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Knowing the unknowable, or not

Discussion in 'The OT' started by Nick, Apr 2, 2013.

  1. Apr 2, 2013 #1 of 13
    Nick

    Nick Retired, part-time PITA DBSTalk Club

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    Years ago I was introduced by a mutual acquaintance to a woman who greeted me with "It's so nice to meet you. I know all about you."

    "You know all about me"...? Eek! How presumptuous. At the time, both my mother and my then wife of some 25 years knew me, but neither knew all about me. My best friend at the time knew me, but even he didn't know all about me. I don't remember exactly how I responded to the lady...probably with a cursory 'Thank you, nice to meet you.', but the gist of that brief encounter long ago has stayed with me over the years -- not because it was significant, but because of the audacity of that lady's statement, 'I know all about you.'

    Really.

    The online Dictionary.com defines the word "know" as:
    - to perceive or understand as fact or truth;
    - to have established or fixed in the mind or memory;
    - to be cognizant or aware of;
    - be acquainted with.

    Over the years I have developed a somewhat dubious theory, or better, a personal philosophy about "knowing", to wit:

    "It is important for me to know what I know. It is equally important for me to know what I don't know (lest i attempt to pilot a Boeing 787). Also, in the interest of time, a wise person should also be able to distinguish between that which is unknown but knowable, from that which is unknown and ultimately, unknowable."

    The latter of which may be a gray area.

    What do you know?
     
  2. Apr 2, 2013 #2 of 13
    AntAltMike

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  3. Apr 2, 2013 #3 of 13
    sigma1914

    sigma1914 Well-Known Member DBSTalk Club

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    I know that, "I know all about you" is just a somewhat common greeting when a mutual friend introduces two people. Much like many sayings, it's not meant to be taken literally. I know it's weird to be so affected by "the audacity of that lady's statement" which was not that serious.
     
  4. Apr 2, 2013 #4 of 13
    AntAltMike

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  5. Apr 2, 2013 #5 of 13
    phrelin

    phrelin Hall Of Fame DBSTalk Club

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    Ah, well, the lady should have said: "I've heard a lot about you."

    Regarding knowledge, I concluded in my last philosophy course that I know nothing while simultaneously knowing about something about many things as reflected by this discussion in Wikipedia:
    And if one reads the whole article, one will discover the truth about knowledge - nobody knows what it is.
     
  6. Apr 2, 2013 #6 of 13
    spartanstew

    spartanstew Dry as a bone DBSTalk Club

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    Precisely.

    I don't think I've every let someone's minor grammatical error stay with me for years.
     
  7. Apr 2, 2013 #7 of 13
    Brandon Wedgeworth

    Brandon Wedgeworth Administrator Staff Member Administrator DBSTalk Gold Club

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    Was thinking exactly the same thing... I've never had somebody say "I know all about you". I'm kind of a smartass, so I might just respond to that with something like "Really, then exactly how much do I weigh?" or something similar.
     
  8. Apr 2, 2013 #8 of 13
    Stewart Vernon

    Stewart Vernon Roving Reporter Staff Member Super Moderator DBSTalk Club

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    There are known unknowns (things that we conclude must be, but about which we possess no information)

    And there are unknown unknowns (things that we have no reason to even suspect, but all the same they are whether we are cognizant of them or not)

    But...

    we cannot possibly ever know the unknowable. By definition, if it is unknowable then we can not possibly know it. We can know OF it, by which I mean to say... we can know that there are unknowable things... but that is the extent to which we can "know" about such unknowable things.

    :)
     
  9. Apr 3, 2013 #9 of 13
    MysteryMan

    MysteryMan Well-Known Member DBSTalk Club

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    +1
     
  10. longrider

    longrider Well-Known Member DBSTalk Club

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    This thread made me think of a quote from Chuang Tzu:

    "To let understanding stop at what cannot be understood is a high attainment. Those who cannot do it will be destroyed on the lathe of heaven"
     
  11. Lord Vader

    Lord Vader Supreme Member DBSTalk Club

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  12. Stuart Sweet

    Stuart Sweet The Shadow Knows!

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    Vader... careful. That's a Trek quote ;)
     
  13. dmspen

    dmspen Hall Of Fame DBSTalk Club

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    I know
     

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