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21 Sep 2010

Weakest Link

Posted by Oblivion in Philosophy | 6:12pm


The reason why advertising, marketing and PR work. The reason why public opinion can be played with, with fair ease (as this article suggests). The reason why image management consulting and gurus work. The reason why facts can be presented as per choice to prove or disprove anything in the courts of law. The reason why even empirical data are interpreted differently by a simple variation in criteria. Information asymmetry can make it worse, and distort invariably.

The consequences are, sometimes, devastating! One prays that it doesn't happen in the most precious of relationships, but life doesn't care! 

JK puts it brilliantly.

"Perception is clouded with judgment, with comparison, with desire. To perceive without the interference of the censor is arduous. Imagination builds the image of the self, and thought then functions within its shadows. From this self-concept grows the conflict between what is and what should be, the conflict in duality. Perception of the fact and idea about the fact are two entirely different states, and only a mind that is not bound by opinion, by comparative values, is capable of perceiving what is true."

To find what is true, perceptions must never be taken as absolute. That implies all beliefs, ideals, opinions, etc must end. Importantly, the authority of oneself must end. One must be naked. So long as "I" exists, truth will elude. Unless "I" dissolves in entirety, perception can never be a direct and immediate access to reality, as it is intuitively assumed.  

Russell emphasised all his life the importance of the limits of knowledge. Definite knowledge is minute, and probable knowledge is fine in the realm of scientific inquiry and must be held with skepticism. Beyond that, nothing can be known. Certainty, then, would be a detriment to perceiving what is true. For the same reason, he dealt with, in depth, the problem of how to reconcile some apparently obvious truths about our experience of the world with the possibility of certain kinds of perceptual error. Camus puts across a similar take in the following lines.

"This heart within me I can feel, and I judge that it exists. This world I can touch, and I likewise judge that it exists. There ends all my knowledge, and the rest is construction."

"We have a right to think that truth with a capital letter is relative. But facts are facts."

Truth is always beyond everything. Camus: "Always go too far, because that's where you'll find the truth".

Perception, unless admitted of fallibility, is the weakest link.

2 Comments | "Weakest Link" »

  1. By oblivion:

    26 Sep 2010, 3:55pm [ Reply ]

    @pratik: there's no way to know, no way to find out, is there? that's not important, anyways. the important thing is whether we see how fallible perception is, and understand all the factors that effect distortion. and can we see this as it happens?

  2. By pratik:

    23 Sep 2010, 12:30pm [ Reply ]

    how does one know if/when his perception is right/wrong? doesn't everyone believe his perception is correct?

    remember the story of the blind men and the elephant? so, how can one find out?

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