Rendered Fat Content


Caspar David Friedrich: Mountain Landscape
[Felsenlandschaft im Elbsandsteingebirge] (1822-1823)

"Our truths seem no more self evident than they were ever the truth."

I reckon that about half of what I believe might well prove false over time. My reckoning does not resolve the underlying errors. It just keeps me watchful. At any time, new information might undermine one of my more fundamental beliefs. I release these with little evident elegance, usually by means of mentally kicking and screaming in denial before relenting. I do not always relent. Consequently, I live beneath a true patchwork of notions, some fact-based and most perhaps firmly rooted in emotions. I hold my convictions, some more lightly than others, but my belief system, probably like yours, stands like a teetering house of cards. My cognition, the order-making part of my orientation, rarely questions the basis behind any of my beliefs. Most might well be little more than mist, but they still work for most intents and purposes. I'm prejudiced and I know it, though I only rarely ever feel anything like a brunt of its effects. I'm no scientist, no professional skeptic, no cynic, neither. I hold my truths as self-evident, even and perhaps especially the ones which never really qualified as truths and whose self-evidence only works when I'm not trying to explain them to anyone, even myself. I probably base about half of my of understanding of this world on MistInformation, perhaps much more.

I do not feel especially cursed by my condition, but mostly more blessed because of it.
I envy the scientist who seems to hold his convictions so lightly and engages in the business of questioning everything. I more often seek to avoid questions, especially the more threatening ones. I do not actively seek change, but familiar status quos. I know how deep my understanding goes and so I actively avoid engaging in activities likely to lead me into scraping bottom. I know a few things very thoroughly and the rest, barely superficially, and I project my deeper knowledge into contexts within which it might well mislead me. I project by means of metaphor and allegory, both perfectly respectable means of projecting knowledge. Like scientists, who employ these same techniques to advance their understanding, I sometimes find myself out of my depth as a result. I propose some action only to learn that I've probably proposed an impossible act, only to backtrack and, if courageous, to try again. If I was more watchful, I might aspire to become a blind watchman, though I certainly seem to have the blind part of the designation down pat.

In this small city, it sometimes seems that MistInformation thrives. I once thought that this town's relative isolation the root cause, but it seems to persist even in this age of effortless information access. Nowhere's very disconnected any more, though certain filters easily prevent some truths from penetrating very deeply, or so it seems. Conservative by nature, like all human systems, past notions do not easily make the transition from practice into tradition. Acting upon cues more suitable to worlds that once were but are no longer can blur conviction into more closely resembling delusion. Not even this world seems very much like it used to seem. Our clocks didn't stop ticking and not everyone continues actively discovering, whatever time's passages. Even I sometimes find myself stuck in some past. I do not, as I noted above, unstick myself with evident elegance. All that said as premise, we live a largely mythical existence here. We take much far too seriously and dismiss some stuff as merely irrelevant to us when it isn't. We're headstrong as only the truly deluded must always become. Our truths seem no more self evident than they were ever the truth.

We have vaccine deniers here in greater proliferation than I've seen elsewhere. It might be that I take these denials more personally because they're within my family. I easily discount the delusions of strangers but struggle more when people I love tumble into them. I know I'm prone to chase wrong-headed notions myself and can hardly fault anyone else for their part in the ongoing search for truth and justice. That's the American Way! It depresses me when I cannot dissuade even a family member from self-destructive paths while appreciating that not everyone, me included, can afford to know every underlying truth from outright lying fiction. I also defend by ad hominem and plant my more salient points beside any cogent one. I know for certain what I know for certain, only rarely questioning my underlying certainty as the problem. Who am I to say you're wrong when your world view threatens me? Look, this virus is serious business. It's an existential threat to everyone's existence. It does not care that it does not scare you. It should! Our only defense lies in our collective cooperation. Individual freedom, however firmly believed in, does not trump this one because it can't. Neither do the usual naive insistences. We're at root an ignorant lot poking sticks into darkness relying upon at best MistInformation. Let us not distract ourselves poking those sticks at each other.

©2021 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

blog comments powered by Disqus

Made in RapidWeaver