False “Knowledge”

Well, the wife is off at a baby shower. God only knows why women involve themselves in such undertakings, but to each his her own values, I guess.

I’ve been working on a technical paper involving software features for a new project, but such writing is tedious. I’m racking my brain trying to think of something a bit more interesting to write about. Call it taking a break.

What do you suppose is the absolute fundamental issue at the root of all problems relating to the human condition? Have you ever considered that? To ask it in another way, is there one single common denominator that all individual, group, and societal problems can be traced to?

I’m talking about problems such as poverty, slavery, hunger, chronic unhappiness, systemic crime, premature death, death in general, war, taxation, over-politicization, chronic dishonesty and automatic lying.

Can anyone think of a common cause? Yea, I know, the knee-jerk response is always the same: lack of education. But isn’t a prerequisite to problem-solving education some particular subject matter? Thus, education cannot be at the root. What gets taught is more fundamental than whatever the means are for teaching it, presuming that teaching would even be necessary.

Is it possible, rather, that the fundamental problem is more an issue of what we believe we know — but are wrong about — than what we don’t know? Do we need to uneducate, rather than educate?

To put it another way, what could we possibly not know, anymore, that could solve any of those problems? I mean, we know a lot as a society, don’t we? We have all sorts of abilities and intellectual prowess, but fundamental human problems persist, and they don’t appear to be going away or improving in any sort of easily detectable manner.

In pondering this, I think there’s only one way that additional knowledge could solve these problems, and that would be some discovery that renders much of what we "know" completely obsolete. Because, folks, it’s not what we don’t know that’s at the root of all of our problems, but what we think that we know, but is false.

What is this thing we think we know but is false? Ah; that can be any number of things. So, what is the fundamental problem then? The fundamental problem is mysticism or irrationality, which translates in actions to an evasion of reality.

Now let’s tie this up, shall we? Connect the dots. Human beings require values in order to survive. Basic ones, at first, and as those are met, values become more complex, varied, subjective. But gaining the values necessary to survive and prosper requires action. Now, check back to that underlined word, above. When you act, you act in the pursuit of your values, values needed to survive and prosper. What happens when you act on what you think you know but is false? You evade reality, and that is the root cause of all of your preventable problems, and everyone else’s too.

In two subsequent entries, I’ll identify some of the more fundamental things we think we know but are false, thus causing our problems and failures, and how some who are armed with this knowledge are taking advantage of you, parasitically living off of your ignorance.


  1. Richard Nikoley on August 21, 2005 at 22:02

    Under whose authority to grant or impose either? And on what basis does one "know" such authority to be valid and nessessary in the pursuit of rational values?

  2. Walter E. Wallis on August 21, 2005 at 21:29

    How about if you know that if you are good, you get the cookie, if you are bad you get the whip?

  3. Diane Steele on August 22, 2005 at 05:22

    I think social problems can be traced back to religion and the seetlers. I say this because religion scares us all(admit it) and we sometime sin. Anyways… read into religion a little and you just might feel the same way.

    I liked having a baby shower. It helps the mother with things she has not bought yet and also shows you care if you are the one giving.

  4. jane on August 21, 2005 at 23:57

    well, i was going to say babyshowers are boring unless you're in your 20s or the mom of the pregnant young lady UNTIL i read what you were doing!
    then when you explained it & i understood it, well….in theory (not practically) i think the problem could be solved with socialism. (no eye-rolling) problem is, those at the top always get greedy & it doesn't work. so, the #1 problem wouldn't be lack of education, but greed.
    there's enough on this planet for everybody to have 'some' medicine, some water, some food, some shelter, you get it.
    but i'm wondering why are you asking when it seems as though you already know the answer to your question, am i right?
    so now, i have to blogmark you so i can come back & see if i am right!
    i'll be back!

  5. Kyle Bennett on August 22, 2005 at 07:39

    Jane seems to have the answer, but she doesn't know it. One candidate for the #1 item of false knowledge is the idea that greed is some kind of problem, that it causes the difficlties we are finding.

    So jane, where does that adequate supply of food, sheleter, and medicine come from? Even if it did literally grow on trees (as it does in some cases, but not all), the trees don't magically drop it on your plate or somehow construct themselves into a hut.

  6. Richard Nikoley on August 22, 2005 at 09:12

    So, Jane, what if it turns out that humans are just simply "greedy" by nature? I know I certainly am, and I've used that emotion to my benefit all my life. Though not my primary motive, the values I've built have ended up benfiting others too (how could they not; how could I get what I want without producing values for others in exchange?). For example, my company helps thousands of people resolve financial hardships and I employ, at times, upwards of 30 people. I'm greedy as hell. More more more; for me, me, me.

    So, as Kyle has said, perhaps you need to check your premises, which is to say, you believe that you "know" greed is bad, or can be fixed, or should be or needs to be fixed. But if this "knowledge" is false, then can you see how problems get created, of all sorts?

    In the same way, you seem to know that socialism is unworkable, by your own words. Thus, here is an instance where you already know something you thought you knew is false, so why cling to it? Can't clinging to a falsehood be a source of a lot of problems? Sure it can, and you're not the only one who does it.

    As to the "ideal" you are trying to uphold with socialism, I say: lead by example. If you have an extra bedroom or two in your house, then shelter someone in need. Do you really _need_ three meals a day and a snack or two? Couldn't you give some of that up? There's plenty to go around, right?

    It was years ago on Usenet that an anonymous poster blew through with something I've never forgotten:

    "Is your concern for the poor and unfortunate so great as to actually cause you to help them, or is it only so great as to cause you to force others to help them?"

  7. Richard Nikoley on August 22, 2005 at 13:44

    Well, Diane, it seems to me that religion is another of those things people think they know but is false. They base all sorts of decisions on such belief, and it causes problems.

  8. Rich on August 22, 2005 at 16:32

    Really? I fear dying in a car crash, so I buckle up and have a car with air bags, and I drive with my mind on what I'm doing.

    Fear is probably the chief attribute of humans that keeps us alive. Reason makes us more successful at it, but fear is the spark.

    Irrational and unfounded fear is perhaps what you meant. Yea, that can cause bad decisions which creates problems. It also prevents people from undertaking worthy risks that can be managed and controlled for great prosperity.

  9. Danielle on August 22, 2005 at 10:30

    I think that the father should attend baby showers. Personally, I think it's stupid that the mother gets to receive gifts for the baby, play those dumb toilet-paper-around-the-belly games, and then to think that the daddy isn't in the picture. When I have my baby shower, I'm going to take Aubrey with me. He's pretty much a girl, anyway :))

  10. Putnawa on August 22, 2005 at 15:35

    I think the basis of our problems is fear. Fear-based decision making leads to poor decisions.

  11. Natalie on August 22, 2005 at 11:32

    Ah, I don't understand the baby shower either. Disgusting events, really.

  12. Rich on August 24, 2005 at 14:46

    Silly, SILLY you, Jane.

  13. jane on August 24, 2005 at 14:29

    Silly me! Here I thought I was actually going to come back to some sort of rational dialogue. Instead, I've come back to Richard & Kyle telling me what I know & what I don't know. You may be greedy, I know I'm not.
    According to Concise Columbia Encyclopedia, GREED is: acquisitive or selfish desire beyond reason.
    If greed were beneficial for this planet, there wouldn't be needs such as those I mentioned in my previous comment.
    That said, I thought you were actually looking for discussion, but you weren't. What you were looking for was comments so that you & your buddy could correct those of us who see things differently than yourselves. I was wrong to bookmark this blog & will correct that immediately.
    Silly me!

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