What is your definition of knowledge?

  • #1
Manuel_Silvio
121
0
Dear Reader,

I've a list of questions and would be thankful if you give your set of answers and let us start a discussion on these answers. I will reveal my answers after having seen yours . New questions to be added to the list are also much appreciated.

01. What is your definition of knowledge? What do you think of it?
02. Does knowledge differ from science? Is it a more general term? Why and how?
03. Can knowledge be shared among human beings?
04. What are the means for sharing knowledge?
05. Are the means of sharing knowledge reliable?
06. Can knowledge be verified?
07. If yes, what are the criteria for verifying knowledge?
08. Are there different types of knowledge?
09. Should knowledge be sought for?
10. What does "seeking knowledge" mean?
11. Can knowledge be measured in comparative terms, eg A has more knowledge than B?
12. Can knowledge be measured in quantitative terms, eg A has X knowledge units more than B?
13. Can knowledge be divided into practical and theoretical knowledge?
14. If yes, what are the characteristics of practical knowledge?
15. Do questions like "how practical is this piece of knowledge" make sense for you?
16. Can knowledge be acquired? If yes, how?

PS: Shame on me! I changed "devised" to "divided"...
 
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Answers and Replies

  • #2
Iacchus32
2,313
1
knowledge is just data or information (compilation of facts). What you do with it on the other hand is another story.
 
  • #3
Mentat
3,918
3
Originally posted by Manuel_Silvio
Dear Reader,

I've a list of questions and would be thankful if you give your set of answers and let us start a discussion on these answers. I will reveal my answers after having seen yours . New questions to be added to the list are also much appreciated.

01. What is your definition of knowledge? What do you think of it?
02. Does knowledge differ from science? Is it a more general term? Why and how?
03. Can knowledge be shared among human beings?
04. What are the means for sharing knowledge?
05. Are the means of sharing knowledge reliable?
06. Can knowledge be verified?
07. If yes, what are the criteria for verifying knowledge?
08. Are there different types of knowledge?
09. Should knowledge be sought for?
10. What does "seeking knowledge" mean?
11. Can knowledge be measured in comparative terms, eg A has more knowledge than B?
12. Can knowledge be measured in quantitative terms, eg A has X knowledge units more than B?
13. Can knowledge be devised into practical and theoretical knowledge?
14. If yes, what are the characteristics of practical knowledge?
15. Do questions like "how practical is this piece of knowledge" make sense for you?
16. Can knowledge be acquired? If yes, how?

OK, let's do this:

1. Knowledge is a collection of facts (or, at least, what one believes to be facts). I don't understand the second part of this question.

2. Yes. Yes, it is a more general term. Science is the pursuit of knowledge (or, rather, the system by which we pursue knowledge), obviously the pursuit and that which is pursued are different things.

3. Yes.

4. Any form of communication is a means of sharing knowledge.

5. Not entirely, you cannot always get the point across, no matter which form of communication you use. However, they are reliable, just not perfect.

6. Yes.

7. I don't understand. Do you mean, "how is knowledge verified?"? If so, it is through experimentation (which is what science does).

8. Only in that there is the kind of knowledge that is only consistent of facts (whether this kind of knowledge really exists or not, is another matter), and the kind that is consistent of what the individual believes are fact - but are in fact no facts.

9. Yes.

10. It (basically) means trying to learn more facts.

11. Yes, but it is better to specify on what topic A has more knowledge then B.

12. Kind of, you could specify how many more facts, about a certain topic, A knew compared to B.

13. Theories are practical.

14. That it be useful, and verifiable by experimentation.

15. Yes.

16. Yes, through any/all of the steps of the scientific method.
 
  • #4
Kerrie
Staff Emeritus
Gold Member
841
15
knowledge is like food, some are lucky to be exposed to it, and those who are need to consume it wisely...
 
  • #5
Originally posted by Manuel_Silvio
01. What is your definition of knowledge? What do you think of it?
A collection of facts, that is accumelated and further understood.
without understanding, there isn't knowledge, in my opinion.

02. Does knowledge differ from science? Is it a more general term? Why and how?
No, science=knowledge. As I said before, knowledge is accumelated and the accumelated facts is what science is.

03. Can knowledge be shared among human beings?
YES! Learning should, and is, shared with other humans; hint: teachers.

04. What are the means for sharing knowledge?
Communication. i.e., writing, talking.

05. Are the means of sharing knowledge reliable?
yes and no. For example, before Linnaeus came up with binomial nomenclature, scientists had a hard time communicating, comparing notes.

06. Can knowledge be verified?
Verified? in what context?

07. If yes, what are the criteria for verifying knowledge?
?? no entiendo(a bit of Spanish there...)...I don't understand question 6
08. Are there different types of knowledge?
All knowledge is the same, but there are different branches of it, like physics is a branch of science.

09. Should knowledge be sought for?
Of course, for how will we ever improve our lives, and ourselves?
(that's rhetorical)
10. What does "seeking knowledge" mean?
Seeking knowledge is searching for an understanding of something.
11. Can knowledge be measured in comparative terms, eg A has more knowledge than B?
No. Someone will always know something the other doesn't. (even insignificant things)

12. Can knowledge be measured in quantitative terms, eg A has X knowledge units more than B?
no, for aforementined reasons.
13. Can knowledge be devised into practical and theoretical knowledge?
uhhh what Mentat said!:D
14. If yes, what are the characteristics of practical knowledge?
experimentally feasible, or logical.
15. Do questions like "how practical is this piece of knowledge" make sense for you?
no.
16. Can knowledge be acquired? If yes, how?
yes. you could read, try new things, and ask questions about everything.
 
  • #6
zimbo
50
0
01. What is your definition of knowledge? What do you think of it?

Knowledge is true belief. The quality of the justification you have for a particular piece of knowledge determines how good that piece of knowledge is. Knowledge of a particular piece of fact can be better or worse.

02. Does knowledge differ from science? Is it a more general term? Why and how?

Science is a particular way of trying to gain knowledge by using a commonly accepted method. (systematic) True belief gained from science will be better knowledge than a true belief gained from other means (eg lucky guesses or 'intuition') because of the stronger justification provided by science.

03. Can knowledge be shared among human beings?

Yes.

04. What are the means for sharing knowledge?

Sharing of information. Mainly using words to convey information and ideas.

05. Are the means of sharing knowledge reliable?

Not totally reliable. Just because you are speaking doesn't mean that others are listening/paying attention and that others actually understand. But since we don't have telepathy, communication using words is the best tool we have.

06. Can knowledge be verified?

yes . . . but I don't see the point. If you call something 'knowledge' you already think that it is true. So what's there to verify? Beliefs which are verified become knowledge.

07. If yes, what are the criteria for verifying knowledge?

Correspondance with the truth. (Truth means objective reality.)

08. Are there different types of knowledge?

Maybe. Some people say that 'knowing how to play a piano' is different knowledge from 'knowing that the Earth is round'.

09. Should knowledge be sought for?

Yes - because ignorance is the cause of much evil.

10. What does "seeking knowledge" mean?

Trying to find out what the world is like, and finding appropriate justifications for one's beliefs. Constantly putting one's assumptions to the test and finding them strenghened is one way to improve on one's knowledge.

11. Can knowledge be measured in comparative terms, eg A has more knowledge than B?

I think so - esp. when you limit the scope of knowledge. eg When it comes to mathematics, Einstein had more knowledge than I do . . .

12. Can knowledge be measured in quantitative terms, eg A has X knowledge units more than B?

Much more difficult. How should we define a knowledge unit anyway?

13. Can knowledge be devised into practical and theoretical knowledge?

The division between 'knowing how' and 'knowing that' isn't an absolute one. I tend to see 'knowing how' as a collection of 'knowing that' statements. eg knowing how to play a piano comprises of knowing what notes to play, where to put your hands etc.

14. If yes, what are the characteristics of practical knowledge?

'Practical knowledge' is just theoretical knowledge about how to apply other theoretical knowledge when it comes to actually doing something.

15. Do questions like "how practical is this piece of knowledge" make sense for you?

In a 'practical' way. :wink: To me that means whether the piece of knowledge allows us to do something to change the world - something which we couldn't have done without such knowledge.

16. Can knowledge be acquired? If yes, how?

Observation, listening to others, reading books etc. and thinking about the collected information.
 
  • #7
Manuel_Silvio
121
0
Hello everyone,

Thanks for posting! I'll wait a bit more and then start discussing (summoning the demons...); let's see if anyone else posts in.

1. For Iacchus32:
knowledge is just data or information (compilation of facts). What you do with it on the other hand is another story.
This is your answer to the first question, don't you mind answering others? Nevertheless, this single answer has too many potentially controversial keywords to be considered a definition: data and information are distinct concepts, facts have another story and compilation of facts is still another story.

2. For Mentat:

Special thanks for your specific answer :smile:. Regarding the second question on 01, I meant it to further explain the first question, seems like it didn't work. Ignore it, please.

About question 07: verification is a process of comparing the subject to certain well-defined criteria to report its status relative to those criteria. For example, verifying the statement "The moon is made of cheese" against the verifiability criterion reports its state as "verifiable"; verifying the same statement against the factual righteousness criterion reports its state as "nonfactual". For knowledge, you can (if you don't mind) define a criterion, X, and verify knowledge against that criterion reporting it as "Xy" or "nonXy" or "this much Xy". The question concentrates on your opinion of this action. Do you think knowledge can be compared to certain criteria, if any? If yes, what are these criteria?

You're using a set of keywords in your answers. Would you please specify those keywords and give their subject-to-consensus definitions?

3. For Kerrie:

Would her majesty, Queen Of Wonderland, please give me some details on the ingredients of this newly found preparation of food? Does it need royal taste to be enjoyed? Is it a secret of the dynasty or would its recipe, please, be revealed to this humble inhabitant of your realm?

Specificity is crucial to this discussion... (hope you aren't irritated with this)

4. For MajinVegeta:

Another special "thank you!" and please refer to Mentat's section in this post. Please note that A and B in questions 11 and 12 aren't necessarily individuals; they can be books, magazines, paintings, TV programs, movies, music, objects, methods of thought, etc.

5. For Zimbo:

How many special "thank you" thingies should release into the wild? :wink: You posted right before I post this and I had to edit the post...

Just like Mentat, you're using a wide set of keywords. Would you please specify and define them in subject-to-consensus terms?
 
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  • #8
Kerrie
Staff Emeritus
Gold Member
841
15
well, like any food, knowledge must be sought and prepared according to taste...an appreciative pallette will enjoy many different kinds of food (or knowledge):smile: ...

ingredients? that is up to you...
 
  • #9
Knowledge is information that you hold dear. or rather something that is worth anything.. imho.
 
  • #10
Les Sleeth
Gold Member
2,254
2
Knowledge is what is known, so the question becomes how does one achieve knowing.

I've said several times I believe one can only know something by personally experiencing it until one acquires certainty. This is the standard of science, for example, where one must observe that what one hypothesizes is true. Science obviously has demonstrated it can produce knowledge.

One can share knowledge with others, but that doesn't mean those shared with now possesses that knowledge, since to actually "know" they must experience for themselves what others claim they know (this is how knowledge is "verified"). Nonetheless, people who go to the trouble to know things, and then share that, can be very valuable in guiding others toward experiences that will produce knowledge.

In my opinion, knowledge should be sought incessantly. Further, I believe one is most powerful as a human being when living, acting, and speaking from what one knows. To become a "man of Knowledge" (to quote Castaneda's Don Juan) means assigning great importance to the human qualities of openness, courage, curiosity, and impartiality in order to facillitate learning.
 
  • #11
LW Sleeth wrote: "To become a "man of Knowledge" (to quote Castaneda's Don Juan) means assigning great importance to the human qualities of openness, courage, curiosity, and impartiality in order to facillitate learning."

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This is non-controversial. We might also include that being a person of knowledge also demands graciousness and generosity. One should not accuse those with a differing viewpoint of mental thuggery, ignorance and similar pointless insults.
 
  • #12
Manuel_Silvio
121
0
Hi everyone,

Here comes my set of answers. They aren't ordered the way questions are but contain whatever needed to answer them my way.

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Knowledge is the collection of whatever that is "known", thus it includes all the outcome of human observation following any method including but not limited to scientific method and even those observations that are claimed to be methodless.

This definition is essentially self-referenced, that means it contains a logical loop. The elements of this loop are knowledge and knowing. Knowledge is defined as a "collection of known things" while knowing is the state of possessing knowledge.

Loops are not allowed in logic while they can be proven to be inevitable. One of the two concepts, knowledge and knowing, should be chosen to be a basis for the other's definition although neither of the two has any superiority for holding that position. This means that the two ways of defining one of them using the other are equally creditable. Hence, the situation ends to a logical loop.

Individuals, societies and the whole species are responsible for the creation, maintenance, modification, analysis, synthesis, archival and destruction of knowledge.

Knowledge can be categorized in various manners. Regardless of the categorization rules, the outcomes are entities called "knowledge bodies". The sum of all knowledge bodies associated with a certain categorization is the whole knowledge, the complete set of all that is known to an individual or a society or the whole species.

Knowledge bodies may overlap or contain contrary packets of knowledge. This characteristic means that their sum may be unexpectedly different from all predictions made upon its subsets which are knowledge bodies and their possible superposition.

One possible categorization of knowledge is the common way that introduces Science as a distinct knowledge body. It is worth noting that this common categorization is noway the only possible categorization but for reasons unknown to me it has proven itself the most efficient one ever used in terms of longevity, prosperity and environment control for human beings.

Knowledge can also be viewed in a hierarchical tree of different abstraction levels; each level possibly introducing totally new concepts as a result of synergy, the fact that each level is not necessarily a superposition or union of the subsets of its preceding level. In this hierarchical manner of classification sensory information are perhaps of the lowest abstraction degree while their symbolic notation, the language, makes the next level of abstraction and so on.

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I suppose all measures taken to study knowledge in content and form (structure) are in vain or at least fruitless. All these studies are themselves knowledge packets that will become parts of the same knowledge they're devoted to study. Thus, they don't qualify for assessing the content or the form. Because of this supposition, I assume that verifiability, portability (eg sharing), nature, definition and limits of knowledge are subject to uncertainty, even the uncertainty itself.

The above description of my opinion of knowledge is also subject to such uncertainty and that's why there is a logical loop in the very first definition of knowledge. This logical loop and many similar loops have their roots in that that we have always taken for granted what we could never have been sure of.

More important, when knowledge - being the most important aspect of all discussions - is subject to such controversy, no other aspect is safe from these controversies. Therefore, no discussion can be carried out without encountering the same problem over and over but in different semblances.

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PS: There's a chance that I'll be unable to access PF for a few days. Please go on with the thread, if you like. The thread is not dead.

PS: Hail Nagual Carlos!
 
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  • #13
Mentat
3,918
3
Originally posted by Manuel_Silvio
Hello everyone,

Thanks for posting! I'll wait a bit more and then start discussing (summoning the demons...); let's see if anyone else posts in.

1. For Iacchus32:

This is your answer to the first question, don't you mind answering others? Nevertheless, this single answer has too many potentially controversial keywords to be considered a definition: data and information are distinct concepts, facts have another story and compilation of facts is still another story.

2. For Mentat:

Special thanks for your specific answer :smile:. Regarding the second question on 01, I meant it to further explain the first question, seems like it didn't work. Ignore it, please.

About question 07: verification is a process of comparing the subject to certain well-defined criteria to report its status relative to those criteria. For example, verifying the statement "The moon is made of cheese" against the verifiability criterion reports its state as "verifiable"; verifying the same statement against the factual righteousness criterion reports its state as "nonfactual". For knowledge, you can (if you don't mind) define a criterion, X, and verify knowledge against that criterion reporting it as "Xy" or "nonXy" or "this much Xy". The question concentrates on your opinion of this action. Do you think knowledge can be compared to certain criteria, if any? If yes, what are these criteria?

You're using a set of keywords in your answers. Would you please specify those keywords and give their subject-to-consensus definitions?

3. For Kerrie:

Would her majesty, Queen Of Wonderland, please give me some details on the ingredients of this newly found preparation of food? Does it need royal taste to be enjoyed? Is it a secret of the dynasty or would its recipe, please, be revealed to this humble inhabitant of your realm?

Specificity is crucial to this discussion... (hope you aren't irritated with this)

4. For MajinVegeta:

Another special "thank you!" and please refer to Mentat's section in this post. Please note that A and B in questions 11 and 12 aren't necessarily individuals; they can be books, magazines, paintings, TV programs, movies, music, objects, methods of thought, etc.

5. For Zimbo:

How many special "thank you" thingies should release into the wild? :wink: You posted right before I post this and I had to edit the post...

Just like Mentat, you're using a wide set of keywords. Would you please specify and define them in subject-to-consensus terms?

I'm using "keywords"? Please explain, so that I can respond.
 
  • #14
drag
Science Advisor
1,100
1
Greetings !

1. Stuff - data that we percieve
as input. Data stored in some form -
input that doesn't dissappear "without
a trace".
2. Indeed. Science is the classification
of data, the patterns according to which
we can divide knowledge to make it more
useful and its internal connections clearer.
3. Naturally.
4. Our senses.
5. Not certain what you mean. Reliability
is a thing of experience - further knowledge.
6. Are you talking about physical effects ?
In that case, I guess my answer is yes.
7. Other knowledge ?
8. Yes. Knowledge can be classified in many
different ways: type of senses providing the
input, emotions/physical effects and more...
9. Yes. Knowledge gives you an edge, an important
thing in modern competative society.
10. Sounds self-explanatory to me.
11. When you're dealing with particular "known"
knowledge, or when you are aware of the
"storage" size of the knowledge and the
patterns contained to it that can lead
to more knowledge.
12. In terms of 11 - it can be measured.
13. In a particular case/environment.
14. Data that is relevant to your present
situation.
15. In the above context.
16. We acquire knowledge through our senses
all the time and even more through analysys
of some of that knowledge. If you're talking
about specific knowledge then I suppose that
it is acquired through the special means
for acquiring it, be it various info sources,
real experiences and more.

"We don't know a millionth of one percent
about anything."
Thomas Alva Edison

Live long and prosper.
 
  • #15
Manuel_Silvio
121
0
Greets,

1. For everyone:

Shall we start discussing the answers now or shall we wait a bit more?

2. For Mentat:

Keywords are those words in your speech that are substantial to your argument of the case. For example, you wrote that "knowledge is a collection of facts (or, at least, what one believes to be facts)"; in order to understand your argument properly I have to know what "you" intend with "facts" and "believe to be facts". These are the keywords to understanding your piece of argument. I must be introduced to them to get a picture of your opinion. On the other hand, words like "collection" and "one" are subject to consensus in the course of this discussion.

3. For drag:

Thanks for posting. You, too, introduce a set of your own keywords with your own usage of them. Will you please explain them? (I'm especially interested in your usage of the term "data").

Regarding question 05, reliability is a characteristic of (tele)communication that is dependent on different aspects of that specific communication process such as the similarities and differences between the two sides of the communication channel, the error introduced by these two endpoints, the error introduced by mechanisms that enable them to communicate over a certain channel, the modification applied to the subject of communication in order to prepare it for being sent over the communication channel and the properties of the communication channel.

Question 06 attempts to find out whether or not (of course, in your opinion) knowledge can be the subject of comparative studies which certainly include criteria of comparison. Please refer to my description of this question for Mentat, 8 posts before this post.

Question 10 is not as easy as it seems. Seeking knowledge can refer to many different human procedures, eg one can think of it as exhaustive study of sensory information while another views it as minimizing the volume of this type of information in order to let one's mind observe the self in nearly absolute silence. Many other procedures have also been given this title, in fact all human actions can be associated with "seeking knowledge" but different individuals and/or groups prefer to choose certain actions to be entitled. This question focuses on those procedures that "you" consider "seeking knowledge".
 
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  • #16
Mentat
3,918
3
Well, Manuel, when I say "facts", I mean something that is observably and/or verifiably true. And when I say "believe to be facts", I mean that the person would believe this to be observably and/or verifiably true.
 
  • #17
Manuel_Silvio
121
0
Hallo,

1. For Mentat:

Right. There are still other keywords in your post, I meant "facts" and "believe to be facts" just as examples. It is up to you to choose what terms are the most significant to your speech and define them your way. I only need specifity in those terms to extract your points of emphasis. I, for one, consider the terms "knowledge body", "criterion", "categorization", "verifying", "abstraction level", "superposition", "synergy", "information" and "reliability" invaluable to my speech. Hence, I try to show you how I view them and then use them to describe what I find suitable.

Some other keywords I could distinguish in your post are: pursuit of knowledge, communication, experimentation, useful and scientific method. I think I understand some of them quite well but, for example, your usage of the phrase "pursuit of knowledge" is much different from mine.

2. For everyone:

Computer scientists say "goto" statement is dead. I don't think so, please go to page 1.
 
  • #18
zimbo
50
0


In response to Manuel - I am clarifying my 'kerwords' from my original post here.


1. Knowledge is true belief. The quality of the justification you have for a particular piece of knowledge determines how good that piece of knowledge is. Knowledge of a particular piece of fact can be better or worse.

True = corresponds with the way the world actually is. Truth/falsity applies to propositions/statements purporting to describe how the world is.

Belief = A mental state - self-certainty about the truth of something.

Justification = evidence or grounds for particular beliefs/statements.

Fact = a discreet piece of true proposition/statement



04. What are the means for sharing knowledge?

Sharing of information. Mainly using words to convey information and ideas.

Information = what's being expressed by anything that expresses something other than itself. A random set of numbers contains no information, but a different arrangement of the same numbers may express something about the world. Likewise, genes 'encode' the information needed to make proteins.

06. Can knowledge be verified?

yes . . . but I don't see the point. If you call something 'knowledge' you already think that it is true. So what's there to verify? Beliefs which are verified become knowledge.

I take 'verify' to mean 'confirm as true'. But since knowledge is, by definition, true, seems pointless to try to confirm the truth of something you already know is true.

07. If yes, what are the criteria for verifying knowledge?

Correspondance with the truth. (Truth means objective reality.)

Objective reality = (that's a tough one!) ok . . . if something is 'true', it's implied that it is 'objectively true'. (I don't believe in relative truths.) eg 'the Earth orbits around the sun' is true, even if everybody disagrees with it, or even if there's nobody around to think about it.

So objective reality = the way the world actually is, independent on what we perceive/observe/think it may be. Don't think it is possible to have direct access to objective reality (because information from the external world must pass through our consciousness and hence become subjective), but that doesn't stop us from getting close to the truth, depending on how reliable our senses/thoughts are.

14. If yes, what are the characteristics of practical knowledge?

'Practical knowledge' is just theoretical knowledge about how to apply other theoretical knowledge when it comes to actually doing something.

'Higher-order theoretical knowledge', if you like.

Any more keywords you like me to define?
 
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  • #19
Iacchus32
2,313
1
What do grubs know?

I think knowledge has its place, but I don't see it as the ultimate means to an end, as reflected from a previous post ...

Originally posted by Iacchus32:

What do grubs know, except perhaps intuitively, what it's like to be a butterfly?

Could it be this is a reflection of our own condition, where we too are earthbound and in need of a "grubstake," as we look around with ravenous appetites and devour everything in sight?

It all seems kind of narrow-minded dosen't it? But then what does a grub know? Not much beyond being a grub I suppose ... but, there will come a time ...

We go to the ends of the universe to discover the truth, with a slew of fancy instruments and calculations and "God" knows what else? (and only he can) but, when you get right down to it, what do we really know beyond what a grub knows, as we "grub" around in the dark?

But, there will come a time in the life of the grub when he says enough is enough, I've had it, leave me alone, I would just like to lay down for awhile.

You see I've stripped the "Tree of Knowledge" bare, and now that I'm full (of myself?), what's the point? Where's the silken thread (wisdom) to this big walking sack of knowledge? I need some time to reflect.

Ahh, what's that you say? Something's coming out my rear end? What? I have everything back to front? Could it be? Yes, there it is! ... the thread ... and, what does the thread say? 1 + 1 = 2. Wow! even a little child could understand that! ... and therein lies the answer.

Perhaps what we need is to take some time out from our "worldliness" and reflect on why 1 + 1 = 2? For if in fact you can see this for yourself, without someone else to say it was so, then why isn't it possible to acknowledge the existence of God? Once again, if you were to ask little children about this (if God existed), most would probably relpy, "Yes."

And from the "one mind" we fallen, to accept "the two," and hence the "knowledge of opposites." 1 + 1 = 2.
 
  • #20
Manuel_Silvio
121
0
Hi,

1. For everyone:

I repeat the same question. Shall we start discussing the answers?

2. For zimbo:

Thank you! Well-rounded definitions ... when it comes to discussion they'll be of much value.

You see, the post in which I wrote my answers is partitioned. The last part talks about my idea of studying knowledge itself; that I think this study is all in vain. Well, I have a sinister intention in asking everyone to define their keywords. Have you noticed that every definition introduces new keywords that aren't necessarily more informative than what they define?

3. For Iacchus32:

You've got a nice piece there. Up to the point you say "perhaps what we need is to take some time out from our worldliness and reflect on why ..." every word is in place, if I'm asked about it. You're in-an-uncertain-manner-absolutely right about what you've said.

Like I've told almost everyone I've met, Stanislaw Lem's "Solaris" is where everything is said; your arguments, too. On the surface, Lem studies the possibility on inter-species contact when there’s no similarity in evolutionary stages that the two species have passed. In depth, he studies the possibility of knowing the Universe. He draws the simple yet subtle question: "Can we know anything after all?"

We're confined to a human understanding of the Universe. We're wrapped in the Unknown that embraces us from outside and inside. Still we dream of knowing.

However, your conclusion that "And from the one mind we fallen, to accept the two ..." can't be directly known from its introduction. It is just "your" very own very personal conclusion. It is an arbitrary conclusion just like anyone else's conclusion just like my arbitrary conclusion.
 
  • #21
Iacchus32
2,313
1
However, your conclusion that "And from the one mind we fallen, to accept the two ..." can't be directly known from its introduction. It is just "your" very own very personal conclusion. It is an arbitrary conclusion just like anyone else's conclusion just like my arbitrary conclusion.

Actually what I'm referring to here is the fall from the Garden of Eden. And just as a drug addict becomes dependent upon the source of his addiction (or downfall), we've become dependent on the tree of knowledge. And, although we didn't eat of its fruit initially (like Adam and Eve did), we still depend upon its leaves for sustenance, "as grubs."

And yet there will come a time in the life of the grub when an amazing transformation takes place, and through this one silken thread (wisdom, as opposed to knowledge) he spins his little cocoon and prepares for a very long deep sleep (death). And yet he finally awakens, only to discover that he's a new creature, and that indeed, there is an afterlife! ... well at least for grubs anyway.

Yet who's to say it isn't any different with human beings? The Bible seems to suggest this is so.

But then again, What do grubs know?
 
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  • #22
Iacchus32
2,313
1
From the thread, Can you believe in both God and the Devil?

Originally posted by Iacchus32:

Evil is the misappropriation of God's power which, can only be brought about by one thing, "ignorance." And yet since God is all knowing, then evil cannot be not perceived as such. On the other hand when God created man, who in and of himself is nothing but ignorant, then that generates a void, which necessitates the need for an antithesis, "the Devil."
And from the "one mind" (God's) we have fallen, to accept "the two" (male versus female), and hence the "knowledge of opposites" (i.e., good and evil).

Whereas before the fall, 1/2 + 1/2 = 1 ... and afterwards, 1 + 1 = 2 (where we don't embrace the opposites as a whole, but rather as singular and "seperate").
 
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  • #23
Mentat
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As far as "pursuit of knowledge" goes, I used that to mean an effort to uncover facts (and I have defined what "facts" are, in my previous post). "Scientific method" is a series of steps (namely: observation, formulation of hypotheses, compilation of data, experimentation, graduation to "theory") by which scientists verify (which means to ascertain the actual truth of an idea/belief) observations/hypotheses.
 
  • #24
Mentat
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Alright, Manuel, let's start discussing answers.
 
  • #25
Manuel_Silvio
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Greets,

My thoughts concerning the given answers follow so...

All the given definitions of knowledge, except mine, rely on the keyword "fact". Everyone says it is a "collection of facts" or that it corresponds to "objective reality". May I ask why it is that way? What makes you believe that knowledge has anything to do with facts?

I think limiting knowledge to facts and/or the outcome of processing them is only ignoring a prominent part of knowledge. Facts, by Mentat's definition, are observable by everyone but there have always been an enormous number of individuals who claim experiencing something peculiar to them. What they experience is indeed part of human knowledge while it isn't observable by everyone or even repeatedly observable by someone. I personally have never had such experience but tend to be thoughtful of what constitutes a significant part of human history and not to ignore it.

Zimbo's definition of knowledge focuses on another term as well, "true" (and apparently "false"). What is true? What does truth mean? These questions have made a battlefield for centuries. If we take "truth" as a basis for defining knowledge, how would we then define "truth"? Zimbo likes to say that truth is "the way the world actually is" but then who can say how the world actually is?

Everyone here will, I guess, accepts that what we observe is just a representation of what "is", in the best case. Then where is the "objective reality" from which one has to find out "the way the world is." We know that every representation is dependent on the nature of its medium. Then, is the medium, the human mind in this case, capable of reflecting what it is ought to representing? What else can we do other than making guesses at its incapability? Are there any external signs, say reference points, to ensure us of the compatibility degree of this representation with what is "supposed to be" out there? I say, no!

Objective reality is acceptable as long as it is a daily practice for solving daily problems but when it comes to taking it serious, to thinking there is such thing as objective reality, one word suffices: absurd. No two individuals are similar enough to view the Universe from the same point of view; there are no absolute points of reference eligible for being called "the only reality." Note that this is not a result taken out of proprietary theoretical Physics; this is a result of humane observation of the human situation.

Keeping the common fact-based definition of knowledge in mind and trying to see if knowledge can be acquired, I concluded that knowledge can noway be acquired by this definition. Acquisition of fact-based knowledge requires gathering of facts. Gathering of facts requires distinguishing fact from other things one thinks one experiences. Is this possible? What makes facts distinct from "illusions", "dreams" and "errors"? I say, nothing! As long as there are no absolute reference points to which all measurements can be compared, nothing is more "real" than any other thing. All experiences are equally creditable. One must either throw away the fact-based definition or revise all the structure of human knowledge ... I'd rather change the definition.

From this point on, any other definition of knowledge can be tested to see if is worth a try. You judge my definition.

---------------------------------------------------------------------

PS: I reserved one right for me while writing this post, the right of questioning anything and everything, anyone and everyone. Is anyone against holding this right for me and others?
 
  • #26
Iacchus32
2,313
1
Aside from the fact that we're all human, we "almost" all have a universal point of reference, and that would be our parents. And, while I'm not sure I can say this is 100% absolute (or, if even we're 100% human anymore?), this was at least the intended design ...

Don't let anybody rob you of your inheritance, and beware of the changeling!

"And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil." (Genesis 3:4-5)
 
  • #27
Mentat
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I'm going to have to disagree with you, Manuel. First off, I did allow for "knowledge" to consist of that which one believes to be a fact, even if it is not actually so.

Secondly, look at your wording:

Originally Posted by Manuel_Silvio
No two individuals are similar enough to view the Universe from the same point of view

You see? You still refer to their being a universe, that humans form opinions about. Even if our opinions happen to vary (even drastically so) that doesn't mean we aren't all trying to describe the same universe ("universe" meaning "objective reality").

Have you ever heard the expression, "this defies the laws of physics!"? This is only in works of fiction, because, in actual experience, nothing violates the laws of physics. So, if "objective reality" (or that which is perceived to be so) is produced by our individual minds, then why aren't there individual "realities" (or "laws of physics")?

I think lifegazer may have pulled him to the Dark Side :wink: .
 
  • #29
Mentat
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As far as "truth" goes...

Manuel asked what "truth" was, and I'd like to try and answer that.

Webster:
the state of being the case : FACT (2) : the body of real things, events, and facts : ACTUALITY (3) often capitalized : a transcendent fundamental or spiritual reality b : a judgment, proposition, or idea that is true or accepted as true <truths of thermodynamics> c : the body of true statements and propositions

So you see, truth is the body of "real things". Webster (on "real", third definition):

existing as a physical entity and having properties that deviate from an ideal, law, or standard <a real gas> -- compare IDEAL 3b c : having objective independent existence

Does that help at all?
 
  • #30
Manuel_Silvio
121
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Greetz,

1. For Iacchus32:

You're going on with Biblical words and fatherly suggestions. That'd be wise if I was seeking relief but I'm just here to give birth to tension, pressure and opposition. Please also take a look at Mentat's section.

2. For Mentat:

I'm going to have to disagree with you, Manuel. First off, I did allow for "knowledge" to consist of that which one believes to be a fact, even if it is not actually so.

"What one believes to be facts" is an essentially paradoxical phrase. If one and only one believes them to be facts then they can't be facts by your own definition. Facts must emerge from objective reality so they must be experienced by everyone involved in objective reality. Consequently, they can't be peculiar to an individual. If there is an objective reality that is always imposed on every individual then no individual can ever dream of anything incomprehensible by others and belonging only to her/him.

I do use the term Universe and I do believe in a consensus on reality among all human beings but I do insist that this consensus is not different from or more influential than personal views. The belief in a consensus and the consensus itself are also part of the individual reality. I consider the common belief that "there is indeed something out there and it is indeed the way we all believe it to be" just as meaningful as "this defies the laws of Physics."

Physics has been made to correspond to sensory information; so, sensory information will never contain something that contradicts Physics. New sensory information is always complementary to Physics not contradictory. The same way, consensus on existence and qualia is built into individual realities.

I think lifegazer may have pulled him to the Dark Side:wink:.

I never got to read the famous Mentat-Lifegazer course of discussion but already was on the "Dark Side of The Moon" since I heard it.

Aside from this, I'm not really making an argument for individual realities. They were important to me about three years ago. Now my core concept is uncertainty. It is enough for me to make others feel confused after making them, to no use, define their keywords and then expose them to my ever-present uncertainty principle and show what sort of sword it is; a double-edged one!

You're giving dictionary definitions to me, they're good as long as they aren't taken serious.

I've these questions: "Do you think words can ever be defined so that an alien being can understand them? Do you think a non-human can ever be introduced to humanity? Do you think I'll ever be able to understand the words like you do?" (hey, I'm not the alien being!)
 
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  • #31
Iacchus32
2,313
1
1. For Iacchus32:

You're going on with Biblical words and fatherly suggestions. That'd be wise if I was seeking relief but I'm just here to give birth to tension, pressure and opposition. Please also take a look at Mentat's section.
Yes, but how do you "know" that?

I've these questions: "Do you think words can ever be defined so that an alien being can understand them? Do you think a non-human can ever be introduced to humanity? Do you think I'll ever be able to understand the words like you do?" (hey, I'm not the alien being!)
The aliens would have to be at least similar in intelligence, and would probably have to be introduced into "our culture" at a very young age, much in the way we as humans, are introduced into this "alien world" at birth.
 
  • #32
Mentat
3,918
3
Originally posted by Manuel_Silvio


2. For Mentat:



"What one believes to be facts" is an essentially paradoxical phrase. If one and only one believes them to be facts then they can't be facts by your own definition.

They can't be facts, but they are "knowledge" - that's all I was saying: Knowledge is either consistent of facts, beliefs, or both.

If there is an objective reality that is always imposed on every individual then no individual can ever dream of anything incomprehensible by others and belonging only to her/him.

That is only partially true. Sure, any dreams that a person has are produced by random firings of synapses, and those synapses were produced by objective reality. However, a persons dream does not have to mirror typical (or even possible) reality.

Physics has been made to correspond to sensory information; so, sensory information will never contain something that contradicts Physics. New sensory information is always complementary to Physics not contradictory.

Not true, have you ever studied Quantum Mechanics? This constantly challenges the sensory information that is perceived by a human.


I never got to read the famous Mentat-Lifegazer course of discussion

You missed out.

Aside from this, I'm not really making an argument for individual realities. They were important to me about three years ago. Now my core concept is uncertainty. It is enough for me to make others feel confused after making them, to no use, define their keywords and then expose them to my ever-present uncertainty principle and show what sort of sword it is; a double-edged one!

Not yet confused, keep trying :wink::smile:

You're giving dictionary definitions to me, they're good as long as they aren't taken serious.

Come again? A dictionary definition should be taken seriously (not regarded as definite and absolute truth, but taken seriously, nontheless).

I've these questions: "Do you think words can ever be defined so that an alien being can understand them?

All beings are alien to oneself, and the purpose of communication is to bridge the gap between what I "know" and what all of the "aliens" "know".

Do you think a non-human can ever be introduced to humanity? Do you think I'll ever be able to understand the words like you do?" (hey, I'm not the alien being!)

Off-topic, but hey, it's your topic :smile:. Define "introduced to humanity" (serious "key-word" usage). Were you directing the second question directly at me?
 
  • #33
Manuel_Silvio
121
0
Greetz,

1. For Iacchus32:

I'm not sure if you really are "going on with Biblical words and fatherly suggestions" but I felt that way. For you said "don't let anybody rob you of your inheritance, and beware of the changeling!" and that is surely a suggestion (or a commandment?). Suggesting me what to do doesn't suffice, you have to prove that I'm wrong and I'd better do it the way you suggest. You insist that we've fallen from one to duality and whatnot. That's OK; my uncertainty principle tells me that whatever given statement can be equally true or false or may even belong to another state that transcends true/false. One such statement is yours.

If I had to choose some statement I'd choose the one that best suited my taste because according to my uncertainty principle no statement can be definitely said to be true/false. This way no statement can be preferred over the other, yours included.

2. For Mentat:
They can't be facts, but they are "knowledge" - that's all I was saying: Knowledge is either consistent of facts, beliefs, or both.

That is only partially true. Sure, any dreams that a person has are produced by random firings of synapses, and those synapses were produced by objective reality. However, a persons dream does not have to mirror typical (or even possible) reality.
If you consider facts as the only input for a human being then beliefs would only be processed (and perhaps synthesized) facts. There lies my point; facts are only one form of input. There've always been many individuals claiming ESP; nowadays this is gone bad to some extents because it's become more of fashion than belief or experience. However, a shaman of a native Australian tribe noway did that for leisure; contacting strange beings from out of our sensing realms was a crucial part of their culture and may have really helped them survive in the course of their time. I myself have never had such experiences and don't have much trust in what others say but I also can't ignore a big part of human culture and knowledge into which this other form of input is firmly woven. I guess, other forms of input can also be thought of.

I think once I read a post from you that implied that you suppose a shaman's reasons for medical effects of honey on bruises to be wrong. "The effects are real, the reasons aren't" or something like that. If I'm right with this remembrance then that is what I exactly disagree with.

When I said "one can't dream of ..." I meant one can't even think of it, I had nothing to do with dreams. Anyway, dreams don't have to mirror objective reality but if it is the one and only reality then the only construction material available for dreams is that sort of reality. Hence, all dreams would be extremely-processed facts (to imply a hidden agreement, well, they are :smile: but you can't use this as a point of discussion).

By the way, who says a dream is "random" firing of neurons?
Not true, have you ever studied Quantum Mechanics? This constantly challenges the sensory information that is perceived by a human.
Honestly, no. I've never "studied" Quantum Mechanics but I will because I'm a freshman Physics undergraduate. QM, however, doesn't challenge the sensory information, what it challenges is the deterministic self-righteous subject-to-consensus interpretation of sensory information. Our one and only way of observing the Universe made of facts is our senses. We induce an electron beam then direct it through a narrow slot and let it hit a fluorescent shield to get "sensible" trails of what has happened; in this case, diffraction of electrons that had to be particles and not waves. Sensory information is the raw input, it doesn't pose for or against anything; thus, it can't be challenged. What can indeed be challenged is the Physicist's interpretation of sensory information which may or may not qualify in accordance to scientific criteria.
Come again? A dictionary definition should be taken seriously (not regarded as definite and absolute truth, but taken seriously, nontheless).
A dictionary definition of a word is at most what its development team think about majority's opinion of that word. This definition is not stuck to the word. Every individual has her/his own variant of the definition which can slightly or extremely differ from the dictionary definition. I asked "what is truth?" and you gave me a definition out of Webster. Webster, in this context, is no more creditable than a 6-year-old child. A group of individuals (intelligent and knowledgeable ones, of course) have come to an agreement about what the majority think of the word "truth". This agreement means nothing to me. Is that what truth is? Has Webster ultimately put and end to the never-ending debate about truth?

The Webster way of saying "truth" is indeed useful. You can use it at home, at work, at school, when you want to tease your teacher who's made a mistake, when you want to get rid of an inquisitive kid and when you need a ready definition in designing a truth-finder PC software. That's all good but here this isn't the case. When it comes to critical discussion of truth you can't offer ready-made definitions because in the court of fair judgement no statement is initially more creditable than any other one. We could start with every statement about truth and we should have got the same results (I think, confusion )
All beings are alien to oneself, and the purpose of communication is to bridge the gap between what I "know" and what all of the "aliens" "know".
We had two questions concerned with communication on the question list: If knowledge can be shared? If the mechanisms of sharing are reliable?

An attempt to communicate is what surely happens but whether or not this attempt is successful remains a question. Also it is important to know whether or not what the aliens learn from you is what you meant to teach them.
Off-topic, but hey, it's your topic . Define "introduced to humanity" (serious "key-word" usage). Were you directing the second question directly at me?
It wasn't off-topic even if this was your topic :wink: (it IS your topic for you're here).

Introducing to humanity means to teach the alien to see and think the human way (before that we must teach it to "see" and "think"). We, as human beings, are exposed to a certain range of the events in the Universe. Out of this range we choose certain parts to receive and process. Moreover, we re-shape this raw input in a certain manner. The range of input presented to us, our selective behavior against that range and our manner of re-shaping this input are the core points in our being human from the Universe's point of view. Suppose some alien being decides to make a human-detector, just like we make a magnetometer. An efficient design for this human-detector can be just like a magnetometer. It should measure the distortion that the subject of experiment introduces into its input. The distortion pattern can determine whether or not the subject is human.

Anyway, these questions aren't off-topic because they are focused on the possibility of contact and communication. This was meant from the dawn of the topic.

Finally, yes, I'm directing that second question directly at you. You understand the words your way; I understand them my way. Do you think the gap can ever be bridged?
 
  • #34
zimbo
50
0
Originally posted by Manuel_Silvio
Greets,
All the given definitions of knowledge, except mine, rely on the keyword "fact". Everyone says it is a "collection of facts" or that it corresponds to "objective reality". May I ask why it is that way? What makes you believe that knowledge has anything to do with facts?

For the reason that you don't really know something that's false. You may think you know, but you would just be wrong.


Zimbo's definition of knowledge focuses on another term as well, "true" (and apparently "false"). What is true? What does truth mean? These questions have made a battlefield for centuries. If we take "truth" as a basis for defining knowledge, how would we then define "truth"? Zimbo likes to say that truth is "the way the world actually is" but then who can say how the world actually is?

Indeed! Who can say how the world actually is? But when we say something about the world, we are either right or wrong. Nobody 'knows' how much we get right. According to my definition of knowledge, it's hard to 'know whether we know'. But of all the things we say about the world, surely some of them have to be right! So we do 'know' quite a few things, we just don't know what we know!

Manuel: you mentioned a few interesting points about how our capacity for knowledge may be limited. Firstly there's the worry of not being able to find 'objectivity'. In practice, we just do it via 'inter-subjectivity' - something that is observed by multiple people is probably a 'physical' phenomenon 'out-there' rather than an illusion or a dream. There still exists the possibility that we, because of being human, are always distorting our representation of the world through the ways we think/perceive. That we can't really do much about . . . But should that concern us - that we are constitutionally, systematically distorting the way the world is, in our representations of it? Only if you imagine the possibility of jumping out of the human point of view and finding inconsistency between the human view and the 'outside' view. But since that's not possible, we tend to ignore that and just try out best to focus on making sense (ie render internally consistent) of our (possibly) distorted input.

So perhaps in practical terms, the best kind of knowledge we can have involves correspondence with everything else we think we know about the world, which hopefully translates into the way the world actually is. As I said earlier, we can have better or worse knowledge. This knowledge may not be as good as the knowledge possessed by, say, an omniscient being. But as long as it's 'actually' true then it's knowledge.

PS: I reserved one right for me while writing this post, the right of questioning anything and everything, anyone and everyone. Is anyone against holding this right for me and others?

I'm perfectly happy about that!
 
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  • #35
Manuel_Silvio
121
0
Hi,

1. For zimbo:
For the reason that you don't really know something that's false. You may think you know, but you would just be wrong.
Halfway right. What I know should be true because what is true is called knowledge but this is again a logical loop of the sort I used in my own definition. Self-referenced definitions are basically forbidden but as I wrote on my other post are inevitable. That's part of what I want to show by asking others to "define" knowledge. Verbal definitions are the easiest way to show loops are inevitable. When one tries to define a word, she/he encounters other words that need definition. There are two solutions to this situation. First, one can assume there is a set of (yet unknown) words that are used as primitives in building all definitions; second, one may accept that loops are inevitable and that the language contains many self-referenced word definitions.

The former solution requires its user to determine the set of primitive words and prove their being primitive; that is a cumbersome task and has failed many times yet the solution isn't empty of merit.

The latter brings up another question: how have these loops taken shape and built up an individual's vocabulary without the individual initially knowing anything of the language? This question can be answered in the light of structuralism. The language can be seen as a self-contained structure with no connection to outside even though it is used to describe the outside Universe. The language needn't be responsible for what happens outside, instead it re-shapes every event to fit into its own context and capabilities. I think that's why individuals grown in and exposed to different languages have always problems in conveying certain parts of their experiences. I will perhaps never get much of English wit; an English speaking person may as well never understand the signs of eloquence in my native language.

I tend to use the second choice as a matter of taste.
Indeed! Who can say how the world actually is? ...
Really well said! I suppose you're talking of what I call general uncertainty principle which implies that we can't be sure of nothing. The problem again is that general uncertainty principle applies to itself as well. Uncertainty has the lethal effect of never letting its bearer rest assured. How do you make your daily choices when uncertainty rules the Universe?

You see, all we can say is "probably", "perhaps" and "maybe". Is that enough? It seems to be for we've lengthened our lives to more than three times their length of 2000 years ago (average of 18 to an average of 60)using these hopes and fears. This, however, for always deprives us of a moment of rest.

By the way, you're so clever...

Have you listened to Carl Orff's Carmina Burana? It has everything said.

1. Fortuna Imperatrix Mundi (Fortune, Empress of the World)

O Fortuna (Chorus)------------------O Fortune
O Fortuna---------------------------O Fortune,
velut luna--------------------------like the moon
statu variabilis,-------------------you are changeable,
semper crescis----------------------ever waxing
aut decrescis;----------------------and waning;
vita detestabilis-------------------hateful life
nunc obdurat------------------------first oppresses
et tunc curat-----------------------and then soothes
ludo mentis aciem,------------------as fancy takes it;
egestatem,--------------------------poverty
potestatem--------------------------and power
dissolvit ut glaciem.---------------it melts them like ice.

Sors immanis------------------------Fate - monstrous
et inanis,--------------------------and empty,
rota tu volubilis,------------------you whirling wheel,
status malus,-----------------------you are malevolent,
vana salus--------------------------well-being is vain
semper dissolubilis,----------------and always fades to nothing,
obumbrata---------------------------shadowed
et velata---------------------------and veiled
michi quoque niteris;---------------you plague me too;
nunc per ludum----------------------now through the game
dorsum nudum------------------------I bring my bare back
fero tui sceleris.------------------to your villainy.

Sors salutis------------------------Fate is against me
et virtutis-------------------------in health
michi nunc contraria,---------------and virtue,
est affectus------------------------driven on
et defectus-------------------------and weighted down,
semper in angaria.------------------always enslaved.
Hac in hora-------------------------So at this hour
sine mora---------------------------without delay
corde pulsum tangite;---------------pluck the vibrating strings;
quod per sortem---------------------since Fate
sternit fortem,---------------------strikes down the string man,
mecum omnes plangite!---------------everyone weep with me!

2. For Mentat:

Hey, I read you're 14. Wow! You're much too good for that age; actually I thought you're at least 30. I'm 19 and still lack your intelligence and sharpness. I'm dying of jealousy. Be proud of yourself!

And please take a look at my previous post.
 
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