The aim of this blog is to be the home of enquiries of a particular type, those that take something we think we know, some subject on which there may be a lot of information and many findings, studies, conclusions, questions that seems almost fully answered but still not quite complete, not quite satisfying, a little vague; that perhaps, by employing a different point of view, a different perspective, a new look, may yield different results. As Will Rogers is supposed to have said, (or Mark Twain or Groucho Marx, who knows for sure?) “It ain’t what you don’t know that hurts you, it’s what you know that jes’ain’t so.”
Our history is full of insights, unique new views of previously accepted ‘knowledge’, or ‘facts’, that after being examined in a new light, turn out to be so obvious that people say, “Why didn’t we see that before?” And as Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “How many centers have we fondly found, which proved soon to be circumferential points!”
As pointed out in the one completed study referenced in these pages, the picnic at the edge of the universe, new ways of looking have sometimes been suppressed, by rigid orthodoxies of thought, either religious or philosophical, or as a way to maintain power by enforced ignorance, or simply by intellectual inertia. Sometimes a particular view has been accepted and maintained by virtue of the beauty or intellectual elegance of its expression, as in Einstein’s theory of General Relativity, or simply by the belief that “it seems to answer most of the questions, we just haven’t yet found the answers to the rest of it.”
Of course we know that there are limits to knowledge, and we propose to look at and explore those here. But, hopefully, we can look at the places where we think we have reached the limit one more time, with new eyes, “out of the corners of our eyes”, perhaps, and maybe open a new path to truth?
For example, how is it that we can detect certain phenomena out in the great distances of the universe but are limited in our ability to truly understand them by that distance? Are we stuck in the wrong way of thinking about the universe, from its largest down to its smallest parts? “the picnic at the edge of the universe” is one attempt to change that.
How did humans develop the capacity to create, in our brains, complex theories of phenomena like the universe, when that concept building capability cannot be shown to have any benefit in our ability to reproduce, grow, thrive, survive, all of those things that the genetic mutations recurrent in our evolution prepared us for? The next book in, hopefully, the series of enquiries, will attempt to look at that. Its proposed title is: “A Place of Dreams and Delusions–the evolution of the contemplative mind“.
Is there a way that our knowledge of how the brain, (the mind?) works can be put to use in changing the world, reducing self-destructive behaviors like murder, war, power-seeking? This one should be called “Changing the World for Dummies“, but titles like those are already copyrighted by someone else, so another name will be necessary.
There are many more potential lines of enquiry, and we hope to get at them as we proceed. The goal is not to tear down or disprove existing knowledge, but is rather to examine the conclusions that knowledge has led us to and to retest those conclusions. So stay tuned and keep on listening–and commenting, and we’ll try to go there together.