannot in every case empirically verify or rationally justify."

Oops.  Jeez, that doesn't work out very well.  That means that while I can have knowledge from intuition, I can't very well make that knowledge useful to anyone else if I can't empirically verify it.  That being the case, intuitive knowledge is pretty lousy if what we're attempting to do is establish a theory about how something works, so that it can be applied by other people.

So, I recant.  Not all knowledge is 'outward' based.  Only useful knowledge is.

Winston Rowntree was the first to tag the phrase for me, 'One True Human.'  I would have always defined this as primacy, the natural tendency in children to view themselves as more important than every other being ... but I like the Rowntree's phrase.  The appeal is the acutely description it offers.  Here's how Rowntree puts it:

"... you don't see other people as people - you see them as props, here to supplement the existence of the One True Human ... its so common there's even a word, 'sonder,' to describe the belated realization that other people exist in the same way you do.  Because they do."

Naturally, I had to go look up the definition of the word, which was not in my usual online dictionary.  I found it here.  In The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows yet.  Which is to suggest that the recognition that others are just as miserable as you are is a sad thing ... whereas, of course, ignorant dismissal of other people in order to feed one's own self-gratifying ego must be a happy thing.

It is always presumed that I write this blog to feed my ego, which I think is quite funny.  It presumes that I have no other means to feed my ego, and that I am desperately applying my knowledge, my ability to write and my inner strength to this venue because it is all I have.  Uh, yeah.  I don't suppose it has occurred to anyone that were I willing to lie, and use other people, for the sole purpose of feeding my ego, I would do better to feast off even weaker people than the reader and get rich in the process.  I spent a summer once working with a fellow whose vocation was debt consolidation.  Here was a fellow who was rich, heartless, completely egotistical and absolutely content to continue in his lifestyle, which basically meant offering loans to people who had already proven by their six-figure debt status that they were unable to manage their money.

See, what you do is you open your doors, and some lower middle-class couple comes into your office owning a $450,000 property with $275,000 worth of equity that it's taken them 20 years of miserable, backbreaking labor to accumulate; sadly, they've also accumulated $135,000 in debt.  Now, Jim (his actual real name) smiles, promises that he'll get all that debt together for them in one place, with one payment, and once they make the payments, they'll be free and clear.  Then, 14 months later, when the nice couple helplessly default on their debts, because that is their nature, Jim cheerfully takes away their house. Because that is the deal these desperate people sign.

Now, if what any of us want to do is gratify our own egos, I suggest THAT job.

Okay, I'm way out in left field, let me work my way back.  If knowledge is going to have any value at all, it has to be knowledge that we are able to impart to other people.  And if we are going to impart that knowledge, then we have to recognize, FIRST, that the fact that we know a thing isn't enough.  That's where the one true human thing enters the picture.  Many people who are out there espousing their opinions on things, such as D&D, the so-called topic of this blog, are already of the opinion that since they know a particular thing, that ought to be enough for everyone.  Because we aren't really real, get it?

The purpose in writing about any of this, or in writing the book I'm writing, is not to prove I know a thing and fuck you very much.  It is to make the effort to cause you to know the thing, TOO.  And not simply by taking my word for it, but by encouraging you to step out of your usual world, investigate the thing itself and see if it is knowledge that also works for you.  If it turns out that the knowledge is only something that seems right to me, then the knowledge I have to tell about it shit.  It's not good enough.

I'm writing this, and my book, because I am not the one true human.  You are human too.  And you need a structure for you to work from.  Intuition is a really, really crappy structure.  What you need are solid boards, that you can plane yourself and shape yourself and use to make a strong, tactile world.  For that, you need knowledge that comes from 'outside.'

I hope we are at least clear that if my ego were my motivation, I wouldn't be feeding it here.

1 comment:

Darcy Perry said...

I enjoy reading your posts because they are well written. You are very good at writing, with a consistent voice. The community of readers that comment on your blog offer good food for thought also.

Whether you are right or wrong, feeding your ego, or peddling your book is not important to me. It's the honesty in your writing that is refreshing. Ok, it helps that I agree more than disagree.

Still, even when I strongly disagree with one of your statements, I can find something to learn from it. I like the idea that intuition is seen as inner perception.