“Belief is the death of intelligence.”
– Robert Anton Wilson
“True knowledge exists in knowing that you know nothing.”
“Of all that I hold probable, only this I know:
My wisdom only takes me where my folly wants to go.”
– Ray Saunders
We do not function based on what we know. We function based on probabilities. I act as if the odds of floating in mid-air should I step off a cliff are so slim as to be effectively non-existent. It’s not impossible, but it’s highly unlikely, so I don’t step off cliffs. But while we function as if we knew, we must always remind ourselves of the imperfection and incompleteness of our understanding of the world. We must remain open to the previously unknown and unthinkable. The only real advantage of ‘altered states of consciousness’ – from drugs or meditation or other triggers – is to develop a more open consciousness, a term which itself is decidedly fuzzy.
While science is making new discoveries about the brain (only recently finding out that the immune system extends to the brain), the understanding of mind is about where it was several thousand years ago. It is the true Final Frontier and likely to remain so, as it is continuously evolving. That said, I have decided to pay more attention to the world and document my observations thereon.
I understand that thinking, consciousness, dreaming, etc. cannot be controlled, but they can be guided. While skiing, skating, mountain-climbing or dancing, the body is not strictly controlled, but is ‘nudged’ a bit this way or that at appropriate times and we end up getting where we need to be. Observed, we call the physical actions ‘graceful’, but would be hard-pressed to say exactly what that quality consists of, though we know it when we see it. I will henceforth attempt to advance my life according to such vague principles (among others) as Grace, with the full awareness both of the ‘unscientific’ nature of that approach and the awareness that Science doesn’t – and never will – have all the answers. Perhaps my observations will be expressed in poetry, the most appropriate vehicle for Unscientific Grace.
I like this from Tennessee Williams;
We are all children in a vast kindergarden trying to spell God’s name
with the wrong alphabet blocks.
— Tennessee Williams, “Suddenly Last Summer”
But, I think he got it from;
The world is not a prison-house but a kind of spiritual kindergarten where millions of bewildered infants are trying to spell God with the wrong blocks.
— Edwin Arlington Robinson…
You have been posting some interesting stuff, of late especially. I’m of the opinion that life without wisdom has no value; at 70 (behind you a bit), it may be just on the horizon…
I, like many since the ‘Enlightenment’, have concentrated on acquiring knowledge. While that has its uses – a friend once described the intellect as useful for reading restaurant menus – knowledge is not wisdom. I don’t believe in any overarching, Grand Truth, and if such exists we’re certainly not up to grasping it or using it in any meaningful fashion.
To me, wisdom consists of the few nuggets we dig out of experience that vaguely pass some level of intellectual rigor, but – more importantly – are recognized by something in us as carrying at least a bit of (capital T) Truth. Just what that ‘something in us’ might be is still open to speculation.