The unknowable knowing


Round and round:
The great fallacy of the rational scientific perspective is its belief that everything it doesn’t currently know can, (through a process of methodical revision and advancement), become known at some point WITHOUT altering the assumptions underpinning its approach. I call this out as a fallacy because when you examine the underpinning assumptions of the perspective, it becomes obvious that the assumptions themselves dictate the knowledge-scope that the perspective is capable of apprehending. In other words it’s a self-referential system whose only possible defence is invoking the correctness of its assumptions… even though the assumptions themselves cannot be arrived at by its own method.

Stop defending the perspective and start examining the assumptions:
When I’ve posed this conundrum before, people immediately go into defending the perspective by saying something like “it’s the best approach we have at the moment” seemingly, without realising that without revising the assumptions of the approach… it’s the only approach they will ever have. Obviously you cannot revise an assumption using only the rules dictated by the assumption. That’s clear right?

As a student of people’s belief systems, I’m interested in the processes they use to maintain them. It seems that when a certain kind of stubborn and rationally conditioned mind is faced with its own self imposed limitations it will still do anything to avoid revising its assumptions.

My assumption is that this is because, inevitably, a revision of fundamental assumptions = revision of world view = revision of identity = revision of the veracity of other perspectives that might emerge out of other assumptions… i.e those of the non-linear kind that spiritual traditions extend from.

Other people are more prepared to examine the assumptions and suspend abiding by the rules that they dictate for a while in order to do so.

My own experience is that rational enquiry inevitably takes me to the limits of rationality but, with me, when I face that limitation instead of falling back into the loop, I suspend rational assumptions and do my best to experience what lies beyond in another way. When I do this it doesn’t make me believe in god, (I don’t come from that kind of background), but it’s easy for me to appreciate that the metaphors of religion, myth and spirituality are not just archaic attempts to understand things that science one day will explain away…rather they become useful depictions of things that a rational perspective can NEVER understand because they are inadmissable to the rules of its own assumptions.

Do you ever allow yourself to face the limitations of rationality? If so what do you do when you face them? If you don’t allow yourself to face them, what are you doing that doesn’t allow you to do so?

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