"A generality seems to apply to everyone except the individual whom we are considering. "

Levels of thought, then, as we see them today are: opinion, speculation, knowledge, understanding, and idealistic creativity.  In this book we will introduce the reader to a level of knowledge and understanding that engenders confidence, and opens a door to idealism.

In ancient times there was not enough evidence available to substantiate many firm conclusions.  Until enough scientific evidence was discovered, the gaps had to be filled in with logic.  In the middle twentieth century there was no further excuse for this, and logic as a primary player became obsolete.  We are in the middle of a great, challenging transformation. 

A society governed by opinion and speculation, is headed toward political paralysis in which no one may take action because of fear.  In contrast, a society governed by knowledge, understanding, and idealistic creativity has a chance to be progressive, vigorous, brave, and successful.  With each passing year there is increasingly more knowledge to be obtained. 

Knowledge is information that is "believed to be true", or "thought to be valid".   For instance, The Christ said "the truth will set you free", John 8:32.  What He meant by this was acceptance of the knowledge that the "only way to the Father is through Jesus" will set you free from sin and give you entrance into the Kingdom of Heaven.  Those who disagreed with Him had knowledge of other theologies.  Jesus' idea evolved into knowledge that was believed to be true for many centuries.  This was partially due to the fact that any deviation from this knowledge was dealt with harshly.

Anselm (1033-1109) was called a "realist" because he wrote that truth, as knowledge issued by the church and faithfully accepted, can then be rationalized.  This introduction of "reason" was a step away from the idea that certitude of knowledge rested only in revelation based on the literal knowledge of the Holy Scriptures.  Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274) stated in his theory of knowledge that there were two levels of knowledge - that which deals with the facts of nature: "reason", and that which deals with the mysteries of the Christian Doctrine: "faith".  Through the writings of Averroes (1126-1198), an Arabian scholar, this became known as the "two-fold truth".  He stated that that which is true in philosophy may not be true in theology.  Francis Bacon (1561-1626) recommended a "marriage between the empirical and rational" but still maintained that "revealed theology" was beyond the tests of science and philosophy.  This was probably a wise conclusion in that people such as Giordano Bruno (1548-1600) were still being imprisoned and burned at the stake for questioning established theology.  None-the-less, the importance of reason and empiricism in obtaining knowledge was being reborn from the days of Aristotle (384-322 BC).

Immanuel Kant

Today we see several types of knowledge.  We will start with what Immanuel Kant (1724-1804) called "a-priori" knowledge, such as knowledge from faith and revelation (Belief).  This is knowledge that is derived from scriptural interpretation and was generally considered "infallible".  In more modern terms, this is knowledge that is accepted on the basis of social discourse and conditioning of the individual.  It is knowledge that has come to be promoted because it satisfies social and individual needs.  These include religious beliefs and beliefs of personal standards such as character.  Other types of "a-priori" knowledge is analytic, or theoretical knowledge,such as (1) Knowledge based on the Meaning of Language that comes from deductive relationships based on language (a bear is an animal).  This is knowledge with complete certainty due to the meanings of words.  Another example is (2) Knowledge of Mathematics.  This is knowledge of mathematical relationships (14+8=22).  The certainty of these rules are very high, but their relationship to reality is must be guarded.

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 emphasis. 

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. 

Copyright©Alden Bacuzmo

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