Christian Relaunch


Knowledge is the first imperative realm, and the base of all culture.

"Epistemic" is from Greek episteme (knowledge).

Accuracy is correct assessment of what it and is not the case, i.e. of truth. Without it all other choices would be futile.

Science is from Latin scientia which is simply knowledge, but it has come to mean the single-minded pursuit where all action is set aside and knowledge pursued as if for its own sake. I say "as if" because it must eventually serve action, not to mention even higher realms. The modern Westlands sometimes exaggerate the importance of science; if it is not in the service of higher ends, what do we gain but a life that, however pleasant, is (as Hobbes might have said) "brutish and long"? A wool sheep may have a long and pleasant life, but our goal should be always higher.

"I ought, as far as in me lies, to cultivate my understanding and to acquire knowledge, but only with the purpose of preparing thereby within me a larger field and wider sphere of duty. I ought to desire to have much, in order that much may be required of me."

Johann Gottlieb Fichte, The Vocation of Man (1800), Book 3

"Knowledge puffs up, but altruism builds up."

Paul of Tarsus, 1st Epistle to the Corinthians 8:1

"Accuracy is not a standard, to be embraced voluntarily. Inaccuracy occurs when our data is inadequate; nobody chooses to be inaccurate, though they may choose to be dishonest about what they know. So, if we accept your model of knowledge's underlying realms, knowledge rather than behaviour should be regarded as the indicative apex, and one of knowledge's overlying realms should be regarded as the imperative base."

Knowledge is not passive. We choose not only what to do but also what to think about; not only where to direct our sensory gaze but also how to interpret what we sense. I agree that nobody chooses inaccuracy as such, but equally nobody chooses betrayal or uglification as such; in each realm, deviance is a side-effect of a choice to disregard the natural standard in favour of some standard in accord with an idol revered by the self, not a direct choice to deviate for its own sake, and knowledge is no different in this.

Incidentally, action and respect are both rooted in knowledge, so your proposal would need to go further, dismantling at least parts of my model of knowledge's overlying realms, and I see no reason to doubt the accuracy (!) of that model.

The diagram shows how the effect of a self's attitude works its way through the various cognitive phases. (For explanations of these terms see the Glossary.)

Creeds. People reflect on their experience and express it. When such expressions crystalise into a set form I call it a creed. The clearest creeds are written documents, but consistently repeated verbal statements may also function as a creed, and may be a better guide to someone's real beliefs than a document they call their creed.

Creeds need to evolve, for the following reasons.

*1. Nobody can fully understand themself, or fully articulate that understanding, so nobody's creed is a perfect expression of their worldview, but it is important that creeds be as accurate as possible, because they always say (or imply) something about what is good as well as about what is true, and words influence actions. An accurate creed encourages actions consistent with the underlying Attitude. An inaccurate one fails to do so.

*2. The same words, to hearers of different periods or backgrounds, may convey different meanings, so a creed needs to keep pace with changes in language.

*3. No statement is immune against misconstrual.

However elaborately it tries to exclude them, misconstruals (wilful or inadvertant) are possible.

It is even vulnerable to those it explicitly excludes, for someone may say "I believe that the cat really truly and literally sat on the mat -- I believe that it is poetically true."

This may be a consequence of Godel's First Theorem.

Back to Cosmology.