After I write a post like the previous one, in which I argue that there are limits on our knowledge, or that there are many things that can’t be known, I feel like I may be taking a nihilistic position that denies the possibility of solid knowledge. This feels like a negating-other-ideas position that can’t really make positive, content-ful statements or ideas.
But I don’t really see it that way. By pointing out limitations on what we know and can know, how much more one experiences one’s own subjectivity, one’s consciousness, rather than the experiencing any objective reality, I feel like I’m opening mental space for new possibilities. I’m making the case that we don’t have to think in the ways we’ve thought before, the ways we’ve learned to think.
And further, by pointing out that we may want to be skeptical of all stories, all ideas (as I said before, we may want to look at every narrator (and every person) as an unreliable narrator), I’m also hopefully pointing out that there is a world of experience beyond that which can be symbolized and abstracted, beyond any medium (whether that medium is a video screen or just the abstractions of words). I remind myself to let go of all ideas, to just lie down and let go of all ideas (as much as possible).
There’s no name for what exists beyond thinking (we could call it “external reality,” or “the world,” or whatever, but using these labels bring us back to ideas). But we don’t have to think all the time.
(Maybe that’s not a problem for everybody, but it’s something I try to remind myself. Perhaps in this I’m like the philosophers discussed here who think as a way to cope with a world they don’t find easy to live in.)
So it’s kinda funny that I do as much thinking (abstracting) as I do, in these blog posts and elsewhere, especially since I’ve said that the ideas I come up with may not be all that real or valuable. And yet, this is what I do.