If we are intellectually honest, we will all admit there are things we cannot know for certain but we never-the-less indicate that we do. Making matters worse is we now label things that we don’t know, and can’t know, but by doing so, we create the appearance of knowing!
Psychology sounds so precise, yet it attempts to understand and predict human interactions. Perhaps that is better than not thinking about it, but once you have an “ology” you get people trying to stand out with their special take on it.
Kant vs. Hume is an excellent example of philosophy. People go on and on arguing why Kant is wrong and then why Hume is wrong. It is almost a form of intellectual jousting … there is no real point to it … it is more about appearing smart by finding flaws in someone else’s thinking. Things like this of course also exist in the sciences, but the spirit of the debate is different.
For example, in physics, we have the Particle vs. Wave Theory of Light. They sit side-by-side even within the textbooks with rightful arguments on both sides. Even advocates for one point of view see the truth in the counter-arguments. And, perhaps one day there will be one “unifying theory” of light.
But, what I like about this unresolved issue is that civil discourse dominates the journals and the ongoing research. Nobody is trying to prove somebody wrong. Everyone admits being perplexed. Both sides see each other’s point of view. All voices are being heard.
What concerns me lately with our cancel culture and social unrest is that we are losing our ability to tolerate uncertainty. We want simple answers to our perplexing challenges. Perhaps we are unwilling to pay for them, but at least we want to know there is a light at the end of the tunnel and it is not an oncoming train!
The title for this blog comes from a part of a phrase many Christians quote about what happens when we die. The full phrase comes from 1 Corinthians vs. 13: 12 “For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.” There is a level of humility here that seems missing in all too many of the arguments I hear today.
Oh, and perhaps you remember the rest of this chapter, which is often read at weddings. It is often referred to as the “love chapter” since it describes the way loving people relate.
Yep … that seems to be the problem for sure today.