Wednesday, 4 July 2007

knowledge vs. Common Sense

We do have specific knowledge about certain aspects of the universe, that seem to fall down when we apply common sense. For example, a common sense observation that the Earth is flat, was believed to be a fact of reality for many centuries, but was found to be false. What often appears to be common sense, when knowledge is applied, ends up being 'nonsense'.

Aristotle made the logical statement that "A is A". Common sense identifications through the process of logic tells us that "A is A" - and can be nothing but A.

The problem is that the universe is a complex place, and "A is A" logical arguments; often breakdown when common sense is applied on its own.

Thus, a man who has no knowledge that the Earth is round and looks across a plain of land, applying Aristotle's... "A is A" logic, would likely conclude, that the Earth is flat.

We often need more than just the common sense assumptions that are arrived at, based on direct observation alone. Common sense needs to fit a wider context of potential possibilities. And those wider possibilities can sometimes only be observed indirectly and not directly through our senses.

As an example, if we drop a spoon in a glass of water, our direct observations seem to tell us that the spoon bends. But when we understand the physical process from our wider indirect observations, about physical laws within nature, we realize that the spoon appears to bend, because light travels through water at a slower rate than air and the light photons reflected from the spoon, reach our retina, at a different rate from the part of the spoon in the water as against the part outside of the water and thus, we end up with the illusion of a bent spoon. We have still applied common sense to arrive at this conclusion, but with a wider perspective of known physical elements within the universe. That is, we have previously come to common sense conclusions about how light behaves when it travels through water, compared to when it travels through air.

Lower life forms such as amoebas are only capable of experiencing sensation, higher life forms such as cats are able to experience both sensation and perception... but as far as we know, only man can conceptualize his sensations and perceptions through the process of language.

In the book "The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind" by Julian Jaynes... Jaynes makes the identification, that because of the ability of human beings to conceptualize their sensations and perceptions, we can thus create a 'universe' of analog and metaphorical models in our heads. In doing so, we create models of the real World. We basically map the World within our heads (because the universe is so complex, it has taken a long history of scientific identifications, to arrive at a map of the World, that is anything like the real World).

Of course the model in our head, does not reflect the real World as a perfect personification of the external environment, to the degree that we understand it. The analog and metaphors act as shorthand, identifications or codes.

The ability to conceptualize our sensations and perceptions, is the ability to understand our environment, way beyond the process of mere sensational and perceptual moments in time.

We are able to construct our sensations and perceptions and build them into maps of understanding, that reflect the external universe. This is something far beyond common sense; in the moment perceptual observation.

But of course knowledge itself, is often lacking in any common sense whatsoever. There are many writers who could be called hucksters and hoaxers and there is much junk science filling the shelves of bookstores, such as: astrology, homeopathy, aromatherapy, dream analysis etc, indeed the list is almost endless.

The ability to conceptualize our sensations and perceptions of the real World through the process of language, comes at a price. That price is mysticism. Only a conceptually aware being, is capable of creating subjective delusions in the form of mysticism. The reason this is so is because we are not only capable of creating metaphors and analog models that reflect the real World... We are also capable of creating mind-spun metaphors and analog models that are built on delusion, such as religion for example.

A dog or a cat or a whale, is not capable of being a mystic who sufferers from delusions, because these creatures can not conceptualize false models of reality. They can only react to their environment through the experience of sensation and perception.

To understand our universe then, requires more than knowledge and more than common sense. It requires a combination of common sense and knowledge and that common sense and knowledge must be arrived at; through the scientific process of inductive and deductive reasoning. Any other form of knowledge once taken to be true, is most likely held as a delusion.

There is nothing wrong with enjoyment of fiction, what is destructive to the mind, is holding on to a fictitious believe and not being aware of it being so.

How I make money from this article and how you can make money too. Please Click here to email me! Please do not remove 'permission' from body of email.

* Spyware IT
o Instantly protect your PC from malicious spyware, adware and malware invasions!

No comments: