autotelic, autistic, assonance-hole©.

Random reminiscence

For reasons I cannot identify, I am reminded tonight of a handful of folk with whom I once shared thoughts. This was long ago and, I suppose you could even say it was in another galaxy. I was different in those days; angrier, insistent in my logic and unswerving of “reason”. I suppose most of them would growl at those quotation marks, but that’s the thing that parted our paths, so it is expected.

They couldn’t forgive me the ‘betrayal’ of the Hellenic and I couldn’t forgive them the blindness of their Orientalism. I suppose it was bound to happen that, the first inkling of other than vigorous, ready agreement would shatter “friendships” like so much delicate crystal.

I recall the big blow up/out being over the nature of knowledge and my questioning of whether or not one could ever be objectively certain that one knows anything at all. The unforgiveable sin, of course; the platonic relationship with logic was sacred like, well, The Virgin herself. No questions allowed unless they were oriented toward “proving” why those questions were ill-considered at best, and perfected self-identification of idiocy at worst.

You can guess which camp I quickly fell into with my insistent probing.

I miss the conversations, even as I know they became impossible the moment I became “one of those people”. But I think more than anything, I miss the certainty (chuckle) that these folk were as capable of impartial logic as they claimed. It occurred to me more than once to point them at certain neurology studies demonstrating the differences between experiential and localized memory, but it smacks of trying to force the issue and since that was the very thing that convinced me theirs was not a path I cared to walk…

I’m pretty sure I never cross those minds. In fact, I’m willing to bet each are still regularly posting (though likely on personal blogs by this point, perhaps a few still stumble through the sewers of Usenet) their angst, anger, and acrimony of all things political and railing against “those on the other side”, along with all things less than appropriately rigid in certitude; insistent bastions, with clarion, strident assertions of objective knowledge and diamond logical validity who somehow seem never to see the contradiction of it.

Don’t get me wrong; I’m not saying they’re wrong, nor that I’m right. This is rather the point of the matter – I’m saying the same thing I’ve always said, “You can’t know for anyone but yourself and, even then, only in the moment of experience; thereafter, it’s a belief like any other.” Naturally, their response would be unchanged and just as vehemently aggressive as ever. The paradox of simultaneous “reality” is not a concept grasped easily at best, and never by those who posit absolutism or objectivity as an innate human quality.

It isn’t that we disagree (profoundly) that niggles at me, it is the idea that the playground is not open, it’s barred; by the parameters of philosophy, but never science, and by the utter rejection of information that did not have its genesis in ancient Hellenic culture and society.

The humor in it is somewhat dark; in trying to be such good little anarchists and rationalists, they wind up being conservative and sophist. I suspect they would be horrified, were they ever to view it from outside the safety of the carefully constructed playground.

They would say, “A is A,” but they never had an answer to the question, “And how, exactly, do you know it is?”

The funniest thing, of course, is that two of their vaunted masters said it best and they either never knew it or studiously ignore it, “The only thing I know is that I know nothing” and “The man cannot learn who thinks he knows”.

To me, this is but proof that humanity’s need to feel certain, to feel as if “knowledge” is possible, will cheerfully scorch the world before agreeing to accept the imponderable.

And so it goes…