Poetry Chaikhana | Sacred Poetry from Around the World
Ten men after fording a river feared that one of their number had drowned. Each man counted the other nine while forgetting to count himself. Therefore they all agreed that there were only nine of them and so they grieved for their "lost" friend. Maharshi Ramana's point was slightly different from my own.
We can never know enough to say we know something. Because we can never know enough to know how vital that missing informations might have been had we known it, we can really never make an accurate affirmative statement about anything. Socrates was thought wise because he said that he knew only that he knew nothing.
I almost got into a pointless, and perhaps bitter, argument on line the other day because i and another person "knew" different things about something important to each of us. I knew from sad experience that it was unlikely that we would "complete" each other by sharing knowledge, but would almost certainly "compete with" each other in asserting the "truthiness" of our own point of view.
American Indians say that people have animal spirits that guide us through life. The different animals give us different perspectives. The "eagle" soaring aloft has a "bird' eye" view of everything, a panoramic view that that takes in much. The "mouse", close to the ground, percieves what is immediate in great detail. They could learn from each other; but will they share their different knowledges before the eagle kills the mouse or the mouse hides in fear of the eagle?
The mystical truth, that we can never know what we really want to know, so we must learn faith or the acceptance of grace, corresponds to the scientific truth that we can only prove the null hypothesis. So the scientist can only recognize truth as tentative and the mystic can recognize it only as love.
Some of my friends who are social scientists with a "knowledge" of biology are willing to make gross assertions about the importance of biological and evolutionary factors in human social behavior, Biologists that i know who have "knowledge" of the social sciences, do not, to my "knowledge" make such assertions. From this i conclude that biology brings with it a better sense of the possibilities and limitations of science than the social sciences do. And physics may once again reign as "queen" of the sciences.
Unintended consequesnces, hidden costs, side effects. limited and poor samples, and the inherent complexity of damnned near everything, should give anyone pause before he or she can claim to "know" anything.
So, if ignorance is unacceptable and knowledge is unattainable, what should i do? Find an alternative to knowledge? Don't be Ignorant, be ______. loving? humble? quiet? uncertain? merciful. Treat knowledge respectfully, but no so seriously. If we disagree, we could both be right, or wrong. or partly right, or wrong about right and wrong.