"Winston was beginning to wonder if the state could declare if 2 + 2 = 5"
In the time we are living in it is getting harder and harder to know anything anymore. In some ways it feels like there are two separate worlds people occupy. In each world there is that which is true, but it is not the complete truth. Parsing these half truths and figuring out what is real is becoming a full time job.
And yet, I press on. For me getting to the bottom of things and understanding the whole truth is not just important, but it actually lends cohesiveness and continuity to life. It ends the cognitive dissonance.
But how do we know what we know? How can I be sure that what I know in my bones is not merely an artifact of what I want to see?
I can look at my hand and drawing on my senses and my direct experience of "handedness" I can definitively say "this is a hand" THIS IS MY HAND! Now it is possible that I am having a hallucination and through some fluke of biology my "knowing" is only a collection of neurons firing in my visual cortex such that I see "hand" and think I know "hand" but all things being equal this is mostly how we know what we know.
Our direct experience is something we have come to know and trust.
There is also a priori knowledge which is based on logic and reason (such as a mathematical equation) in which the knowing is the proof itself. 2 + 2 = 4.
And finally we come to consensus reality where the group decides what is real. For a long time many millions believed the world was flat (that ones making a comeback) and there were dragons at the end of the world. We can find many examples of this in today's politics. (I hear the words fake and hoax frequently these days)
I find no particular comfort in the a priori and consensus "realities." I might think differently if I were a mathematician or a physicist, but let's face it Schrodinger's cat was both dead and alive and Eisenberg's electrons can be anywhere at anytime.
So were does that leave us in terms of how we operate in life? In terms of ethics, truth, and actions?
I have no answers, but I do have some queries that might point to a direction:
This blog was set up to post content of interest to Old Chatham Quaker members and attenders. Posts related to one's own personal spiritual journey, reports based on interviews with others, and reflections on Quaker-related topics are welcome. Posts by individuals are personal expressions and do not necessarily reflect those of the Meeting as a whole.
Guidelines for posting on website blog:
Submit to member of Communications committee; committee has editorial oversight over all content posted on the Meeting website.
Be respectful of the nature of vocal ministry given in Meeting for Worship or other settings and any private conversations about spiritual matters.
Cite source of any image or other external content submitted.