Friday, January 30, 2009

Three Aspects of Liberty: Awareness

In the previous two essays, I demonstrated how America regressed to a pre-Revolution state that might conceivably seem familiar to the Tories who once enjoyed the unrivaled security and prosperity of George III's empire. In those days, as in other times, intellectuals turned the wheels of revolution and advocated their brand of back-to-nature philosophy in the form of John Locke's Natural Law.

But if freedom has since lost its meaning, as I claim, why is there so little outcry among Americans who still pay lip service to the ideal of liberty? It is tempting for me to say that this is because prosperity, or "way of life," feels so much like our notion of genuine freedom that we can't make a distinction. Certainly that would be a form of ignorance indeed. But the citizens of George Washington's era also enjoyed relative prosperity, yet they rose up against their government. What made the difference?

Our word "liberty" comes from the Latin word liber. When used as an adjective, liber means "the quality of being free" or "lacking restrictions." When used as a noun, liber means "book."

In order to be Liber, a person must be aware. A man who does not examine premises, test his faith, or think his own thoughts cannot expect to become master of himself or of his destiny. Such people would be perfectly satisfied with no real responsibilities and with infantile dependency upon artificial social systems. On the other hand, free men and women are prepared for liberty through literacy and education. A true liberal education is designed to prepare its students for the hard responsibilities of freedom. To be truly free, we must become generalists: "A classical definition of a liberal education is that you know everything about something, and something about everything." 1

A friend of mine recently brought to my attention an article published by the ACM entitled The Five Orders of Ignorance.2 In this article, Phillip Armour lays out the orders of ignorance as follows:

0th Order Ignorance (0OI)— Lack of Ignorance. I have 0OI when I know something and can demonstrate my lack of ignorance in some tangible form.

1st Order Ignorance (1OI)— Lack of Knowledge. I have 1OI when I don’t know something and can readily identify that fact. 1OI is basic ignorance.

2nd Order Ignorance (2OI)— Lack of Awareness. I have 2OI when I don’t know that I don’t know something. That is to say, not only am I ignorant of something (for instance I have 1OI), I am unaware of this fact.

3rd Order Ignorance (3OI)— Lack of Process. I have 3OI when I don’t know a suitably efficient way to find out I don’t know that I don’t know something. This is lack of process, and it presents me with a major problem: If I have 3OI, I don’t know of a way to find out there are things I don’t know that I don’t know.

4th Order Ignorance (4OI)— Meta Ignorance. I have 4OI when I don’t know about the Five Orders of Ignorance.

What should become the central pursuit of a society that is interested in the principle of liberty, considering that liberty can only be secured in an atmosphere of general awareness? Who among us, in addition to heeding our life's calling, should not be engaged in the career of liberty? To be free, we must be educated.

"Ah!" Some might say, "But we already put such a tremendous emphasis on education in America! We understand this requirement for freedom!"

Do we?

Eric Hoffer wrote that "it stands to reason that the central pursuit of a society attracts and swallows individuals who by nature are meant for other careers."3 He also claimed that "the best of our literature, painting, sculpture, music, etc. has not come from our schools."4

So what is the central pursuit of our society, if it isn't liberty or even individual fulfillment? It is the quest for efficiency and innovation; to compete with foreign powers in a global marketplace. Instead of providing us with the liberal education that will prepare us as free men and women, our schools are designed to provide us with the security of good jobs -- to maintain America as the wealthiest and most powerful nation in the world.

In short, we are a massively illiterate people. Yes, we can read the words and (arguably) follow the instructions, but as individuals we no longer own much knowledge or remember first principles. We have traded knowledge for minutia and principles for privileges.

It all comes down to leisure. When I say "leisure," I do not mean that form of largely useless entertainment that we have come to associate with leisure in modern times. In fact, the contemporary idea of leisure is partly to blame:
A great media metaphor shift has taken place in America, with the result that the content of much of our public discourse has become dangerous nonsense... Under the governance of the printing press, discourse in America was different from what it is now -- generally coherent, serious and rational... under the governance of television, it has become shriveled and absurd. 5
The truth is that a rational sort of leisure is actually the solution to the problem.

For instance, Hobbes said that leisure is the Mother of Philosophy.

Eric Hoffer taught that leisure is required for a person to grow and mature; time for leisure enables one to leave the juvenile madhouse of constant activity and continual change (this comes from a man who spent many of his leisure hours reading Montaigne and Dostoevsky among many, many others).6

The Mormon religious Utopian and savant, Hugh Nibley, derided the American "work ethic" as pretentious, greedy, and distracting: "Those very popular how-to-get-rich books, which are the guides to the perplexed of the present generation, say we should keep our minds fixed at all times on just one objective; the person who lets his thoughts wander away from anything but business even for a moment does not deserve the wealth he seeks. Such is the high ethic of the youth today. And such an ethic places us not on the level of the beast but below it." 7

The British engineer, C.H. Douglas, ruminated about the 15th century laborer who was "able to maintain himself in a standard of living considerably higher, relative to his generation, than that of the present time."8 It turns out that Christopher Columbus' contemporaries somehow recorded far less time working in the fields providing for themselves than we, in our mechanized and automated age, spend in the office working for someone else.

In contemplating the eight pathologies of character that mass-schooled students consistently demonstrated during his thirty year tenure as a public School Teacher, John Taylor Gatto attributed it to either schools or television. "It's a simple matter of arithmetic, " he wrote, "Between schooling and television, all the time the children have is eaten up."9 The leisure hours of our youth are filled up with equal portions of Global Economy and entertainment.

Gatto traced the blight of modern public schooling to an infancy where fathers had been removed from their homes by a new mass-production industry, from the resulting broken families and moral vagaries that would be put right by a reinvented American State destined to become, like James I, Father of the People; and from roots in the Prussian school system originally designed to churn out professional soldiery that would reign on the battlefields of the Napoleonic wars.

If mass urbanization and industrialization constitute the first great American Tragedy, then the resulting idea of public schooling is a close second. In a system designed to produce efficient workers for a global mass-market economy, we lost the process we needed to become prepared for the unique and individual responsibilities of liberty. Those lessons require moral, character, and mental education that our schools, and now our communities, are no longer equipped to give us. We live, for the most part, with fourth order ignorance.

"Character," Helen Keller once told us, "is not developed in ease and quiet." As of January 28, 2009, and with the sum of $819 billion imaginary dollars, the United States Government (We the People), made an attempt to restore ease and quiet and to defer the development of national character for another day and for another generation. For the time being (it is widely hoped), instead of going home to our families and communities, we will return to our jobs and to our economy and to our silly schools.

Because in America, ignorance truly is bliss.

1. Donald Knuth: A Life's Work Interrupted (CACM interview with Donald Knuth by Edward Feigenbaum), Communications of the ACM, Volume 51, Number 8, p35

2. The Five Orders of Ignorance, by Phillip G. Armour, Communications of the ACM, Volume 43, Number 10, p19.

3. The Temper of Our Time, p.98

4. Ibid. p.38

5. Amusing Ourselves to Death (20th Anniversary Edition, 2006), by Neil Postman, p.16

6. The Temper of Our Time, ch. 2

7. "Work We Must, But the Lunch is Free", Approaching Zion, 1989, by Hugh Nibley, p. 236

8. Quoted in "I Fear No Peevish Master," by Anthony Cooney; Beyond Capitalism and Socialism, 2008, p.17

9. Dumbing us Down, 2nd edition, 2005, byt John Taylor Gatto. p.28


Dave said...

I really can't argue with anything -- I do agree strongly that awareness is vital to liberty. I feel that awareness is such a simple thing, and yet much in absence.

Nevertheless, I think it is likely that someone who is aware will struggle for his liberty, and ultimately it's up to the individual to take this path. Could America do more to raise this awareness? I don't know. Probably, but I think there is already ample opportunity.

I think if America has a failing, it is a failing of the people and not the failing of the system -- especially if they surrender everything to the system.

Peter McCombs said...


It's true that individuals are responsible for their own liberty. Only when enough people have secured liberty for themselves will the needed change be in place to effect another revolution.

The greatest failing of America is not that the opportunities are lacking, but that we don't know enough to take advantage of them.

I make that claim with reservation. While I think that people can still achieve independence in America, I realize that it is getting harder even for the "Liber" to be free.

New legislation is always causing trouble for self-sufficiency. Do you want to raise your own kids? Take charge of your own health? Build your own business? Own your own land and property? This is where we must be diligent: true believers who know better than we do are constantly trying to take individual choice from us by coercion. They want our kids, our health, our livelihoods, our education, and our property. We must not let them have it, whether they come in the guise of socialists or capitalists. True, they have our best interests always in mind (so they say), but so did George III.

Beyond the overtly coercive policies, I don't get very worked up about poor policy coming out of Washington, or even locally. Free people are less effected by the foolish decisions of government because they are less dependent on government in the first place.

I want to disagree that our failing is a failing of people. I am more inclined to eye the system as the culprit. Perhaps what I really mean is that The People aren't culpable, although perhaps they have failed.

Actually, all un-free people have failed and continue in a state of failure. How can a single despot keep power over an unwilling people, if all of his subjects have reached for freedom at once?

My point is, how can you blame ignorant people for poor choices? This isn't moral relativism at all; we still acknowledge failure, but this is tempered by other factors. We have to look at the root of ignorance.

I think my next essay will be on the nature of machines, so you can see what I am talking about. A "system" really is a type of machine, whether the parts are bits in a computer, cogs in a clock, or people in a bureaucracy.

Dave said...

How can you blame ignorant people? I don't know -- but consider this: Those who would take over your health care, the education of your children, etc. think they're just trying to save you from your own ignorance.

The nature of ignorance is tricky. I would argue that a person is ignorant because they simply do not choose to be aware. They are satisfied with whatever they have. I believe in Carl Roger's idea that every person possesses a drive toward "self-actualization." Self-awareness is the first step toward finding meaning in life and fulfilling one's potential -- which encompasses the fully-aware choosing of ethical principles such as liberty.

I think it's impossible to remain ignorant when one is self-aware. Eric Hoffer is a good example of someone who strove toward self-actualization. He could just as well have been complacent with the life of his demographic. If more people demonstrated the same sense of awareness, the system couldn't possibly continue without undergoing major change.

Jodi said...

I believe that the people who are actually in the class rooms trying to educate you have your best interest in mind, but the further up you go the more you find people with other motives. I believe those that actually give care to patients have their best interests at heart, but the further up that ladder you go the more you find people looking out for their multi-billion dollar pocket books instead of the individual. I believe that the local government has your best interest in mind because you live in their neighborhoods and, therefor want to care for you so that in turn you will care for them. But the further away you get from personalization you find there are other motives that drive people.

The people at the bottom of the ladder completely believe in what they are doing, yet they too are ignorant. They are ignorant of the motives of those in charge. If you have ignorant people caring for ignorant people how can you expect anything other than ignorance to be your outcome?

Those at the top of the ladder who are making the decisions are fully aware of what effects their actions have. It is imperative that we remain ignorant in order for them to continue to thrive.

Children are naturally curious and have a built in desire to learn, but it only take a few months of kindergarten to stifle that natural curiosity. In schools we are taught what to think and know, not how to thing and discover. After at least 12 years, more if you continue your education after high school, you no longer remember how to learn. You become dependent on others (i.e. the government) for your knowledge, healthcare and way of life.

Consider Hurricane Katrina. People were warned far enough in advance to get out, but could they? Not without the governments help because they either didn't know how to leave or where to go or could not financially support their leaving. Afterwards you had many people without homes, thrust into terrible shelter situations. The situation for these people has not gotten better. They have depended on the government to provide every aspect of their living needs because they have lost the ability to think for themselves. They no longer know how to do things that would support not only their immediate needs, but also their long term needs. Yet they are not to blame. They were taught to depend on a system, one that gives handouts instead of knowledge. A person who does not know how to think cannot be self-aware.

Yes, there is major change that is needed. People need to be taught how to think.

Peter McCombs said...

In order to choose something, you have to know that there is a choice in the first place.

The thing with 3OI is that you don't know. You don't even have a way to find out.

We all most likely have 3OI with regards to some things (What things? We don't know and maybe never will!).

There are fundamental principles of Liberty, Property, etc., that most Americans believe they already understand merely by virtue of being American or by virtue of being "educated" in the American system.

The problem is that the system has lost the process by which actual literacy is achieved, replacing it instead with another process geared toward dependency and prosperity.

Ok, suppose an American "chooses" to become aware. He feels like something is missing from his life and wants to get himself out of the bourgeois rank-and-file.

So, he decides it is time to really get educated! He is going to use the process that has been put in place to find out those things that he is ignorant of. He is serious about this and ready to push himself to the limit.

Soon enough, with his new Executive MBA (which includes four credit hours of philosophy, four credit hours of sociology, and eight credit hours of history), he is pushing a pen at a cushy desk job at a fortune 1000 company. Three dozen other people depend directly or indirectly on his management decisions.

He drives a Cadillac SUV and has 4,500 square feet of house for himself, his trophy wife, one child, a fish tank, and a puppy.

He sends his kid away to a respectable private school -- so that junior can be professionally raised and grow up to be aware just like daddy.

He has a three-car garage, a sports car, an RV, two dirt bikes, a house boat, two ATVs, and a backyard swimming pool.

He works 10-hour days and spends his down time in front of a 60-inch plasma TV watching football. He gets three weeks of vacation each year, which he spends on a cruise somewhere or playing with his toys (which otherwise sit unused).

His kitchen has upgraded granite counter tops and modern stainless steel appliances which have never been used because he eats out every night.

He doesn't know how to cook food, much less produce anything in a garden (he wouldn't have time for that anyway). He doesn't know how to make clothes, shoes, or shelter; nor does he know anyone who can make these things. He gets all of his needs from an outlet, nine miles distant, where goods get trucked in every day.

He understands the tenets of healthy living as advocated by the meat and dairy industry (and the supplement industry!), and he also has a good primary care physician who can prescribe medications, one of which he takes regularly to help him sleep for eight consecutive hours.

He pays a $10 copay for each doctor visit (every three months on average), and buys only the generic prescriptions because he is thrifty.

The foods he eats would not sprout and grow if they were thrown into the dirt. They wouldn't even provide good fertilizer because most of them won't ever decay properly.

He contributes 1.8 metric tons of garbage to the local landfill annually.

He pays $2,500 every month for his mortgage, and another $2,000 between the boat and the RV. He's money-savvy and has no credit card debt (although he owns six), so he considers himself debt-free. He believes that he has earned everything that he "owns."

He has a bumper sticker on his SUV with the following platitudes printed on it: "Freedom isn't Free. Support our Troops!" He believes that freedom is protected by a strong military.

He has thought of putting in for mayor of his town next year. He has political aspirations; he feels that his successes have made him qualified for the job, and he has made a name for himself in his community.

His neighbors are all in a very similar situation, except one of them is a Democrat and sends his kid to public school.

He considers himself a devout and religious man on account of his weekly church attendance and family values. If he remembers to pray, he is inclined to thank his God that he lives in a Free country and is blessed with such great prosperity and awareness.

What happens in America when a man chooses to become Liber? He gets rich instead (and thinks he's free).

It is a systemic problem, and it has to do with a lack of process. Our choices often don't lead us where we think they do.

Dave said...

I don't think the man you described was self-aware at all. What you've described is someone conventionally "successful."

Let me define actualization better: an actualized individual -- a self-aware individual -- acts authentically, that is, one behaves in accordance with one’s own goals and values, rather than the goals and values of others. It means one has to have examined one's life and discovered for oneself what is meaningful and what makes one happy.

I think it's impossible to remain ignorant when you're honest with yourself and have examined your life. I don't care what system is in place, or what path is easiest, or what's taught -- a self-actualized person will have the spine to behave according to their own beliefs (ex. Gandhi).

I think it feels a little deterministic to say that the natural state, because of the state of the environment and the system, is one of helpless ignorance.

Peter McCombs said...

No, the man I described was not any kind of aware at all. He is definitely not a "Free" man in any rational sense.

The point is that he thinks he is free compared to his previous life -- before becoming "educated." He believes that the goals and values of other people are his own goals and values: "true" goals and values. He confuses his success with his freedom. Even if he examines his life, he can find no fault with it other than perhaps the vague uneasiness of an empty soul. His definitions have been alterered and his perceptions changed.

If he has time for introsepction, the flaws of character he finds in himself have to do with work ethic or philanthropy. The premises of his life are invisible to him.

If I were to tell such a man the saying of Adam Smith, that humanity does not desire to be great, but to be beloved, he would print it in gold letters and hang it over his mantle as a fine thing. If I were to further clarify that excess and liberty are mutually exclusive, he would argue with me. Riches are blessings! Dollars follow value! He is rich because he is beloved!

How is he supposed to know that he isn't really free? How is he supposed to know that awareness and freedom have nothing to do with what he thinks are awareness and freedom? He has 3OI.

Poverty almost always plays a role in true education. Poverty is man's natural state, until he acts to get himself out of it. That's one of the dangers of Utopia; people no longer have to provide for themselves.

It wasn't until after I lost my good job and had to move back in with Mom and Dad, and then later live in a humble apartment, that things began to change for me. That was the first time I came up against great minds and finally recognized them. There was some sort of pretentiousness that had been removed from me. Things that "made sense" before suddenly "had meaning." It's hard to describe the difference. Eric Hoffer was blind for a long time, and after receiving his sight later in life he decided to read everything he possibly could, so he did. He chose to stay poor. What if he had been rich instead? Compare Socrates and Thrasymachus. Think about what John Locke said about property. Look what Ghandi did with his riches.

The natural state ISN'T one of helpless ignorance; the natural state is one of self-sufficiency, which is the process that we have lost. Without that particular natural process, there are human principles that can never be learned: among them, Liberty.

It is our artificial process that today leads to helpless ignorance, which is the description I provided of the typical American elite.

Dave said...

I see the point you're making, but I still can't agree. Maybe I just don't like the idea of environment being crucial to the formulation of abstract philosophies.

I also have an instinctive dislike for asceticism.

I don't really have much to say about it, though. So I'll pepper this with quotes from Lincoln.

"The way for a young man to rise is to improve himself every way he can, never suspecting that anybody wishes to hinder him."

"I see in the near future a crisis approaching that unnerves me and causes me to tremble for the safety of my country; corporations have been enthroned, an era of corruption in High Places will follow, and the Money Power of the Country will endeavor to prolong its reign by working upon the prejudices of the People, until the wealth is aggregated in a few hands, and the Republic is destroyed."

"Upon the subject of education, not presuming to dictate any plan or system respecting it, I can only say that I view it as the most important subject which we as a people can be engaged in."

"I believe it is an established maxim in morals that he who makes an assertion without knowing whether it is true or false, is guilty of falsehood; and the accidental truth of the assertion, does not justify or excuse him."

"Labor is prior to, and independent of, capital. Capital is only the fruit of labor, and could never have existed if labor had not first existed. Labor is the superior of capital, and deserves much the higher consideration."

AND an especially relevant one:

"We all declare for liberty; but in using the same word we do not all
mean the same thing. With some the word liberty may mean for each
man to do as he pleases with himself, and the product of his labor; while with others, the same word many mean for some men to do as they please with other men, and the product of other men's labor. Here are two, not only different, but incompatible things, called by the same name - liberty. And it follows that each of the things is, by the respective parties,
called by two different and incompatible names - liberty and tyranny."

Peter McCombs said...

The thing about those Lincoln quotes is that I agree with all of them. I further claim that they support my assertions in every point.

It's quite possible that the quintessential ignorant person would also agree with these quotes, and further use them to prop up his own borrowed ideas.

According to my argument, people have the wrong process for becoming Liber (which happens to be in accordance with Mr. Lincoln's first definition of liberty). The process that people now have is good for building material wealth (which happens to be in accordance with Mr. Lincoln's second definition). I also claim that the definition of liberty that I have presented is compatible with the notion of Liberty that was originally associated with American Independence.

The principle of 3OI states that lack of process will prevent some kinds of knowledge from ever happening, regardless of personal desires. It seems like a pretty solid assertion to me. I don't expect that the Scientific Method will ever produce religious knowledge. I don't expect that theology will ever produce empirical theories. I don't expect that factory-style, one-size-fits-all schooling will ever produce a master in any art. I don't expect that extensive global interdependence will ever produce independent people. I don't expect that the language of entertainment will ever convey the real meaning of serious things, or that smoke signals will ever enumerate philosophical arguments.

We currently associate "education" with a very narrow process that includes standardized tests, credit hours, certifications, and condensed and abbreviated textbooks full of secondary sources. What effect does our modern idea of schooling have on Mr. Lincoln's statement about the importance of education?

If process is a part of environment, then acquisition of knowledge depends on environment. Outside of divine revelation, I don't see how this can be avoided. A gang banger isn't going to enter a heightened level of philosophical or mystic enlightnement without first changing his environment, and with it, certain premises and processes.

The way to fix all of this is to have a meaningful civic dialog where the possibilities of incomplete processes and flawed premises are discussed. If people are introduced to the idea that there are other processes and other possiblities, then the illusion is broken and they no longer have 3OI. Only then meaningful choice can take place: education vs. schooling, health vs. medicine, independence vs. dependence, wealth vs. riches, good vs. goods, value vs. price, and so forth.

The process for gaining riches and the process for gaining liberty are not the same. If you look at the greatest masters in history, you will soon see that their chosen process did not make them rich. You can call them ascetics, but I bet few of them sought asceticism as an end in itself. Besides, part of being free is having property.

Dave said...

I agree with you. And I posted those quotes because they do agree with what you're saying.

My point is simply that, yes, the said gang banger is going to have to change his environment to facilitate personal growth (and who am I to say what personal growth he should experience, or what environment he should seek?) -- yet, at the center of everything, the potential for self-awareness is there, and the road to it begins somewhere quite independent of his environment.

Once that awareness is reached, the world is full of "education" and wisdom that previously wasn't "grok"'d.

I think I'm stuck on the idea that the potential to live a meaningful life is there for anyone always if they choose it.

I know this is quite removed from your ideas, which are more broad and political in scope (and most of which I agree with). I'm trying to say that a person always has the opportunity to wake up. The first step toward awareness is -- not to listen to the well-meaning authorities -- but something divinely personal.

5OI - Acceptance of omniscience.

Peter McCombs said...

It sounds like a conundrum.

Like, when Hobbes claimed that language precedes reason. He said that reason couldn't exist without language. If you can't form words for things, then their ideas can't exist. Therefore, everything comes down to definition. Reason was born of language.

Most people would probably disagree with that: no, the idea was there already, the reasoning took place, and then the language was born. Language was born of reason.

I think we both agree that the potential for awareness is available to everyone - I'm not arguing that point.

You are saying that awareness hinges on personal choice - the responsibility lies with the individual to start down that path to awareness. Choice precedes the knowledge.

On the other hand, I claim that because of 3OI, a person can't choose what they don't know is a possibility. Before they can make a choice to become aware, they need to know the process (or path) that leads to it. Therefore, knowledge precedes choice.

I claim that, if a person doesn't first know (and understand) that "the first step toward awareness is -- not to listen to the well-meaning authorities -- but something divinely personal," then that particular path will never be taken. The person doesn't know the process.

Also, I think we may be talking about slightly different flavors of awareness. I have more of an awareness of external things in mind, kind of a big picture type of awareness that comprehends external things and how they relate together.

You're talking more about a sort of self-awareness, or internal knowledge of self.

With your existentialist philosophy, you would tell me that both kinds of awareness are the same thing. Maybe they are, to a point. External things are subjectively experienced internally.

Certainly "self" awareness is very much a critical aspect of awareness in general. It is of no use to know about things outside, when the inner man has not been discovered.

I think self-awareness is what makes the difference between the schooled rich man who can hang a fine platitude above his mantle, and the truly educated man who has internalized and understands what the saying really means. They are both inspired by the same words in very different ways, and the thing that makes the difference is awareness.

Jodi said...

At home we usually keep apples and bananas in a fruit basket. When Cyrus asks for a fruit it is one of those two. He has not been exposed to any others so he has no idea they exist. As long as he remains in our home and is never exposed to any fruits other than apples and bananas he will never be able to choose to eat a different fruit. Until he has had an experience that exposes him to other fruits he will not be able to choose something other than what he has been raised eating. It takes that exposure to something new, outside of his current life style, for him to be able to choose to have something else in his life. If he is exposed to other fruits and then decides he will only believe in apples and bananas he will be wasting his knowledge. But if he pursues knowledge of more fruits, after having been exposed to a few, he will then have chosen a life of liberty because he can now see that there is something other than apples and bananas.

There has to be that exposure to something new, even in a small amount, in order for someone to see that there is something else to be had. I do not believe there is one human being alive that is omniscient, therefor if a person is to learn and grow into something other than what they have been taught to be, then they need an experience that exposes them to something new. Otherwise they have no idea that it exist and if you don't know something exists, you can't choose to have it.

If you don't know you aren't self-aware, you can't choose to become such because a person who isn't self-aware doesn't know they aren't self-aware.

Dave said...

It is unquestionably a travesty not to know about mangoes.

Nevertheless, I argue that mangoes don't exist until you experience one. I think at the very least you would agree that the way Cyrus experiences a mango is unique from anyone else's experience.

The drive toward expansion of reality is where awareness begins. I agree I am talking about a slightly different sort of flavor of awareness, however.

Also, certainly no man who defines himself as a man is omniscient, as he has already accepted a multitude of limitations in order to create the focus of his experience and call himself a man. Mostly, though, I was being facetious.

Peter McCombs said...

Although, I would have said -1OI instead of 5OI, since 0OI is knowledge. So -1OI would be all knowledge.

That's what Phillip Armour gets for starting at 0... no room for omniscience! Silly programmers. They think they know it all!