The knowledge of ignorance

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Khethil
 
Reply Wed 12 Nov, 2008 07:43 am
@BrightNoon,
Good thoughts...

... perhaps also to what we rightly refer is the acknowledgment of ignorance as a component of perspective; the proper supression of that ego that says, "I know all! See me!? I've got your answer".

Knowledge, without humility in acknowledging ones' own limits therein, results in petulant, argumentative arrogance.

Thanks
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Wed 12 Nov, 2008 11:17 am
@BrightNoon,
BrightNoon wrote:
I think the basic idea that is eluding you K is that knowledge is not absolute and is, therefore, akin to ignorance. In other words, knowledge is a dignified form of ignorance; knowledge is ignorance renamed; neither has anything to do with 'the truth.' Every peice of supposed knowledge is no more certain than the wildest speculation, nor nearer 'the truth.' You might say that knowledge is ignorance which does not know itself.


But I know I was born, had parents, that Mars is the fourth planet, and that Stockholm is the capital of Sweden. And so, I bet do you too. I did not say that knowledge is absolute because I have no idea what that means. And what is knowledge ignorance of? I never claimed that when I know that Mars is the fourth planet that I am certain of it, at least not in the sense that it is impossible that I might be wrong. But, then I think that there is a distinction between knowing and being certain without the possibility of error. Lastly, to know that p (where p is some proposition) is to know that p is true. You can see that yourself, because if I claim to know that some proposition is true, and it turns out not to be true, then I have to withdraw my claim to know, and admit that I thought I knew what I claimed to be true, but I could not have known it because it was not true. This differs from belief, because if I say that I believe some proposition, and that propositions turns out to be false, I can, nevertheless say that I believed it, but was mistaken. I can have (and do have, alas) false beliefs, but there is no such thing as false knowledge. Mark Twain (I believe) once wrote, that it is not what a person knows that is true that gets him into trouble, but what a person "knows" that is false that gets him into trouble. Notice the quotes around "know". In other words, what a person thinks he knows, but doesn't know.
 
Diana Grace
 
Reply Thu 13 Nov, 2008 04:40 pm
@William,
I agree that to cure the illness is not the answer but to get to the cause and understand the cause so that it can be affected there, is the answer. Otherwise we are an effect trying to effect another effect with sometimes good outcome, sometimes not, but the problem usually remains.

I have an account on YouTube where I talk, mostly though I read, from books that talk about God and the nature of reality. Recently someone made a comment (a negative one) saying that what I said was discusting, and that thinking that one could know God was to him, pathetic. He suggested that rather I get involved in feeding the hungry and helping the needy.

I answered him with the story of the three saviors. There were three saviors and their was this huge prison where many many people were locked away without adequate food or blankets to keep them warm on cold nights. The first savior looked at the situation and said, "I will get food and get others involved in helping me to get food, which he did and much food was given to the prisoners and many of them benefited some from that savior's work.

The second savior saw that the prisoners were lacking blankets to keep them warm, and like the first savior, he went out and sought the help of others to help him provide blankets for these prisoners.

The third savior looked over the situation and thought, "These people are in a prison and can not get out so that they might secure the needed food and blankets. I will go and look for the key that will open their prison so that they be released and become free to go about taking care of their needs. So he did that. I feel like I am as the third savior but I don't decry what the first and second savior did. It is just that one would have to keep it up for too long and would tire of continualy gathering food and blankets, and not all would be benifited if not enough provisions were gathered. It would be like putting a bandaid on a gaping wound.

I like philosophy for I hope to come to a knowledge, or a knowingness, that will enable me to open the prison doors both for my own personal prison and the masses who are imprisoned. I know in truth, it is concepts that imprison people and that fear and anger cause people to be so often in prisons.

This I think shoud be a objective outcome, to release the prisoners, for philosophers everywhere.
 
William
 
Reply Thu 13 Nov, 2008 05:44 pm
@Diana Grace,
Diana Grace wrote:
I agree that to cure the illness is not the answer but to get to the cause and understand the cause so that it can be affected there, is the answer. Otherwise we are an effect trying to effect another effect with sometimes good outcome, sometimes not, but the problem usually remains.

I have an account on YouTube where I talk, mostly though I read, from books that talk about God and the nature of reality. Recently someone made a comment (a negative one) saying that what I said was discusting, and that thinking that one could know God was to him, pathetic. He suggested that rather I get involved in feeding the hungry and helping the needy.

I answered him with the story of the three saviors. There were three saviors and their was this huge prison where many many people were locked away without adequate food or blankets to keep them warm on cold nights. The first savior looked at the situation and said, "I will get food and get others involved in helping me to get food, which he did and much food was given to the prisoners and many of them benefited some from that savior's work.

The second savior saw that the prisoners were lacking blankets to keep them warm, and like the first savior, he went out and sought the help of others to help him provide blankets for these prisoners.

The third savior looked over the situation and thought, "These people are in a prison and can not get out so that they might secure the needed food and blankets. I will go and look for the key that will open their prison so that they be released and become free to go about taking care of their needs. So he did that. I feel like I am as the third savior but I don't decry what the first and second savior did. It is just that one would have to keep it up for too long and would tire of continualy gathering food and blankets, and not all would be benifited if not enough provisions were gathered. It would be like putting a bandaid on a gaping wound.

I like philosophy for I hope to come to a knowledge, or a knowingness, that will enable me to open the prison doors both for my own personal prison and the masses who are imprisoned. I know in truth, it is concepts that imprison people and that fear and anger cause people to be so often in prisons.

This I think shoud be a objective outcome, to release the prisoners, for philosophers everywhere.


Nice post Diana, but to carry it a little further upon allowing those prisoners to leave the prison we first must arm them with what they will need to secure their food and blankets using their skills and talents each and every one has. No one like's to be a "charity case". Knowledge is a wonderful thing IMO provided it is shared and used to help "educate" those of lesser knowledge. We use knowledge as a defense mechanism to take care of No#1. Granted that is a broad brush stroke and I am aware of the humanity that does exist, unfortunately is a mere token of what we could really do. It seems the more we know the more ignorant we become to this very fact as we are too busy patting ourselves on the back flaunting the knowledge we possess as we gloat weighted down by the gold we have amassed. God how we love to do that. Perhaps it is not ignorance, but an "intentional blindness" as we are force to put labels on those who are less fortunate and do not have the opportunity to offer what they can even if it is just the toil of their labor which we unabashedly throw them scraps for their sweat.

Knowledge, as we use it, is not the key; it is the problem. Here I go again. Sorry. Hopefully, one of these days we will get it right as we finally come to understand we are all on the same team. Sorry for the bit of a rant. I feel better now. Ha.
William
 
Diana Grace
 
Reply Fri 14 Nov, 2008 03:20 pm
@William,
Hello William
I think that knowledge is the key but I think you are seeing " knowledge in a different light than I do. If by knowledge one means the "how to" of obtaining food and blankets by the means most of the people of the world use, then I can see your point.

The prison doors that lock us in are our lack of understanding of the power of love and how with love we can have all that we need and can be protected from those who would harm us. The power of Love is as yet mostly untapped and I am talking of myself here as well. This is still pretty much in the theory stage with me as well but each day I am becoming more convinced that understanding the power of love is the only thing that will ever work.

From all I have read about those called "masters", I find that they never make judgments of people which they internalize within themselves. That being because what one judges, one hates and the master will not allow the energy of hate to fill themselves. They observe that people are in ignorance and that ignorance causes them to hurt themselves and others and they do all they can to educate those who are willing to learn, but few there are who have wanted to learn ( however these days, this is changing). So many people want a savior to do it for them, not to show them how to be their own savior.

Yet more and more these days I am hearing from many people who make videos, the words "We must be the change we want to see" . and "We are the saviors we have been waiting for". So things are getting better all the time. It might not look that way at this precise moment because we are in a transition stage and we are looking at an illusion that is only 'seeming'. I say only 'seeming' because of the illusion that all of life is. Everything is illusion and we are a part of it, fooled by it a lot, but needing to learn of how powerful we can be within this illusion. I don't think we are just our bodies, or just our personalities. I believe that we can be powerful beings who create with thought. That is why how we look at life, philosophically, is so important. We have to begin to know ourselves and the untapped potential that lie within us, and within all others as well.

Yes, we could take ourselves out there in the world of illusion and work on the problems with our brute strength, doing all we can to relieve suffering by working day and night to provide food and blankets. We could be like so many people who work long hours and come home to eat and sleep just to do it all again the next day, who have no time for the luxury of 'going within' and meditating and reading good books. But I wonder just how that would solve the most fundamental problem of all, a problem which is a lack of knowledge.

When we can become a 'Master' ourselves, the problems that we experience today will no longer be an obstacle to us. We will have another kind of task which the masters have. People want to have someone who will do it for them, they will even call us holy and put us up so high above themselves and worship us, if we become a master (only we won't want them to do that). I think those who have been Masters who have moved among the people of earth, have had to leave us because we want to worship them and think only they can do things, so we can absolve ourselves from having to take responsibility for our own selves. The 'vicarious atonement' Jesus is suppose to be, to do for us what we could not do for ourselves, has been a great part of the problem because it has encouraged people to see themselves as so needy and so dependent on another.

The lessons of how to become unconditional love and wisdom (which I think makes one a master) are something that it is becoming more and more necessary each day if we are to survive. And when I say 'unconditional love' it must also be stated that this does not imply becoming a doormat for others to step on. It must be coupled with the wisdom.

We look out there in the world and see all of the injustices, all of the bad things people do to one another and along comes these poison reactions that will inject themselves in us if we allow them to. For then after making judgments about what we see, we become angry, frustrated, preplexed, mad, fighting mad even, and now we are part of the problem, locked in the same prison we would want to free others from. With those feelings we can not come at a problem from a place of empowerment.

I believe that we are all ONE and that we have lived many lives. I think we have ourselves played all of the roles from victim to victimizer and everything in between in our many lifetimes. Through out all of our experiences we have had the need to learn from our experiences and to gain the wisdom that these experiences have been placed before us in order for us to learn. It has never been about things being right or wrong but about our learning from the contrast we experience in this dualistic world where the charateristics we want to perfect like patience, respect, graditude, courage, love, fortitude, and the unique abilities we learn with things such as math an science and so forth, can be learned only because of the whip of necessity.

Often we think that things look so bad sometimes for the future of the peoples of the earth and for the Earth itself, but we have to be able to rise above this kind of thinking and know who we are and that we can do something. We have to know that our thoughts as well as our actions are very important and instead of calling things like our physical eyes see them, we have to visualize what we want to see and call that forth. This is just my musings on what you commented on William.

I thank you for your comment. You gave me reason to do some interspection of myself and to try harder to live up to my own thinking.
 
Elmud
 
Reply Sat 21 Feb, 2009 06:44 pm
@FatalMuse,
FatalMuse wrote:
Sorry if this is a bit silly or obvious/obviously flawed.

I have been reading Descartes' Meditations on First Philosophy and came to this conclusion that I'm sure I was already aware of to some extent and has probably been dealt with numerous times before:

When I can establish I don't know something, my knowledge has increased. I now know of something that I don't know. But this seems completely contradictory. Can establishing that you do not know something increase your knowledge, or are you just becoming aware of your ignorance? Or is it only knowledge if you can use, like reduction in mathematics, the things you don't know to establish the things you do know?

The more I think about it, I don't know anything.
But at least I know that much.

When you come to know that you do not know, then you know.
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Sun 22 Feb, 2009 01:55 am
@Elmud,
Elmud wrote:
When you come to know that you do not know, then you know.


If that were true, you would know that you do not know, but nothing much else. Of course, it is not true since all of us know a great many things, so none of us know that we know only that we do not know. Socrates knew that he was an Athenian, that he lived in Greece, that there was an Agora, and that he had a student, Plato. So he could not literally have believed that he knew only that he did not know.
 
Elmud
 
Reply Sun 22 Feb, 2009 11:15 am
@kennethamy,
kennethamy wrote:
If that were true, you would know that you do not know, but nothing much else. Of course, it is not true since all of us know a great many things, so none of us know that we know only that we do not know. Socrates knew that he was an Athenian, that he lived in Greece, that there was an Agora, and that he had a student, Plato. So he could not literally have believed that he knew only that he did not know.

Ah, but maybe we just think we know? Kind of a play on words.
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Sun 22 Feb, 2009 01:23 pm
@Elmud,
Elmud wrote:
Ah, but maybe we just think we know? Kind of a play on words.

We do think we know. But we know too. What makes you believe we do not?
 
Zetetic11235
 
Reply Sun 22 Feb, 2009 02:09 pm
@kennethamy,
When you know you don't know, then there is some X whose name you know but about which there is something you don't know. You don't know what the property is until you have learned what the property is, but when you learn the property, you know that you know the property. E.g.
I know of oranges, but I don't know what an orange is, so I know that there is some property that is common to oranges that I am unaware of, however this cannot be made more specific without adding information, that is I can't say that I know that I don't know that an orange is a type of fruit; or can I?

If I know that there is a property that oranges have that I am unaware of, this property could be anything logically consistent with the known properties of the orange, so if I only knew the name and color, it could be anything, a race of orange ogres called oranges for example. So I could say about oranges that I know that I don't know whether they are ogres or not, and thus also that I don't know whether they are fruit or not; that they happen to be fruit is inconsequential. However, to say: " I know that I don't know that oranges are fruit" is in violation, you cannot know that you don't know a true property which you name, as the knowledge that you claim you lack you express and thus prove you know, so you have an embedded contradiction in what you are saying.

So you can be aware that you do not know, and thus you know that there is a property of some object that you are unaware of, but you cannot say in the present tense that you do not know that 'X has property Y is true', only in the past tense ' I didn't know that X has property Y' or speaking of another 'They don't know that X has property Y'.
 
Elmud
 
Reply Sun 22 Feb, 2009 02:51 pm
@kennethamy,
kennethamy wrote:
We do think we know. But we know too. What makes you believe we do not?

You are correct. It is a belief. And because it is a belief, it is something that we think we may know. If you can accept this, we are both right, and we are both wrong. Its all about perception. But, ya know, my mom had this saying that I like. She said "you'd argue with a fencepost". So, I'll have to stop here. But, it was fun to play with the notions. Elmud likes to play too.
 
 

 
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