But How Do You Know?

We think and act as if we know much more than we actually do. Not because we’re full of ourselves (necessarily), but because it’s quite tricky to actually know anything.

Knowing things is tricky because outside of closed systems with stringent and well defined rules, truth is ambiguous.

Arithmetic is an example of one of these systems. At its core is a shared communal truth about what is is true, what isn’t and how the laws which determine truth operate.

You only know that three plus four is seven because those are the rules that society has agreed upon.

Time is another of these systems.

It’s 12 noon when the sun is at it’s highest because that’s the unspoken law we all agree to organise around.

There isn’t much benefit in disagreeing about these things, so we tend not to.

As a result, over time these systems become reliable because we share consensus.

Things are only true because people agree that they are.

From consensus, truth manifests.

This is why it’s harder to know things about politicians or the weather, because consensus is nearly impossible to achieve on either.

One person thinks it’s cold outside, the other doesn’t.

One person likes a candidate, the other can’t stand them.

You can’t know whether it’s cold outside or whether the candidate should be elected in the same way you know what the time because the truth of these things is relative.

You can only know that you feel cold outside, and that you think Scott Morrison should bury himself.

This doesn’t mean that it’s cold outside, or that Scott Morrison should do anything of the sort.

You can know when it’s five-o’clock. We all agree on that part like we agree that murder should be punished and the sky is up.

What you can’t know is that five-o’clock is dinner time. Even though might be dinner time for you and your family every night, because it’s not dinner time for everyone.

Some people might have dinner at another time every night.

There’s nothing wrong with this, it’s just the way things are.

Some people might find the idea of a dinner time completely absurd because they don’t eat dinner.

Dinner time for some might change from nigh-to-night.

Some people believe so strongly that they eat dinner at the correct time that they try and force other people to do the same.

Sometimes, these people (or groups of people) get angry when people to refuse to eat at their time, so they begin to argue and fight.

There are times where two groups of people are so sure that their dinner time is the true time, that they’re willing to kill each-other over it.

These disagreements are as ridiculous as they are avoidable.

Unless you see someone eating dinner at a time which is harming somebody elese; shut up, enjoy your food, and keep your dinner time to yourself until you’re able to invite people over for dinner and share a meal with them respectfully.

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