"It's possible for an author to hold right views, and yet to be unable to express them in a polished style. But to commit one's reflections to writing without being able to arrange or express them clearly or attract the reader by some sort of charm, indicates a man who makes an unpardonable misuse of leisure and his pen." - Cicero, Tusculan Disputations I. III. 6
The following pages are an unpardonable misuse of my leisure and keyboard.
These pages are an attempt to record my thoughts on the particular subject of Truth. They do not purport to be anything more than a description of my thoughts. I do not pretend to have found the answers to other people's questions, I have only found some answers to some of my own. I arrive at conclusions with humility, and I recognize these conclusions are merely the product of my limited understanding. The reader should not expect to find anything well written, organized effectively, or to find any content that is clear, intelligent, valuable, or profound. They are merely a description of my thoughts and nothing more.
My exposition attempts to convey its ideas using written language and the occasional illustration. I believe this presents several difficulties and limitations.
To begin with, there are my own personal shortcomings. So that the reader is aware, my writing is an intense source of frustration for me. I know that my writing is bad; I do not pretend to have any literary ability. I want to put ideas in succinct, clear propositions, but this is simply beyond my ability. Also, there is too much complex material for me to simplify, and each step in my thought is a microcosm in itself and I could expound and clarify them almost indefinitely. I have trouble finding the proper balance between fully developing each and every logical step and expounding on the details of my thought to the point of prolixity and tedium for the reader, or, on the other extreme, writing easily digestible, pithy steps with little clarification. In general, I tend toward the latter, usually leaving it up to the reader to draw the tacit logical connections that I have made.
There is also a severe deficiency in my ability to articulate my thoughts. There seems to be some bad neural pathways between the areas of my brain where I comprehend and contemplate and their connections with the areas of language (I am right-brain dominant and a spatial thinker). I have no conscious sense of style. My slipshod phrasing of sentences, my irresistible attraction for utilization of the wrong word, and casual, promiscuous indulgences of them; my estranged relationship with grammar; and what the writing itself seems to express, all often belie my intended meaning. Furthermore, the presented writing is a patchwork of notes and failed past expositions so there might be additional problems of fluidity and consistency of development.
I think there are also limitations of objective language itself. I think that the language I must use confines the thought that is trying to be expressed. That is not to say that my thought is bound by the limits of language, it most certainly is not, but rather that when I engage in the use of language it is a particular endeavor which narrows my focus and guides my thought along the paths established in language's mechanistic inner workings. I think that our use of language sets the parameters for our interchange of ideas. It establishes the gales, currents, and tides our ships must use to reach harbor for our trade and exchange. Language makes the roads on which we must carry our wares to market, wearing grooves in the ground that force our wheels to run within them. There are unique thoughts, and also frequently used ones with nuance, that have no accepted corresponding words in language to express them, and context does not often make this clear, so one must borrow words that are in use, but these already have common uses that don't match the writer's meaning.
I have vacillated between using words like "truth", "reality", "rationality", "knowledge", "evidence", "proof", etc., and coining my own words to use for my meaning. I believe these words also already carry with them a value recognized by our culture and so their use, sometimes intentionally used by other writers for manipulation of the reader's understanding, but usually unconsciously and unintentionally, often bias and influence the understanding of both the writer and the listener. Once such words are used and grammatical structures employed, the writer might forget the original meaning of his thoughts and unexpectedly begin to understand his own meaning in terms of the common use of the words, a type of red herring. And the reader might understand the words according to their common use instead of the way the writer is intending to use them. Through the use of particular words, the reader can assume more or less emphasis or intended value of a claim unintended by the writer. And, of course, each reader brings his or her own personality, understanding, culture, and background experiences to interpret the language differently. I have decided to use these standard words anyway and to hope that the reader can remember my meaning and not let the words hijack his understanding of what I am trying to say.
These problems with language are exacerbated when the content covered is of such a nature as to largely lie outside of what has been conversed on before. The foundation of my system is entirely subjective and begins at the most basic level of my experience and thought. I think there is a fundamental limit to definition and description that one cannot transcend without merely using synonyms and circular definitions, but rather one must let experience itself be the final definition. For example, I take a simple word like "blue" and I find myself unable to provide a sufficient definition for it. How could I define or describe it that would give a person who has never had sight an impression of blue before his mind's eye? This difficulty of communicating the content will be all the more common in my writing because, as I mentioned before, my exposition begins at the most basic level of my subjective experience. Furthermore, my thoughts exist as an inter-connected system in my mind, and it is only to communicate them to others that they are chopped and stuffed into the pre-established forms of language and grammar. This requires it to be reconstituted in a structure foreign to itself, and in the writing itself it requires a linear form of development to represent a multi-dimensional original, which might give the reader an impression of its lacking certain relations and support, but which I believe the system, as a whole, does offer. This also causes a problem of where to begin so that the reader can best understand what is trying to be conveyed. The thoughts I wish to convey exist for me as a convoluted interconnected structure, but I am forced to begin my exposition at a particular starting point, perhaps giving it an appearance of rootlessness. This has put me in a difficult position of choosing where to begin, and I must admit that this has been a constant source of frustration and the source of an untold number of rewrites and reworking.
This contorting of meaning's original form in thought into the alien form of language doesn't merely result in misunderstanding. There are instances when I must write something to attempt to convey an idea, but it shouldn't be taken as part of my system of thoughts, but rather as a gesturing to something close to it, and there will be instances when the meaning suggested by my written language will contradict itself. This is a problem with my written language but not with the system of thoughts I'm intending to convey. If the reader can look beyond the problems of cohesion in the written text but use it as a clue to discover the system of thoughts I am intending to communicate, then all such problems should disappear, or have for me at least.
My limitations of expression, the limitation of communication itself, and the difficulties of the subject matter all provide enormous obstacles to the accurate communication of my thoughts. However, I donít think that the conveyance of my thoughts is necessarily hopeless. I believe that through the chance that they have the same fundamental phenomena and experiences, that my definitions, contextual structures, and through reflective, logical analysis on the part of the reader, what I write still has a chance of being understood the way I intend it to be, and this is my aim.
Without presuming to give my thoughts too much importance or influence over the minds of others, just to obviate a possible undesired outcome, I feel I must forewarn a few readers about the potential dangers of the content on this site. On the level of the individual, the possible outcome I warn of is no less than the undermining of all of one's hopes and values, one's feeling of security, and one's most cherished beliefs. This is not, by any means, my intended aim, but merely a possible unintentional result of contemplating these thoughts. The purpose of my inquiry was to discover Truth, whatever it would turn out to be, without letting my own desires and prejudices obscure or color my sight of it. My thoughts on Truth turned out to undermine my own original hopes and beliefs. On the whole, this system of thoughts is strongly skeptical and agnostic, undermining rational support for practically all beliefs, and almost entirely negative and destructive, as much as I would have liked the conclusions to be positive and creative, but this is the system that my inquiry into Truth has lead me to.
My interest is in Truth, I am not interested in rhetorical competition or in gratifying my ego. My thoughts on this site do not seek to persuade the reader. My thoughts do not seek practical value. They do not promote an agenda. They are not an attempt at self-validation, intellectual competition, or pedantry. They do not seek explanation or certainty. My conclusions do not pretend to be profound, authoritative, without precedent, or to correctly make sense of the objections or positions of others. I do not presume to have answered the questions of others, only to have answered some questions for myself. I only asseverate that these conclusions were arrived at in good faith and sincerely, and as far as I'm consciously aware, were arrived at independently. So the reader should not interpret my language to be self-important, absolute, or authoritarian.
To save time for those readers who are curious but who do not wish to spend the time required to peruse these pages, so that they can pass on to more personally satisfying and worthwhile pursuits, the conclusions on this site are skeptical and agnostic on almost all subjects. This is the starting point of a pragmatic system, utilizing epoche and reason, to best acheive desired subjective values and ends, but recognizes from a wider perspective a subjective value pluralism in regard to others. From this I promote an ethic of tolerance, coexistence, harmony, and peace; as well as a negative libertarian political system, supporting the liberal values and natural balance and equality.
The content of this website is an attempt at a systematic exposition of my thoughts on Truth, nothing more. As such, it presupposes the legitimacy of a language of mentalese. Phenomena, thoughts, concepts, and experiences are its indivisible elemental building blocks, from which I construct my worldview. The guiding intention behind all of these thoughts was a search for Truth. All the content on this site has been framed, directed, and limited by this intention. My search for true beliefs is the foundational starting point. It is conducted through a rationalistic approach, so even the current views of science will be looked at through a rationalistic lense, which I believe is the proper logical order, a most unpopular view.
This system of thoughts is the result of two main philosophical influences: DesCartes's dream and demon arguments, and Hume's refutation of the argument from design, and his empirical argument of correspondence as causation, So that the system of thoughts that I present are based on an epistemology which is the outcome of the logical forms of those arguments generalized.
I am amenable to respectful discussion, learning from others, and kindly, well-intentioned criticisms and objections; all are welcomed with gratitude and enthusiasm.