Kant's second category,"a-posteriori", refers to
empirical knowledge that is considered "falsifiable", that is can be proved wrong,
and thus has
a variable level of certainty such as (1) Knowledge from Direct Observation. This
is knowledge that one senses from the environment (the hammer is in the drawer because
I see it there). This is assuming we have already settled the question that we exist
as sentient beings functioning in an ever-present reality. (2) Knowledge from Science
is knowledge that has been determined by the scientific method with rigorous testing
to validate it's reliability,repeatability, and consistency (validity).
Science is the human comprehension of Nature.
Still, all knowledge has a certain degree of probability. In the physical/chemical
world the generalities are usually one hundred percent credible. As an example, hold up
your pen and let it go. It will drop until it hits a solid surface, and there it will stop,
and maybe bounce a bit. That generality has a credibility index of 99.999999---
percent. Our knowledge of the spaciousness of matter, however, might lead us to
wonder if at some time, no matter how improbable, the pen might pass through
the table to the floor. Therefore, we must have some very small percentage of
doubt even with that phenomenon. The doubt being very near the vanishing point.
The "correlation" should be mentioned here. A correlation is a statistically
derived association of factors. The correlation does not give us an understanding of
how the factors interact, however. One can draw incorrect conclusions in regard to how
they are associated. An example is the correlation between "poverty" and
"crime", when poverty is prevalent, so is crime. One conclusion could
be that poverty causes crime. The opposing conclusion is that crime causes
poverty, because a crime infested neighborhood would be antithetical to business
and commerce, employment would be low.
When we come to the knowledge of people, however, a generality seems to apply to everyone except
the individual whom we are considering. Many statements about people apply only
to a portion of the whole. A statement that applies to a minority of twenty
five percent, or even less, can be pretty good. For instance, when two
brown-eyed heterozygous persons marry, twenty five percent of their children
should have blue eyes. That will hold only if they have a large number of
children. They could have eight brown-eyed children in a row; but, if they had
had eight hundred children, one might expect two hundred with blue eyes.
Knowledge is power
Knowledge of all kinds has, to some extent, been denied, suppressed, or
rejected. This is because of doctrines. Doctrines are a point of view based on
a set of logical principles which are determined as irrefutable. Realistic
idealism is refutable. Doctrines are present in politics, religion, science and
education, to name a few. This book will help you to understand these doctrines
and identify them.
It is not unheard of that honest, intelligent, educated people act abominably because they act on
doctrines. The Spanish Inquisition is a well known example. Historians tend to
depict those people as villains. Yet, I doubt that any group was more certain
that they were doing God's work here on Earth. They were acting with the
authority of an irrefutable doctrine. What historians have failed to point out
is that Inquisitors live and act today. They are zealous people who
inadvertently cause continued pain and suffering through poorly thought out programs
based on unrealistic concepts.
Exclusiveness of knowledge
There is a percentage of the population who respect knowledge and applaud
knowledge if they hear it from someone they believe has knowledge, but they do
not understand it. They memorize and ritualize the knowledge in hopes of a
better life. Quite often, they do experience a better life. This is the
way-it-is with the majority of the population of the world probably. To
everyone, actually, there is some aspect of knowledge which is elusive. With
greater knowledge and understanding, one's lack of knowledge becomes more
evident to the individual.
Perhaps there is something especially horrid and revolting when people use the "right" concepts
to do things that turn out wrong. It is like a beautiful, tender woman doing
something intentionally violent, like machine-gunning a crowded bank during a
robbery. The irony is almost more than we can stand. Perhaps some of us would
much rather that miscreants act from ignorance, and thus excuse them. Maybe we must
suffer through periods of misapplication and learn from bad experience before
we can use facts constructively.
Fear of knowledge, retreat to magic
Everything can be explained by magic, if nothing else. Magic is everything we
don't know. Magic dispels the things we find depressing. Magic is a lottery.
Everyone awaits the showering of wonderful gifts from a magical somewhere
unknown. We are never sure when the next partial payment is coming, but we
continue to wish. Magic frees us from the limitations of our own space and
time. There is good magic, and there is bad magic. Magic astounds us when we
see it! Yet, sometimes we expect it. Surely, isn't television magic? Moving
pictures magically appear from thin air. And the automobile? Is there a person
alive who knows enough or has all the tools to actually make an automobile? How
about the child who boards a jetliner and exclaims, "This won't fly, Its
too big!" Magic has always existed. Television, automobiles, and modern
technology are new; yet, we have looked to fortune tellers, witch doctors,
leprechauns, and gods for magic as far back as people can remember.
There are some people who do not want knowledge of the kind defined here. An example is the talented and
charismatic people who hang signs outside their shops reading: "Psychic,
Tarot Cards Read Here, Astrological Charts". It is no wonder they smile as
they see someone walk through their door. Just the act of walking through that
door greatly diminishes the chances of all but a few mindsets to stand before
them. In the mind of the psychic, the only question is, "how much money do
you have!" We should not make sweeping generalizations though, because
this is a rule, and there are exceptions. The point is, it is not the fact that
these individuals have made fortunes telling fortunes, but that there exists
the mindset to make this possible.
There is no reason why a realistic person cannot be idealistic in searching for more perfect
relationships among realistic goals. In this book is a synthesis of a large portion
of knowledge to get any person of reasonable intelligence off on the right
foot. Anyone is invited to refute it. Indeed, it seems that realistic goals are
the only attainable goals. We have only to set a proper realistic program into
operation and our goals will be attained. It is essential that our ideals are
not couched in unrealistic dreams.
The question we hope to answer in this book is: What does the world look like with no sentiment for
magic, superstition, and logic? It is possible to have such an attitude without
destroying such concepts as Love, Beauty, Work, and Mystery. We may find that
all the old traditions still have validity, but with a measurable shift of
A new philosophy, to some degree, must challenge the doctrines of previous philosophies. To each degree
of newness there is some temporary degree of heresy. In this case without
apology an attempt is made to justify this heresy with new understanding. Long
ago I decided that I must determine what is best for me and not try to apply my
standards to other people if they act harmlessly. It is not my goal to impress
my ideas on others, but if it suits, it may help others to find a way, as I
needed to find a way, to inner peace.