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Saturday, December 23, 2017

A Part of the Whole

“Know thyself! The unexamined life is not worth living.”
~Socrates


What is real comes to our awareness through its engagement with our limited senses: sight, sound, smell, taste, and touch.

The senses we possess are not objective, they are incongruous, conditioned by relative values, including the relative nature of our individual points of view, our individuated position in time and space, and the range of our sensory powers, each on their spectrum of relative strength and subjectivity.

The real comes to my attention in these modes and I am forced to admit that the fullness of my understanding, my understanding of who I am; as a person and a subject, and that my understanding of the world around me is wholly determined by these subjective modes of being and perceiving.

Even knowing this, knowing how limited, conditioned and differentiated our perspectives and perceptions are, nevertheless I believe that what is true is discernable by us, and inter-communicable between us.

We can talk about them, we can share them, we can measure our perceptions and test them against reality.
           
There are some who argue that it is impossible to know the truth, or even that there is no truth to know.

This school of thought is called relativism.

The relativist will suggest that each of us creates and maintains our private, distinct, and disconnected version of “reality.”

The relativist will promote the notion that we ourselves are responsible for the reality of our existence, as well as the construction of every experiential referent in it.

This school of thought is the product of intellectual laziness, and hubris.

To hold this position, I would either have to deny the reality of your existence, believing that you are merely an object in a reality that I construct for myself, or I would have to believe that I am an object in the construction of another person’s private world, possessing no independent existence of my own.

Those are false constructions.

Those forms of relativism is dangerous and degenerate.

They should be rejected.

I appeal to my own experience, as finite and circumscribed as it is, to demonstrate that I and we, cannot be responsible for the “reality” of our own existence, or that of any other being, and that I share with every other being fundamental relationships that are constitutive building blocks in the ontological make-up of who I am.

Without you, I am not.

Because of you, we are.

I am not the source of my own existence, and I am not complete in myself.

This is true of me, and this is true of you.

We came into being with the universe, first as a potential, only later, much later to become an actual.

I am in the universe, and of the universe, but I am not the infinite source of the all that is.

Although we are not the cause of the infinite, we are free creatures formed with the ability to observe it, to think and to speak about it, to share our understanding of it, no matter how flawed it may or may not be.

We walk through the time and space, we are agents of causality, connected to every part, but not as progenitor.

I participate in the infinite, I lend my distinctiveness to it in ways that only I can determine.

While some might like to argue that we do not have the power to “know” the infinite, few would argue that we do not have the power to know ourselves.

To know myself is to know something of the infinite, it is to see the whole in the part, the part in the whole.