Post # 686   ANSWERS AND QUESTIONS

[BACKGROUND]:

Undisputedly, the singularly marvelous, and most captivating product of Natural Evolution, as extolled in our past writings, is the human brain. Its potentiated use has beneficially resulted in the empirical elevation of homo sapiens from a lonely, precarious, and minimal existence in prehistoric times, to a contrasting peaceful, interactive, and interdependent life in society.  Formerly, the basic drive to survive and multiply in a harsh, dark, and precarious setting, existentially, required his independent, constant awareness and the alert use of his ability to learn and reason. Later, in society, he learned to live and work with others, to stay warm, fed, sheltered from the elements, and safe from predators, both animal, and human.

As recorded in anthropological history, mankind’s advanced progress to living in society, mandatorily included the learning of a common language which enabled the comforting presence of and desired communication with other humans. Living in society afforded a great many existential benefits, such as the joint search for food and water, group living, and mutual protection. Learned skills were shared, and societal roles and a style of government were pragmatically construed.

The gradual, but eventual, advancement from a “subsistence” to that of a “surplus” society, portended trade with others, travel, improved roads, exchange of diverse folkways and language, mutually recognized trade laws, common weights and measures, mutually acceptable currency and a diminution of insular provincialism, the growth of towns and cities, the study of the arts and sciences, development of universities, and crucially, thereafter, progress toward enlightenment and objective perception. The latter meant the transformation of the horrendous, aptly named, “Medieval Dark Ages,” with its signature superstition, horror, and cruel repression, to the more rational and acceptable, “Age of Enlightenment,” which dynamic process, endures today in eternal if gradual continuance.

We sincerely apologize, for the foregoing, rather simplified, ”blitzkrieg” treatment of the extensively long and complicated, major stages of the societal development of Mankind, but were of the view that some recitation of continuity, however, simplified and generalized, would be useful to the context of our present theme: The pragmatic wisdom of Mankind’s unquenchable passion for the “ultimate answers.”  

[QUESTIONS and ANSWERS]:

There seems to have eternally existed, the accepted and unquestioned assumption, that a discernable answer exists for every conceivable question. This universally accepted, yet arguably, unwarranted, assumption may conceivably be explained upon man’s virtually uncountable plethora of marvelous advancements, as summarized above, and, no doubt, convincingly ratified by the contemporary exponential growth of ubiquitously useful computerized innovations.

As a matter of immutable principle, we accord absolutely no merit, whatsoever, to any proposed, non-rational solutions to problems, as exemplified by the diverse beliefs of early human societies nor, as well atavistically, in the modern age,  by a great many contemporary thinkers. For us, and for the purposes of this essay, there, for example, is no Ancient Sun God, just the ancient Sun. The latter has, indeed, been subject to a great deal of empiric, scientific study; many things are known about the Sun, yet many things are not. Our query here is how much [more] about the Sun, as a pragmatic or scholastic matter, is knowable, and how much, rationally, and usefully, do we would need to know.

To be clear, we are affirmative believers in active and free inquiry, scientific and otherwise, and do not  undervalue or question the utility, importance, and satisfaction of knowing the answers to presenting  scholarly questions. Indeed, we acknowledge that it is the latter inclination, doubtlessly, that has led to our modern society, our scientific advances in physical science and  the arts, psychology, medicine, knowledge of the planet, and its environment; indeed, every discipline, admittedly inclusive of the academic impetus for knowledge for its own sake. We are simply positing the cogent possibility that there are areas of inquiry that man cannot know.

individuals have often been inclined to find satisfaction in entirely bogus answers, in the realm of non-rational or superstitious beliefs. In empirical fact, lightning is caused by static electricity [ask Ben Franklin], the Ocean tides are affected by the pull of the moon, gravity is responsible for Isaac Newton’s falling apple and many other similarly recognized phenomena. However, gravity’s source is unknown, and, we assume, will continue to remain so. Is it necessary or, more to our point, possible, to know the explanations for all ultimate phenomena? We do have great confidence, however, that Newton’s proverbial apple did not fall due to the will of some revered, Macintosh or hallowed, Macoun Deity.

Is it not logically, empirically, and perhaps, modestly, acceptable, to presume that the remarkable potential of the brain, evolved in homo sapiens is not altogether, without limit; just as his eyesight, limbs and organs have tolerable limits? Is it at all possible, that Mankind, because of its overweening pride in its many substantial advancements, has become besotted with himself, and believes in the necessity and his capability to understand everything? Getting off conveniently and effortlessly, by ascribing unknown or unknowable phenomena to religious dogma or folkloric myth, candidly, is egocentric and an avoidance of our present, thematically modest and rationally proposed supposition, as to the empirical limitations of the human brain.

-p.

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plinyblogcom

Retired from the practice of law'; former Editor in Chief of Law Review; Phi Beta Kappa; Poet. Essayist Literature Student and enthusiast.

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