Saturday, October 7, 2017

Wisdom of the Unknowable

There is a long history of discourse in philosophy and religion about the the dual natures of wisdom and knowledge. While knowledge is about remembering events and feelings that we discover, wisdom is how we use that knowledge along with feeling to discover and choose one of many possible and desirable futures.

Anything that happens in a determinate universe is in principle knowable with a knowable cause and so wisdom in a determinate universe is completely based on causal knowledge. Since feelings in a determinate universe all have knowable causes, determinism presumes people can always know why they make the choices that they make. In contrast, people actually live in a quantum and therefore uncertain universe, which means that there are many things that happen with unknowable causes. The unknowable causes  of the quantum universe represent unknowable knowledge, which is a mystery in which people must simply believe. As a result, people have feelings that they simply cannot explain and therefore they make some choices that they cannot ever really understand.

There are actually many questions that we can ask that have no answers even in a determinate universe. Why is the universe the way that it is? Why are we here? Why are we here right now? And why is it us and not someone else who is here right now? Many devout determinate believers simply do not ask these kind of questions that have no answers.

The many questions that do have answers are part of what is knowable while the questions that we can ask that have no answers are part of the unknowable and yet the unknowable also is part of wisdom. The further beliefs that anchor consciousness represent the fundamental wisdom of the unknowable.

There is a long history of religions attributing the wisdom of unknowable events to supernatural and therefore unknowable causes. Religions have created large amounts of wisdom over several thousand years and much of that wisdom derives from supernatural revelations. Much of religious wisdom helps guide human compassion and selfishness, which are two necessary and yet complementary emotions for bonding people together or causing conflict that separates people.

Religions also reveal wisdom about other emotion complements;  pleasure and anxiety, joy and misery, anger and serenity, and pride and shame. Pleasure and anxiety, for example, are the most important emotions for individual survival while compassion and selfishness are the most important for civilization and bonding. Religious wisdom reinforces emotions and feelings that help people survive.

Secular wisdom likewise depends on both knowable and unknowable beliefs and so secular wisdom still depends on some essential supernatural beliefs. People must simply believe in the way the universe is and that matter and action are what make up the universe. Secular wisdom also means that there is a unique pleasure that each person has in discovering the world along with a unique anxiety that helps them avoid the many dangers of the world.

Secular wisdom means that each person has a unique compassion along with a unique selfishness in relations with others. There are therefore many unique bonds that people form with other people that weave civilization into the fabric that is has become. Since the values of both religious and secular wisdom overlap, the difference between secular and religious wisdom is in the nature of the individual versus the collective. Secular wisdom promotes the value of unique individual wisdom while religious wisdom promotes the value of common collective wisdom.

Secular wisdom supports the unique self journey and destiny of each individual person in the universe while religious wisdom supports the common journeys and destinys of a collective.