If I had to identify the most critical element of the shaping of my life and persona, it has to be my passion for the pursuit of truth/accuracy/reality. At first I thought this was something that came about in my thirties. However, over the years in doing various exercises to identify my true mission and purpose in life, I realize I’ve always been hugely concerned with identifying, understanding and conveying what was truthful and accurate – for my own purposes, but also for others; even from childhood.
Unfortunately, this drive resulted in a young boy who naively thought everyone wanted to hear the accurate details and retelling of this-that-or-the-other. Surely everyone wanted to know the most accurate conveyance of truth, right? I went on FAR too long describing something and everything I experienced (or “knew”) to the n’th degree, quickly losing the interest of whomever it was I was communicating. My now-adult son is similarly stricken. I only hope he comes to this realization during his life and makes an appropriate adjustment.
At some point in my mid-twenties, I realized no-one really cared about the details of pretty much anything. In my twenties I also was married, working a full-time job, going to night school, raising twins, doing improvements on my first home, and later, restoring a vintage muscle car. There was little time for philosophical thinking of any sort. So, my youthful obsession with identifying and conveying “truth” took a 10- to 15-year hiatus.
At some point in my late-30s or early 40s I became exposed to, and started exploring, the more philosophical aspects of life. My passion and drive for “truth” was resurrected. Since then it’s something I cannot escape.
When setting up the categories for this website I struggled with what to name this inescapable passion of mine. I finally settle on “Knowledge Adventuring” because I truly feel that the digging, researching, seeking and discovery has been (and continues to be) a wonderful adventure.
What Does It Include?
For the world at-large it could mean any number of things. For me it boils down to four primary areas:
- Proper Thinking
- Philosophy & Religion
Once again, I struggled with how to group and categorize the elements of “Knowledge Adventuring” that encompass my obsession and which drives my focus. I could have laid out numerous sub-categories, but in the interest of simplicity I stuck with these four, as almost everything can be rolled up under them.
In this arena you’ll be seeing topics oriented towards what I can best describe as “Intellectual Integrity.” It includes all the various barriers to accurate (and true) critical thinking that face us as sentient, emotional human beings. Appeals to emotion . . . authority . . . confirmation bias . . . cognitive dissonance . . . orthodoxy . . . conditioning . . . persuasion . . . group-think . . . disinformation . . . propaganda . . . logical fallacies . . . poor observation . . . skepticism . . . pseudo-skepticism . . . All the things that screw us over from getting to the absolute truth.
The bottom line:
>>> How can I (or anyone) practice the most sincere, accountable intellectual inquiries in order to uncover and identify the real, most accurate picture of the “truth?” And don’t think this will be a simple exercise in “what do the experts say?” or “what is the majority, orthodox opinion?” This won’t be of interest to lazy thinkers. At all.
The result of “proper thinking” as applied to a person’s intellectual pursuits? . . . a world of adrenaline-rush discovery!
Philosophy & Religion
I’m not a philosophy major. But the simple act of asking the big questions of life put you into the act of philosophical thinking. Big questions like: Why are we here? Where did we come from? How should we interact with others? What ethics and morals should I pursue and use? Is religion necessary for spiritualism, morals, ethics? How much control should one person (or a group of people) have over another individual? Should I trust the things I’ve been taught while growing up? Is there a god? Am I honestly looking at all alternatives before settling on what I believe to be the foundations of truth? Can I be sure what is “real?” Is it okay for cultural norms to be different from one society to the next? Am I thinking correctly?
Surely, these are some heavy-duty questions. But they drive you towards some fun realizations and personal, intellectual, emotional challenges. They are life-expanding.
History is boring for many (perhaps most) people. For me, there is a great richness in so many elements of history. The magnificent achievements of the Sumerians, Babylonians, Egyptians, Greeks, Romans, Chinese, and Mayans – among others. What caused the Dark Ages? How advanced were the Greeks? (far beyond what you may imagine) How magnificent is The Renaissance? What about The Enlightenment?
Beyond the standard textbook history is also an undercurrent of alternative history. Who actually writes the history? What have they left out, and why (both ancient and more modern)? What is the evidence of more advanced civilization during a time before what we’re taught? What are the issues with academic archaeology? What are the issues with specialization vs generalization? Why are engineers seeing things in ancient artifacts and architecture that archaeologists have heretofore ignored and glossed over? What anomalies are discovered, buried and ignored? What is the “Knowledge Filter?”
Science too can be very boring for most people. How exciting is it though to discover the mysteries of the universe? Planets, stars, nebulae, galaxies, electromagnetism, gravity, physics, applied sciences, etc.
And again, beyond the standard textbook science, there is an undercurrent of alternative science. Do we really know what propels the wheels of the solar system and universe? Are academic theories of cosmology workable and observable beyond the math employed to arrive at their conclusions? Is the Big Bang backed by solid science and observation? Are Black Holes real and observed? Is gravity the only major motive force in the universe? Is there more to “what’s out there” than we’re taught? Is zero-point (free) energy possible? If so, what are the ramifications? How do scientific revolutions occur and who typically makes those paradigm-shattering discoveries? Is the Scientific Method really used in science? And again, as in History, what anomalies are discovered, buried and ignored? What is the “Knowledge Filter?”
For those with an intellectual bent, there is a rich and exciting world of possibilities and discovery awaiting beyond the mundaneness of daily living and spoon-fed “news.”
As for me, I have to search, seek, refine, tear down and rebuild assumptions and beliefs with each new element of discovery that is validated with a reasonably high-level of confidence. If I can’t get to that percentage, I must withhold a firm stand until more truth can be uncovered.