Posted on March 31, 2011 by Colin

The Things We Know We Can’t Know

 

There are things we can know: the circumference of a cylinder, for example. Or the number of miles in a kilometer. The capital of Kansas.

Then there are things that we can’t know: what happens after we die. If there is a meaning to life, and if so, what it is. If one religion or genre of morality is inherently superior to another.

There’s nothing wrong with believing in things that we can’t know, so long as we know that they are things that we can’t know.

It’s when we’ve decided that – despite the fact that there are no facts involved, just wants and emotions and faith – that we CAN know the things we can’t know, that things get tricky. When there are no answers, there’s no way to disprove any answer that’s given.

The meaning of life can be muffins. When we die, maybe we turn into shoes. There’s no way to prove or disprove either of these assertions.

We may someday have the science to understand how the world was created. We may someday have the math to describe what happens after we die.

Until then, just remember the different between the two types of knowledge and be careful about trusting anyone who says they just KNOW something that they can’t.

Either they’re a revolutionary ahead of their time with advanced research techniques that the rest of us don’t have, a huckster trying to sell you something, or just someone who is just as lost as anyone else and frantically searching for meaning but not realizing that their time might be better spent focusing on things that we can actually know right now.