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I don’t have time.

You don’t have time. 

But there’s a lot of things you should know that people don’t know anymore, so I’m gonna try to cut to the chase and just jump in and not waste your time.

Because there’s gonna be a lot here to think about here.

The world is screwed up right now. 

No one knows what to think.
No one knows who to trust.
No one knows what to believe.

And you know what? This is our own damn fault.  We’ve spent years and years and years unthinking. Making life as easy, simple, and automatic as possible.

Sure, yes, technology has its’ perks (um, hello, I assume you’re reading this on the internet), but we’ve pushed aside and ignored all the downfalls of technology for so long now that we don’t even remember what they are.

And that’s a problem.

Look, I realize that time is always changing and that humans always try to feel like they’re progressing. But imho, there’s a difference between upgrading to a map after having used stars to navigate – and going from knowing how to orient yourself with a map to just mindlessly following GPS

We are losing the ability to think for ourselves.

And this is very serious.

So, anyway, the big question here: How do we learn to think for ourselves?

By “downthinking”.

Which yes is a word I just made up, but meaning:

Forget everything you know. About everything.
Because truthfully, you don’t even know anything anyways.

So:

We actually know nothing.

Buuuttttt……..Even though we can’t actually know anything, there is at least one thing that we can assume with such strong likelihood that we can’t help but claim as TRUE.

I bet you’re wondering how can we claim something as assumed to be true when we DON’T KNOW if it’s true?

Good Question.

So there’s this famous philosopher guy named Rene Decartes (that’s him over there –>) who is famous for this same question. He famously said “I think, therefore I am”, meaning that:

We can assume ourselves to exist, so therefore we exist.

I mean, sure, maybe we don’t exist and we’re all just in some huge collective consciousness imagining our existences. Or maybe *I’m* the only one that exists and all you people are figments of my imagination.

Who knows. It’s possible. Anything is, since we don’t know anything.

Remember basic geometry?

You know perpendicular lines? (in case you’ve forgotten, (they’re the ones that form 90 degree angles)

How many places do perpendicular line intersect? Only one intersection, right? Like this:

The lines go on forever in their own directions and can’t meet up again.

Right??

Well…….. only if you’re thinking in the two dimensional.

But what happens if those perpendicular lines are on the surface of a 3D sphere? Like this:

OMG, they meet up again on the other side! That’s right, 2D perpendicular lines “break the rules” of being perpendicular lines when they’re applied to a 3D surface.

Whoa. Mind blown? No? Ok cool – now extrapolate this out further to the next dimension beyond us. All our mathematical “rules” here in the 3D world totally work here in 3D world – but when we start to apply them to the 4D world, they can get a little screwy and doesn’t always apply.

See Related Post:  Critical Thinking/Logic Curriculum & Resources

This doesn’t mean our 3D rules are wrong or that we can’t know them, but just that we can only “know” something within the limitations of the world we’re dealing in.

Let’s continue. Where was I? Oh yeah, the things we can assume to know:

We exist. Therefore something exists.

In math terms, it’s called the Reflexive Property & you say it like this:
A=A.

In symbolic logic, it’s even easier to express:
A.

A thing is itself.
2 = 2.
What is, is.
What isn’t, isn’t.

Many of you are probably poo-pooing this, I know. You’re like “whatev Ronni. Duh a thing is a thing, that’s soooo boring, what’s the point in even stating it?” Here’s the point, and it a very important point:

YOU KNOW NOTHING.

The best any of us can ever, ever do is to build off of the smallest, most basic form of assumed knowledge possible and go from there. It’s like building a wall but not acknowledging the surface on which you wish to build. We have to build off something.

A is A. That’s all you can assume to know.

But it’s enough to begin to build everything else we believe we can ever know.

Is this post getting too long now?

It might be getting too long. Maybe we should take a break.

Summary of today’s lesson:
– We know nothing.
– But we can assume with enough certainty that for-all-intents-and-purposes and in order to build from – that something exists.

Come back tomorrow for more fascinating explorations into nothing. Trust me, though, maybe you’ll eventually learn something. 🙂

See more of my lessons in this Crash Course in Logic course.

2 Comments on Lesson 1: You Know Nothing. But you can assume A is A.

  1. Okay, posts like this are interesting (to me)! If A=A is logically true, then we can assume A=~A is logically ‘impossible’, and A<A is logically 'impossible'. (the "<" can mean before, less than, or other). This is all we really need to know to make sense out of anything (my opinion).

    Simple Logic:
    A=A — logically true
    A=~A — logically impossible
    A<A — logically impossible

    Other than A=A, there is nothing more certain in all of reality than that of a logical impossibility.

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