Knowing Much

To the worldly elements of life, I say, a man should endeavor to know them all. Above the multitude, the seemingly innumerable facade, where details elude our grasp, there are in fact only a handful of themes. There are no borders or boundaries which stand in the way from our discovering them, and studying and coming to know them well. Myth, legend, history and literature all serve to highlight and impress their causes and consequences firmly into our minds. By a strain of our attention and the imprint of memory that it creates, we may be able to forgo the inevitable displeasure which comes from accidentally falling into the common traps of life.

I say ‘inevitable displeasure’, for there is likely no earthly way to avoid the traps themselves. A sensible man can only hope to bring about a change in his reactions to them. His relationship to the world depends entirely on an inner understanding of its laws and effects. The virtues and vices of human nature have all been outlined many times before, from millenia past, where the lifespan of paper cannot reach, nor the libraries that hope to survive the cycles of civilization. It is a blind and deaf mans pleasure to indulge in the idea that new, unexplored, territory exists in the sphere of human morality and the dramas therein brought to reality.

The themes of life depend on a sevenfold nature, like the spectrum of light or the musical octave of do-re-mi-fa-sol-la-si-do. Like the Star of David there are three of an active or positive nature, and three which are passive or negative. One other theme stands high above, as if a force of inspiration, standing quite apart from those that can be embraced by words.

Disease or Crime

Invention or Healing

All other derivate themes come from one of these, where combinations of complication compound the elements into fluffy admixtures which stir us into confusion. Men must learn to organize their perspective in any opportune moment that life brings to bear and seize the chance to group any and all of the events in his life into one of these six categories. The grass is growing (growth) and needs to be cut (destruction). The room is untidy (growth) and needs to be cleaned (refinement). The work is coarse and needs to be made fine (invention). The man has grown sick (disease) and needs to be made well (healing). These core processes or themes all act in a certain definite direction, completing their work as a complementary service to one another.

Let us take it on a psychological level. A man gossips (disease/crime) behind the back of another and encourages others to think poorly towards them. The hostess notices someone is uncomfortable in a certain situation and intentionally remedies conditions (refinement) in order to make them feel more at ease (healing). The boy in the classroom memorizes arbitrary calculations and facts (growth). A strong boy later that day feels bestial urges to harm (destruction) him, albeit only by words. Newfound lovers share their feelings for one another and work to get passed any emotional hangups which stand in their way (healing and regeneration).

We are made comfortable to the idea that knowing very little or nothing at all is the natural state. We like to agree in one resolute direction and ignore contradictions. We secretly loathe the idea of paradox, that two glaringly opposite points of view can both be equally correct.  Yet in the landscape of business and economy, in crafts and trades, or the realms of art and science, knowing much is a fact of the inheritance of technique, knowledge and the repetitive application of successive experiment and observation. The human condition is by default one which can be likened to a pitchblack room with objects laid down and scattered in patterns. Men, without the virtue of light, walk and stumble around, unable to realize that both the objects and their patterns of disposition have meaning and value.


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