/ Social Epistemology / Social Sentience /
This morning my darling, about to go north for a couple of months, seeing me prepare the grounds and help prepare the house, said “Thank you, I’m grateful for all you do.” And I reflected again, as usual, as always, on one of the prime mysteries of my take on our lives: we’re sentient, in part: we’re sentient, so we say. But how much of our existence are we aware of?
Take something as seemingly simple as what I do for my darling: certainly she knows part, but does she, can she, know all? even if I point it out?
I’ve never known anything I was able to point out 100% of to her or to anyone else. I’m not talking about my beloved: just using her to usher something universal: she knows what I say better than almost anybody: which is to say, not very well. My graduate school professors still don’t know what my thesis was: they listened for thirty seconds, then interrupted me: then another thirty seconds, then another interruption.
I bet Pilat interrupted Jesus every thirty seconds. Einstein’s committee, had he had one, would have interrupted him: maybe every twenty seconds.
Scientists teach that we live in cones of light. I’ve written by analogy of how we live in cones of time.
States behave as though they’re competent to manage this and that; I don’t see states as competent to find their ass with both hands. (I don’t see humans as competent to find their ass with both hands.)
One thing I’ve long loved about the Christianity I was fed as a child is that it posits people in sets of two, by pairs: those who have faith, those who don’t: those who know God’s love, those who don’t: those who have the Word, those who don’t …
Any number of modern religions are like that, Communism for example: those who have Marx’s correct interpretation of history, those who don’t. But older religions aren’t like that at all. Once upon a time cultures assured their members that they knew everything they needed to know: how to strut, how to flirt … how to fight …
Meantime, the old gods knew how to make the thunder, make the rain; you didn’t. But God, the god of the Jews, the God of Jesus, he knew what was in your heart. He knew everything; you knew nothing.
Old faiths tended to be mono; now they’re plural, in pairs, binary: I believe God will take care of me, I believe Uncle Sam will take care of me, I believe Obama will take better care of me than I want to pay for myself.
Imagine Eve, or Adam, setting out onto the savanna: did she just walk out with her eyes shut, believing in her luck? Or did she proceed like the chipmunk I once observed, hiding every ten millimeters, trembling all over?
Here’s a binary, a comparison:
We could imagine Eve as bold, or Eve as cautious. Now try to imagine a state that’s cautious.
No, I didn’t put that right: I can imagine lots of timid states. Can you imagine a state with the bomb which is cautious?
Can you imagine a committee of Lilliputian parliamentarians cautioning themselves on how maybe they ought to send a delegation to London before they go tying Gulliver up?
Imagine you’re a headhunter on the Amazon. You stub your toe, your shaman makes faces, waves, dances. You “know” why he’s doing all those things. Now imagine that your shaman is Walter Reed: he makes faces, and washes his hands! and maybe gives you an aspirin! Do you know why he washed his hands? (Does he?) (How important is it that either of you know?) Should King George assume he knows why John Harrison’s new clock worked? I bet Newton did not assume he knew all about what Leeuwenhoek saw under his new instrument.
Pilat crucified Jesus, his faith in Tiberius Caesar, not at all in God. Popes and so forth profess faith in God: but is it believable?
Would a Pope put a contract out on Luther if he believed in God?
Would the Church of the 1960s have defrocked Ivan Illich?
Would NYU have interrupted me? (Would NYU have had the FBI arrest me if decades later I was still complaining about it?)
Let me come in again:
Jesus came to the Temple in Jerusalem. The Temple said, Uh oh, pain in the ass, get rid of him. And so they did.
But did they know that they’d passed another god? without getting any nutrition from him?
My universities saw me: Ooo, talent: if only he’d behave.
The Church welcomed Ivan Illich with open arms. They knew he was good, they knew he was a genius. But did they know he was a saint? Did they know that they were not saints?
Did they know, despite Jesus and the Temple, that they were not competent to know a god from a devil? a genius from a jerk? A Christian from a fat alcoholic?
Dig it: we still have the damn Church, we still have the damn Temple, we still have NYU … Do we know what Jesus said? Really? Do we know what Illich said? pk?
Do we know what pk said after the fed censored over 4,000 online modules?
How well would we know what Jesus said if the fed let him speak but broke his knees again for every utterance?
Atheists to Consequences
Clearly all these kleptocracies behave as though they’re total atheists to consequences.
Funny thing is, maybe not so funny really, so far, they seem to be right!
How’s this for a PS?
Jesus speaks, the fed breaks Jesus’ knees.
Jesus heals in the hospital, the hospital charges him a shekel, every penny Mary Magdalene had to give him.
Jesus speaks again, the fed breaks Jesus’ knees again. Take him to the hospital: the hospital now charges ten shekels! They dump Jesus in the parking lot. Let him speak, don’t have to break his knees again.