Dear you, reading this,
Epistemology has been interesting me lately. How do we know what we know? Do we know as much as we think we do. We have the scientific method which seems a little bit more stable than faith based practices. Testing a hypothesis and documenting your practices and results is a worthwhile activity. I submit that we run into trouble during the documenting process. We want to share knowledge. We want that knowledge to be received. We should continually test our hypotheses. With all the variables involved, you'd want to know how robust the hypotheses are. What matters when you test a hypothesis? Right about this time, I should mention I'm not talking about complex physics. I'm talking about how to interact with people. I'm trying to figure out what matters. What's the point of knowledge if it doesn't matter?
I think the more people close to you agree on something, the more that thing matters. This gets confusing because somehow we seem to think that what we don't agree on matters. This is why we put so much effort into arguments. I submit that the thing you agree on is that the disagreement is a problem. It is a challenge to be overcome. We want to agree. If both parties feel strongly on the issue, then they agree it is important. If it's a political issue, it gets even more confusing because policy is going to be dictated based on the feelings and opinions of those in charge. So now in one discussion we have two parties agreeing that an issue is important, they want to agree on it, and policy is going to set forth based on whichever side gets put in charge. That can be scary because policy affects us. A conversation can affect our feelings on a topic or a person, but policy can shut down institutions designed to give us the help we need. Can we agree that we don't want less help than we are receiving? Now the stakes are higher. Fear is in the mix. We aren't any closer to solving the rift between the two parties. Can we agree that we don't want violence? What if that's the only way to get a party to agree?
Okay let's stop with that thought experiment and assess it. This isn't as abstract as you might think. This is my internal monologue when I'm discussing issues with my dad. It escalates to violence so fast. Normally at that point I just leave. I'm currently not speaking to him. It doesn't even need to be politics. One time we went out on the boat together and he started whipping me with a wet towel because I was playing video games with my friends while my brother was with a girl. That reaction isn't typical of him, but now that I could whoop his ass, the possibility for violence is all too real. Maybe we played too much video games, but that was quality times with friends and I don't regret a single second of it. We were constantly talking and making jokes. If you meet me and think I'm funny, It's due in large part to all those hours playing video games.
This is why it's so important to me to figure out how people understand their knowledge. It's not enough to present facts. Facts don't matter anymore. We have to move beyond them. Our current ways of discourse have already cost me my father and I'd prefer not to see our world get more violent and divided.
As always thanks for reading,
J say of the day: Life could be pointless and meaningless but that doesn't make it worthless.