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2. What Do We Know?


And How Do We Know It

What do we know and how do we know it?

For millions of years what we think of as knowledge has come from what I would call a spiritual source. At first everthing had a spirit and then these became multiple gods with more power.

Then there were fewer and fewer gods each with more power.

Then there were supreme beings, gods with ostensibly infinite power, but there were many of these gods and each god was subject to many interpretations.

Karen Armstrong in her book The Bible gives a clear view of the multiple metamorphosis that the process of writing the scriptures gave until any sense of an “original” text or meaning was utterly meaningless, but at some point an agreement was reached and the words became “scripture” except scripture was open to interpretation and then fragmentation, choosing to base one’s “denominaation” more on one part than on another so that one could worship poverty or wealth and scripture could be magnificant, life-giving, or dangerous. One could pray and get one answer or another, or as I suspect, the answer one wanted.

Danger came in many forms but the worst was war, where a “peace loving“ religion felt it necessary to eliminate non-believers. Yet these same religions inspired caring, love, incredible art. But, no matter, the underlying truth was trampled and ignored as it was discovered by the minds supposedly created by god.

Science brought illumination if one’s mind was open and coculd heara new truth, new insight that seemed not to need god. And so as humanity moved from tribes that hunted and gathered to a new kind of civilization based on a few people growing the food that feed rapidly growing masses of people that established a new kind of tribalism: cities, states, nations, empires that always found a reason to war, grusome, cruel useless war that has continued to this day, whatever day that happens to be.

When I say that something is a miracle, such as the human mind, I meen that despite the incredible depts of understand that science has brought there are still fundamental capacities: intelligence, consciusness, sentience that are beyond explanation while at the same time discoveries of the nature of nature, the physical processes that go on inside the human body are infinitely complexx, amazing and tracable back to the beginning of time which itself was an infinite discovery. Except for one thing that neither science or religion could answer and that was the one question that dominates everything. It is just one word: why?

But even that question poses more problems because so many of us presume to know the answer but with no reasoning to justify the answer.

So we are blessed with beautifully and joyful lives without asking why we should be so blessed. And we are cursed with war and crime and deciet and selfishness and cruelity and despite everything we know and do or know and do not do we are coming to a kind of end times for in our blindness and carelessness we are on the very edge of destroying the third miracle that gave us life and supports our lives, the earth.

There is a mystery of mysteries why we do not understand this well enough to have neglected our responsibilities for so long in such a disasterous way. We do not know why, incredibly intelligent human beings, have created such a catastrophe.

The Universe


Parts 1 and 2

The two most important parts of the universe and no one thinks about them. How (and why) the universe began, and the result: Our brains.

There are a couple of problems. Let’s deal with god first, namely that god is whatever someone wants it to be. Read Karen Armstrong and you will know what I mean.

I titled my photo collection “The Hidden World of the Nearby” and one day it struck me that the nearest thing is between our ears, and no one, and I mean all the scientists on the planet do not have a clue how eyes and ears create the experience of life. Nor do they have a clue what the road map might be. Detecting gravity waves or human genes is a piece of cake in comparison. So let’as be daring and ask why.

First, we might well be missing something odd like an information field, or some phenomena out of our range of detection. OK, but that doesn’t help. So what does?

Within certain limits we can do about anything with our minds, but it is left up to us to decide what to do. And that leaves two choices: help each other or dominate each other. We do both without realizing that help means something odd that we don’t want to admit out loud what it is.

So Chopin and a piano and a pianist saved a man from a concentration camp (see The Pianist). How did he do it? Well, once you are pass the big bang evolution delivers what were once hunter gathers and on the male side agression was important and controlled. Then came agriculture and agression had no place to go. So not knowing any better, the more agressive of us joing in groups to fight, often under a religions flag and the rest of the time for money.

I don’t wish to rehash all that has happened to us except that Lincoln’s government of, by and for the people has replaced people by rich.

Which means we no longer consider ourselves as a human family (which we are) but as warring tribes. Our please does not come from learning, beauty and joy but from collecting buckets of money and dominating those we took it from. So people working 2 or 3 jobs and sleeping in their cars are one end of the spectrum and billionaires and Mitch McConnel are at the other end. The only out is to decide to get out by playing by different rules. It could happen, but I am not laying any bets.

That is why I photograph and listen to and play a little Chopin while driving my wife crazy while I drive myself crazy. But that is life as of April 1, 2021.

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