Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Solving The Puzzle

Some of the mountains I have climbed turned out to be made of Paper Mache, while some of the simple jig saw puzzles of life seem to have an infinite number of pieces.

Dana Bate
Hello Atlantica, Bolivia
One of the most amusing exercises in the arena of mental competition is when a philosopher or other thinker propounds a solid, sturdy idea and creates a phalanx of those who are armed and ready to prove him wrong and is met by another one just as determined to prove he's right. A whistle is blown and the fight is on. What makes it even more interesting is that there is no end game.

People are still trying to prove the Socrates was right, or wrong. But Socrates said "For knowledge too cannot continue to be knowledge unless continuing always to abide and exist. But if the very nature of knowledge changes, at the time when the change occurs there will be no knowledge, and if the transition is always going on, there will always be no knowledge, and, according to this view, there will be no one to know and nothing to be known."

Well !! That sort of erases the lines on the playing field and takes down the goal posts. So why are we trying to know things if all we know is there is nothing to be known? (I'm sure Socrates had a sense of humor, a guy I would have liked.)

The gray bearded, brass knuckle fact is that everything is in transition. Does that mean we should stop trying to know anything since there is nothing that can be known. If that's so then we should close all the schools, burn the books, bury the paintings, lock up the labs, stop playing music and, in short, stop thinking. I once read about a Swami in India who spent his life staring at the sun until he was totally blind because the sun was the only thing that didn't change.

I also remembering reading a solipsistic music critic of the 17th Century who said that all the possible combinations of tones had already been invented and there would be nothing new in the field of music. That was before Bach, Handel, Haydn. Mozart, Beethoven, Brahms, Schubert, Mahler, Wagner, Debussy, Ravel, Stravinsky, Ellington and Brubeck.

A physicist was asked if he didn't find it frustrating that the theories of natural law kept changing with new discoveries. He replied that that's what made it so exciting. An old cactus in the desert will suddenly sprout a blossom. A new galaxy will be discovered. An eagles egg will crack open and a new life will emerge into the world.

One should not claim that the mountain is solid, impenetrable rock and not Paper Mache until one climbs it, as Socrates and many other have done. He who collects the largest number of jig saw puzzle pieces may know a lot more than I do, but he will never know it all.

DB - The Vagabond
Never Give Up

(This is not a contest)

NASA has planned to send a two man mission on an 18 month trip to the planet Mars. It would take 6 months for the astronauts to get there and after 6 months of exploration another 6 months to return.

Should they do it and why, and if not, why not?


6 answers so far

I eagerly await your answer.



pacifica62 said...

Is it really that important to "know it all". Seems to be an insatiable quest for some and of no importance to others. Our world is in a constant state of change. What we know now is more than we knew a moment ago and less than we will know in the next moment. It also bothers me that all the great thinkers, philosophers and wise ones are said to be men, which could explain the incessant need to "know it all". Imagine them all sitting around at Starbuck's sipping on a latte and offering their great thoughts to any who will listen. Imagine now where women actually live life, learn from it, and work very hard to make the world a better place for themselves and their families. Kind of makes the need to "know it all" seem rather silly.

DB said...

Excellent comment Pacifica. Opportunity is the operable word. "It's a mans world" has always been the keynote for oppression. While the men are sitting around a Starbucks table disputing life's questions with every passer by, the women may be at the kitchen table with their own views on the subject. There have always been intelligent brains under the bonnets of America, from Abigail Adams on.

I don't think there is a female point of view any more than there is a male point of view. The more original opinions that get expressed the better. And it doesn't matter what gender they come from. That is one of the growing realizations of our current history.


Bucko (a.k.a., Ken) said...

I think that our basic physics and such does not really change, just the fringes. Kind of like our values and such.