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The Potential to Know and to Understand

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  • James Johnson
    C.S.W, I enjoy your desire to Know and to Understand, as is for me too. With more data from you, I feel I can understand your statements, I am the present
    Message 1 of 5 , Oct 6, 2006
      I enjoy your desire to Know and to Understand, as is for me too.
      With more data from you, I feel I can understand your statements, ' I am the
      present moment, not the past and not all that I will be' and ' I am whatever I am ". You say
      that the knowing, understanding and the meaning of these words may beyond you some
      days ( as for me also) thus to me they are our potentials.
      I respect your belief in your ability to express (or not to express ) free will and
      choose what you ( Self ) may be in the present moment and reject the past you ( Self ). This
      is a potential, not a given present moment reality. To be ' Better' or to not to be ' Better'
      everyday with your choice and free will of doing what you value ( teaching, etc. ) that only
      you can know and understand.
      Though you believe in Protogoras's statement ' What I know ( Truth, Reality ?? )
      we cannot understand' and even thoughyou say " truth exists you can never fully know it '
      or it's 'meaning is way beyond me some days'.
      In regards to ' We can know.. ( Truth, Reality), I can accept that I may only be
      able to know or experience my own individual space/time continuum ( Reality) and not
      yours. I can only know/experience the Left leg of the full elephnat ( so called 'Full and
      Total' reality of space and time continuum). Even though you may be extremely close to
      my space/time continuum ( that Left leg ) your know/experience will have a slight different
      color ( green, right? ) because the relationship between your experience of the subjective (
      'Self', 'Essence' 'Finite ( the part )?? ) and the objective ( nonself " The Other' 'Existence'
      'Infinite' ( the whole ') left a distinctive fingerprint of that combination.
      In regards to ' we cannot understand' and the meaning is way beyond you some
      days, I'm getting mixed messages from you. One, being that you have or can demonstrate
      free will and choice in the present moment to reject the ' Self ' of your past and be a new (
      Self ) in the present moment but you have no 'understanding' of what you 'know '. I would
      argue that, that it takes understanding to make that metamorphosis from letting go of the
      past 'Self' to welcoming the new 'Self '. I would love to talk about how possibly this change
      can only occur in the present moment. That fantastic potential change from a very narrow
      focus to a wider focus or awareness of 'Self'( and nonself " Other" ). Two, you say that
      there are ' Truths and facts' in which we can seek ( know) but because we ( even science )
      cannot perceive reality objectively Truth ( Reality ) cannot be fully known. And again
      because we cannot perceive reality objectively we cannot know,understand or find
      personal meaning of these 'Truths' ?? The preception of reality objectivity, how is that
      possible, I argue this is not possible ????
      How can I/we perceive 'Reality' in a pure Objectiviely stae or view ? To me being
      purely objective means being aware only of ones external world/experience ( Science,
      what is being observed or studied ). This occuring without the interaction or influence of
      the subjective senses or thoughts/feelings or judgments, right?. Not the contaminating
      flawed subjective mind. Being purely objective sounds like being dead object. Do you
      agree ?
      How can I/we perceive 'Reality' in a purely Subjective way ?? To me, being purely
      subjective means being aware of ones internal world/experience without the interaction/
      influence of the external world. This looking like, being aware of ones internal world/
      experience without being affected/influenced by the external interaction of the
      sight,sound, or the feel of the external world. One could not really include ones thoughts
      and feeling since that were originally devised by the influences of the external world. Being
      deaf,mute,paralyzed and without the ability to feel the external world. Being purely
      subjectively sounds like being dead, also. Do you agree ??
      So to me 'Reality' is both the subjective and objective. Both blended together
      in the present moment. {{ {{{{ Science has to calculate this since it knows its hypothesis
      are only as good as the data that is put into them and how good the human element is in
      interpretaing the data. That's the benefit of the approach or attitude of Science versus
      religion/philosophy or psychology is the expectation that you need muliple trials to prove
      that your hypothesis is not wrong, it's building on each other and at any moment or trial
      one can alter strongly held concepts}}}}}}. You can't know one without the other. Just like
      you can't know/DEFINE yourself ' Self/Finite,Part/Essence " without knowing or having
      DEFINED the 'Other/Infinte,Whole/Existence. I believe it's all about the relationship
      between these seemingly opposites that need each other to be defined in the present
      I believe in absolute 'Human Truths'. These are common needs/desires that
      transcends cultures , i.e The need to make sense and find meaning ( feeling good about
      ourselves B/C if you don't feel good about oneself nothing will get done) where we find
      ourselves and get a sense of being in charge of our destiny( To Change) . That potential
      power of free will and choice between the past 'Self' ( what we don't like) or the future '
      Self' ( what we want or to be ) can be materialized in the present moment, as a new being
      'Self' of the presence. But one needs to know and understand the why's of ones past ( past
      'Self' ) and in getting connected to the potential of our future experience ( future 'Self' ) in
      the present moment where change and forward motion ( growth) happens. How does this
      change occur and what factors that encourage the change of the past to the the
      future ????????


      > Quoting Sartre is a far better explanation than anything I have time
      > to ponder at the moment. I have been and will be in way too many
      > administrative meetings to think clearly. However, I will insert a
      > few comments to what Wil offers, which may or may not help Jay
      > comprehend my statements.
      > On Sep 28, 2006, at 8:04, eupraxis@... wrote:
      > > Heidegger, and the French existentialists and myself. What they
      > > have in common is
      > > that they think that existence precedes essence, or, if you prefer,
      > > that
      > > subjectivity must be the starting point.
      > It is that "subjectivity" that conflicts with science -- and why
      > phenomenology and other disciplines appeal to me for study. How I see
      > and experience the world is not something that can be objectively
      > measured. I have never been able to explain being colorblind, for
      > example. Is every thing green "blue" or is everything blue seen as
      > "green" by me? I have no clue. How could I know?
      > What is "hot" to me might be comfortable to you. We can agree that a
      > day is 30C/85F, which is miserably hot to me. You might think it is a
      > wonderfully tropical day. Perceptions do matter.
      > This is further complicated by input bias and life experience. While
      > I might read Chomsky and Dershowitz one way, another person might
      > *believe* the other. My experiences and education are filters, and I
      > never deny that. I always couch things in that my experiences,
      > education, acculturation, et cetera, do have an effect -- so yes, the
      > past shapes me.
      > Ah, but therein lies the catch. An existentialist says you can reject
      > the past and start a new one -- you are always free. As Camus argued,
      > you can even choose suicide since life itself is a choice.
      > I am more aligned with Camus and Merleau-Ponty, who both argued that
      > there are limits to choice and that radical free will and humanism
      > were too difficult to reconcile. I admire Camus a lot and wish
      > Merleau-Ponty were a larger figure in our schools. I admit, I am not
      > a fan of Sartre, the man, and have thought his works pose a paradox.
      > > it. Not only is man what he conceives himself to be, but he is also
      > > only what
      > > he wills himself to be after this thrust toward existence."
      > This, is what I mean when I quote the line, "...not all that I will
      > be." I do believe, like Frankl and even Sartre, that I am free to
      > "will myself" to be something "better" every day. I am also free to
      > be nothing at all.
      > > Who I am is a question of what happens in the real world.
      > Bravo. I am what I do. Writing is an action, no doubt, and often a
      > call to action. However, I judge my value first as that of a teacher.
      > I think my "value" is a choice I have made, that no one else made,
      > that I teach the young and work with particular "marginalized"
      > communities.
      > Yes, I fight government regulation, university red-tape, and who
      > knows what else that contributes to marginalizing people. Paulo
      > Freire, "Pedagogy of the Oppressed" is something of a guiding
      > principal for me. I'm still something of a "social, neo-liberal" or
      > something that I can't quite explain. For me, education is the key to
      > participation and the key to resistance in a technological,
      > information-based society.
      > Because I do embrace science, but not as a description of human
      > existence, this places me in a complex debate at the university. I
      > argue there are truths and facts, which we can seek, but how we
      > perceive reality will never be objective. So, "truth" exists but can
      > never be fully known. Talk about going way back, I think Protagoras
      > (sp?) the Sophist said something about "What we can know we cannot
      > understand."
      > Darn, those Greeks were smart... I know facts, but meaning is way
      > beyond me some days.
      > - CSW
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