First off, a few apologies. I’m new here, and did not quite realize how this particular forum, with it’s particular software, displayed its messages. I now realize that the response from my seemingly discrete critic – who I shall now reveal as (da dah) Bah Humbug – was not at all private, but very public. Somehow, I couldn’t seem to figure out where to look for that response on the forum.
Secondly, let me also apologize for the confusion centered around this “facts” issue. I think I can explain, although probably not to the satisfaction of BH, but possibly in a way that might help Mark understand my position a little better.
My initial post was meant to convey, among other things, the idea that there are avenues to knowledge that transcend scientific investigation. This, I realize, is for many people a non-starter; since without verifiable outside sources, how can one claim to know anything? But I would argue, a la Descartes I suppose, that there are no truly verifiable outside sources. Everything in what we think of as the outside world must first be processed through the electro-chemical mechanism of the human brain; and the brain, believe it or not, manufactures pretty much everything we see, hear, touch, etc., out of mere packets of data. And who knows, frankly, where that data comes from? – or, if it is in fact “real”, what its true nature might be?
A quick example. The color blue. I might argue in a court of law that "the defendant was wearing a blue sweater", and that would be deemed a legal fact. But what is blue?
Blue (or really all color) is a complete fabrication of the mind, with no correlative in the “outside” world. The brain completely makes blue up. (This is not an uncommon insight, but in my opinion it is not stressed enough in our educational culture.) We know this when we deconstruct the process of sight.By every appearance, when we “see” something, we do so in this way. Light strikes an object – a chair, say – and is then reflected off that object and into our eyes. The pupil and lens then work their magic, and focus an image onto the retina. The retina, with even greater magic, converts the light, with its various frequencies and intensities, into electrical impulses , which are then sent through the optic nerve, and into the sight-producing centers of the brain. The brain then somehow assembles an image – but out of what? Out of what are essentially electrical dots and dashes! The brain, in other words, has only dots and dashes to work with. It knows nothing of “blue”. It has never heard of “blue”. It has never seen “blue”. It only knows signals.The brain CREATES blue from the signals, as a way of interpreting a certain frequency of light which was somehow previously measured, presumably at the retina level. Blue is what the brain has come up with as a way of distinguishing one particular frequency from many (but hardly all) others. Of course most frequencies it conveniently ignores, assigning them no happy colors.
Continuing this analysis, shape and form are no less a creation of the mind, which creation it manages to project out in front of us, nicely colored, as “the real world”. But again, it’s all from packets of data, the “reality” of which can all very reasonably be put into question.Do you see why I’m rather suspicious of other people’s facts? I can’t even be sure of my own!
Jumping back to Descartes, he famously claimed that existence could only be found in thought. He didn’t talk about facts – just thought.
I make a further distinction. I distinguish what I consider to be my own thought with Divine thought. In my experience, I think I’ve encountered both, and I think I’ve noticed a distinct difference.Now, hopefully that Divine Thought won’t tell me to fly into any buildings! (But it seems I do remember Him whispering something in my ear about Bah Humbug’s house). (-:
But all that would be for another post, if there’s any further interest. I realize I haven’t really addressed the issues yet, but I’ve done what I can for today.
Thanks both to BH and Mark for taking the time to express interest in my thought.
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