Marks and Remarks
Food for the Mind and Eye

No. 0140, September 20, 2017


  Circumventing Reality

     "The Popcorn Sphere and the Sea"

Copyright 2017 by S.W. Paul Wyszkowski

     In my various mini-essays over the years I have repeatedly preached that Reality ("what is actually the case") is inherently incompletely knowable. We cannot even be sure what it is that we think we do know. Or, for that matter, what it means "to know" to begin with. And yes, I can see your eyes begin to glaze over...

     Well, hallelujah! Wake up! Rejoice and be glad! "Why? What happened?" you ask, properly startled. Nothing and everything! The universe is evolving as best it can under the circumstances, making it possible for us to be happy, at least some of the time, despite and even because of our agnosia. In actual practice of living we not only do not need to know everything about everything, we are better off knowing little or nothing of most of what there is to know. Knowledge is a tool to be used for a purpose, not an end in itself.

     In my opinion, the best way to understand the world is to enjoy it. We cannot and never will fully understand it, but we can fully appreciate it. Appreciation is something that we bring to the world - it is not a thing that the world inflicts on us. Appreciation is, as they say, in the eye of the beholder. All that we really need to do (after taking care of the chores) is to behold and appreciate. Appreciation is, in the end, the only way of getting past the intractable inscrutability of "what is actually the case". It circumvents Reality to get to what actually matters. Which is to rejoice and be glad.

     "Amen," says Prickles, our resident philosophician and a happy hedgehog, "but there is also joy to be had in rational speculation about what might actually be the case, especially since some models of Reality allow us to make amazingly accurate predictions about future events. Which can be useful." True, true. But let's keep it in perspective: useful to whom? And for what? Of course, solving puzzles can be an enjoyable aesthetic activity on its own. "I know, right?" says Prickles the philosophician.