Phase II of this public project will synthesize my articles from Phase I into a clearer, easier-to-understand product.
Today, I want to discuss knowledge as a component of reality. Philosophy is basically about the relationship between knowledge and freedom. I will write about freedom next week.
We are seeking beings who are interested in understanding our world, as I previously mentioned. To survive and live well, we seek knowledge in order to acquire some level of control. The purpose of RealitySeeker is to describe the benefits and disadvantages of seeking based on this fundamental condition.
Two weeks ago, I stated three foundational principles of this philosophy.
Human perception is always a limited representation of reality.
Attempts to represent reality are imperfect and therefore provisional.
Knowing how to wield knowledge well requires humility.
By this definition, perception is any human attempt to gain knowledge of their environment, ranging from personal perception to scientific beliefs. Depending on how we gain these beliefs, we can become increasingly confident in them, but ALL beliefs are imperfect and should be open to revision.
The real purpose of this first article is to clarify what that means for us in our everyday lives. Every time we encounter something, we tend to think that it is exactly what we perceive it to be. For example, what do you see when I show you this picture?
Excluding the table, the plate, the bowl and the partial view of a green napkin, you will most likely answer, “three apples.” Seems simple enough. What purpose would there be in doubting that perception?
Life is not as easy as simple perception makes it seem. It's complex, multi-faceted, and it comes at you quickly. Please view the video at the top to demonstrate this concept. Be honest about what you perceive and follow the instructions.
The cognitive abilities we possess allow us a limited bandwidth. When we are focused on a task, we tend to ignore other details in our surroundings in favor of the details of that task. We become comfortable believing that our perception is the truth when that is almost certainly not the case. As I will explain next week, truth is more like freedom.
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