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Incomplete knowledge

  1. Sep 20, 2003 #1
    ..is what humans are built for. I seriously don't think that we can know everything, or frankly should even bother to try. The beauty of thought, from birds all the way to Einstein, is the way we can approximate answers that aren't absolutely perfect, but that are good 'working models'. It is the way brains are wired, after all, and is probably the reason that AI doesn't work.

    In other words, I suggest that the search for ultimate truth flies in the face of what we are capable of, at least this early in evolution.
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 20, 2003 #2


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    interesting point, however your theory would suggest that there was almost a "conscious" effort in making the human mind this way, therefore supporting the concept of a higher being defining the human mind in this way...
  4. Sep 20, 2003 #3
    Just linguistic shorthand, babe...the only designers are physics, chenistry, and time...and I don't think we can have afinal answer on those ideas, either.
  5. Sep 20, 2003 #4

    Another God

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    Umm.... i thought i had something to say, but turns out I would probably only be repeating what u said Zero.

    I agree.
  6. Sep 20, 2003 #5
    Except that when we ground ourselves in "practical knowledge" -- which includes our abilitiy to say "we don't know" -- then we discover the ground of our "true being" which, becomes an "ultimate truth." Which I think is what Kerrie was alluding to. :smile:
  7. Sep 20, 2003 #6
    I don't buy it...ultimate truth seems impossible, although you could have 'good enough for you truth' which may appear to be 'ultimate' to you.
  8. Sep 20, 2003 #7
    Except you would probably agree, that if science ever discovered God exists, it would probably also discover He were "practical." Of course we may not always be able to construe what practical means? but, practical nonetheless.
  9. Sep 20, 2003 #8

    Another God

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    I don't think it is always necessary to construe what things like practical mean....we all intuitively know what is practical and what isn't.
  10. Sep 20, 2003 #9
    Well all I'm saying, is that just because we don't understand something, doesn't mean there's nothing practical involved. In fact that's the only way you can put it to good use, is by finding its practical application. Otherwise what purpose does it serve?

    Whereas I think if we understood God had a methodology -- i.e., how it works -- then we would also understand its practical side.
  11. Sep 21, 2003 #10
    The trouble with sayings of the sort "we can't know everything, or frankly should even bother to try" is that they express an idea that proposes universal validity while simultaneously denying the mere possibility of such universal insight. Hence they are self-defeating.

    It is true that no language can contain absolutely everything. But this does not mean that universality and completness of grasp are mere chimeras and ought thus be dismissed. The problem is the same as with ideals such as truth, harmony, integrity, authenticity, etc., which have an important role as regulative principles (as Kant would say).

    The interesting thing is that such ideas / ideals can indeed be understood, while simultaneously they do elude all attempts of catching them in any linguistic formula.
  12. Sep 22, 2003 #11
    The point I am trying to make is that by trying to force the creation of a 'complete' answer, we may in fact overlook a more easily attainable 'practical' answer. I think far too many 'holistic' answers(to riff on your thread for a moment) assume far too much to be useful!
  13. Sep 22, 2003 #12
    And yet that which is practical or neutral, is of "the whole" which exists between the two extremes. For example by mixing something which is highly alkaline (hence masculine), with something which is highly acidic (hence feminine), both of which are highly corrosive and exist at opposite ends of the PH spectrum, you get something as neutral as water, hence that which is an essential "medium" for life to exist on this planet.
  14. Sep 22, 2003 #13
    What is useful and what is not is, therefore, dependent on the objective and on the overview one manages to have. Take for example the usefulness of cutting down all the forests in Europe, because of pragmatically needing the wood -- and then centuries later having to fight draught. So what is usefulness, really? Today everybody wants to extract energy from wherever one can -- and you don't know whether tomorrow people will lament the created disequilibria, like now they lament the ozone hole. Tempora mutantur, nos et mutamur in illis (latin proverb: times change, and we change with them). Seeking completeness can be helpful for more overview than the average develops. There are methods for that....
  15. Sep 22, 2003 #14
    I think Zero makes a really good point, though I have one thing to add: Often, in history, it has been the quest for "Ultimate Truths" that has led to the discovery of practical truths. Thus, while I think the end-result should be practical truths, I think some people should still concern themselves with Ultimate Truths, since their failures often bring very useful side-effects .
  16. Sep 23, 2003 #15
    we all find out the ultimate truth. after we die and no longer think of things like truth. nothing is more ultimate then something aint it?
  17. Sep 23, 2003 #16
    Seeking ultimate truth is one thing...blinding ourselves to the smaller useful answers in the search is another thing entirely.
  18. Sep 23, 2003 #17
    Thanos or thanatos, this is here the question. You are maybe closer than others to an interesting insight, but still far away from it too. Indeed the fundamental characteristic of matter -- underlying what today's physics can find out -- has a lot to do with the state of death. But the way you talk about it reveals that you have not reached that level. By the way, this insight can only be found as long as one is incarnated, because only in this situation does one have the power to direct one's thought. Afterwards it is too late. So the 'hope' you express is, in fact, a mere myth.
  19. Sep 23, 2003 #18
    Sure, Zero. But one should not mix up strategy and tactics. Too many people are into that -- and look at how they make a shambles out of the world.
  20. Sep 23, 2003 #19
    Isn't what?
  21. Sep 23, 2003 #20
    I can't believe it's not butter.

    Well it's THANOS the mad titan from marvel comics. And THANOS means death.
    Look i love death so i won't be blind to what it should mean. When we die sure maybe our minds will wonder off as our body begins to lose all functions. But we will turn into dust and into soil and the rest will evaporate. Now by then I am pretty damn sure our minds can no longer function if they no longer exist (perhaps thats why Egypt leaders mummified themselves heh). If you seek ultimate truth then you seek a needle in and needle less haystack. Although it is still possible that you may someday find one for nothing is impossible excluding impossibility itself of course. I have my own truths but they are far from ultimate because an ultimate truth requires an agreement with all beings. Otherwise one disagreement will render the ultimate into almost ultimate. My truth is simple.
    What is truth enough for me is that we humans are a part of this system of live and die. But this system is no different then our surroundings like earth and space. Someday even earth will no longer exist. We confuse ourselves about meanings and truths about everything when the truth is that the only truth that matters is the beginning and the end. What happens between life and death doesn't matter. Sure we may want more to life then just a simple philosophy of live and die but there's no reason to seek meaning or truth in life but if it completes you then by all means search.

    Now a mere myth would be more like spirits or angels telling me about the truth. It's a fact that our body decompose and rot away meaning nothing should be all that is left. And again "nothing is more ultimate then something" maybe because nobody can disagree about nothing then maybe making nothing ultimate.
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2003
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