Monday, October 25, 2004

The mistake of western epistemology

Its preoccupation with origins, the need for discovering and proving of the beginning of whatever they wish to classify, seems to come from its logic of linear cause and effect. What if reality actually exists in cycles of creation and recreation? Isn't it foolish to suppose that people who lived 2500 years ago were less advanced than we are? Can't we see that all of this bias in our view of history happens because we've put a beginning point at the year "0"? Separation of a few thousand years seems to excuse our insensitive ignorance and carelessness when we tend to overlook evidence that suggests a contrary picture of our past especially when it threatens our perception of our present.

Why can't we say frankly when we study our artifacts that the discoveries of archeology is based on chance, and by our decision of where we are going to chose to dig? What about all the evidence we haven't been able to dig up yet? Let's also declare clearly that history depends on who's writing it, it is usually written to justify the writer's point of view.

Maybe if we changed this basic and central assumption that there must be a single beginning, we can be released from the heavy burden of there having to be an end. Then we won't need to go into apocalyptic frenzy every a century or millennium ends, and we won't have to spend so much energy trying to prove that true or false beginning and actually start a much more engaging process of discovery.


Dale said...

Oh, yes, I agree so much!

It reminds me of Physics' obssession with finding the basic particles, and it's born of the same assumption: that if you go back far enough, you'll come to The Beginning, which is simple and comprehensible, and *then* you'll be able to work your way back to the present complexity and understand everything completely, from the ground up, with no possibility of error. Which depends on

1) there being a beginning

2) the beginning being simple, and

3) the development the complexity of the present, from that simplicity, being comprehensible.

Each of which seems a terribly improbable proposition, to me.

Cuauhtémoc said...

Hi, Dale, glad to know someone agrees. I sometimes get real frustrated at the institutions that still insist on continuing with their line of arguement even when they know deep down it doesn't apply anymore. Why can't they come out and say (especially when they're trying to teach to young minds that don't know better), "OK, that law (of time, beginning and ends) works under certain conditons, but not "all"!