On Snearing Into Telescopes

Never regret thy fall,

O Icarus of the fearless flight

For the greatest tragedy of them all

Is never to feel the burning light.”

-Oscar Wilde

If only there was an ultimate primal truth that, if understood, could prove to the world, once and for all, what is right and just. Amirite? The world is in some deep shit right now and we could seriously use a pick-me-up. There’s war, politics, a global environmental cataclysm looming, all sorts of mean nasty ugly things and it might do some good to, you know, somehow figure it all out. That way we can all get to work fixin’ up all this silly suffering stuff.

Many people claim to have this Truth© already, but unfortunately for them that leaves them the task of creating a rather large explanation about why It hasn’t been disseminated and accepted across the species called “Homo Sapiens Sapiens”, or if you speak Latin “Man, the Wisest McSmarty Pants”. The truth knowers have yet to get their truth across though and must build elaborate schemes of people being in denial, lacking faith and all sorts of colorful explanations. What a task, to stand on the pedestal of ultimate knowledge! But the knowers aren’t in my telescope. Also, as an aside, if you speak Latin, you are presently one of a kind, and you should get that checked out ASAP.

Some other people will say they are simply in pursuit of this ultimate knowledge and stoically accede that it has not been found, yet. They are faithful that someday we will escape Plato’s cave gleefully into the wax-melting sunlight. And if one is to question them on their holy journey, one might surely receive humanistic philosophical pedantisms aplenty, straight to the face. They believe -No! They are certain– that someday the ‘Wise Primate’ using its intellectual capacity for rationality will someday uncover The Truth of the Universe™. They see this as their goal and will pursue it unto the time they cryogenically freeze themselves, as unreachable in this lifetime as it most likely is for individuals to get to that point. Pursuers.

The first kind of faith might be attacked as mere metaphysical tomfoolery, a faith in something that is empirically contestable and statistically unlikely. The second might be considered the faith in man, however it too is empirically contestable that they should have such a faith in human knowledge. It is also probably just as statistically unlikely that they will uncover anything but their own tracks in their pursuit. Take for instance the question of how many days have gone since they haven’t found The Truth©? Statistically, well, a lot more days than how many days have gone by since they’ve found it, that’s for sure!

Taking a step back from truth talk, and getting a bit more empirical, let’s try to examine for a moment the ecosystem of the pursuer.  What is their habitat? Isn’t it a laboratory, located in outer space, the final frontier? Perhaps for the more powerful ones, yes, but more modestly if not in space, at least it’s in a kind of divorced space from the messy collisions of the mundane rubber hitting proverbial roads. The laboratory is a quasi-enclosed virtual vacuum segmenting wise apes and their smart tools, from their specimens. Think of it like a tree-fort pretending to be a space station where wise and faithful apes can look down on the world and not have to interact with it, at least until lunch time. Or perhaps think of it like a brain living in a vat of juices, floating around in the emptiness of space, looking down at the humdrum Earthly goings-on, with a keen interest in knowing everything.

Oh but me? Perhaps I’m just a little bird on the ground, laughing at the big bird in the sky with my limited and provincial understanding. It’s a bird! It’s a plane! No, its a spaceship speeding off into oblivion, fueled by denial! Or, if you asked me questions about knowing the universe, I suppose I would just deny knowing anything about all that. I choose not to stand on the pedestal of ultimate knowledge, or to clamor up it.  I don’t care to comment whether knowledge will solve any of the world’s wicked problems. I don’t know that not knowing will solve anything either. Nor do I presently care, but what other Myths about wisdom are out there? I can think of at least two off the top of my head that says knowledge is the actual source (not solution) of the wicked problems, and unsurprisingly they have proven to be much more perennial than the Pursuant’s creed.






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