By Donald H. Wolfraim | 25 April 2016
Church and State
There is a direct link between knowledge and the survival of mankind. The continued evolution of human knowledge down through recorded history has allowed us to continue to exist in spite of living in a hostile environment. The survival of human beings has always depended on the creation of knowledge that allowed them to meet new challenges and survive under adverse circumstances of all kinds. Before our ancestors learned how to make a fire, human beings died from exposure to the elements because they didn’t know how to make one.
Throughout history, millions of children died in their mother’s arms, helpless victims of cholera who could have been saved if the fire beside them had been used to boil their drinking water – but they didn’t know that. Many civilizations that were destroyed as a result of drought, famine, plague or some natural disaster could have survived if only they had possessed a little knowledge, such as better hygiene or improved methods of irrigation and farming. In a greater sense, it was not the disease or the weather that killed them but simply a lack of knowledge that was vital to their continued survival. They failed to create new knowledge that could have saved their lives by developing a more advanced technological civilization. Any distinction between a natural disaster and one brought about by human ignorance is an insignificant one.
Even in today’s modern technological age, knowledge remains absolutely essential for one’s physical survival – for example, earning a living by applying what one knows to a particular work situation in return for a paycheck. Millions of people presently living in third-world countries seek to lift themselves out of perpetual hunger and impoverishment; by tapping into this ongoing evolution of technical knowledge that Western nations are willing to share with them.
But where does this all knowledge actually come from? Down through recorded history and up to the present time, there has been an ongoing evolution of knowledge through creative human thinking and the solving of important problems through experimentation, discovery and the exploration of the unknown. Early sea-faring explorers embarked on dangerous journeys around the world that reached far beyond the outer-limits of the known world in which they lived. Depending on the resources available to them, these early explorers were able to extend their present worldview by challenging the unknown and discovering the unimaginable, thereby expanding the shared vision of the age in which they lived and the meaning of their existence.
It is by searching for new and better explanations that reveal new pathways to our survival in a hostile world of disease, natural disasters and ecological horrors that take millions of lives every year. For example, the bubonic plague in the 14th century is estimated to have killed 30–60 percent of Europe’s population, reducing the world’s population from an estimated 450 million to between 350 and 375 million. Today, in our modern civilization we are still faced with many threatening diseases, such as HIV and cancer, which continue to confront us, and it is only by creating new knowledge that they will be ultimately eliminated.
Many cultures throughout the modern world continue to believe in God as an omniscient all-knowing source of knowledge; that there is a supernatural entity up in the sky that is concerned about our human affairs on earth and is willing to share just a little bit of its divine knowledge with us in order to save us from extinction. But such supernatural knowledge has never arrived and never will because it doesn’t exist in the first place. As we know from personal experience, the only help we can really depend upon in time of need or crisis, comes from the minds, hearts and hands of educated, caring individuals who are willing to intercede on our behalf.
One of the major problems confronting the ongoing evolution of human knowledge is the practice of compartmentalization, which continues to impede mankind’s search for new knowledge because it is strategically designed to hide and therefore ignore many important irreconcilable differences that exist between our beliefs and reality as we actually experience it to be. Because of the psychological blindness resulting from our failure to resolve such glaring contradictions, counterfeit realities are created that lead to very bad explanations lacking any practical value. What is needed is clearer thinking that result in more credible explanations that can be factually verified, rather than accepting irrational fictions that lead us nowhere. The rule is: never embrace a philosophical position that is self-contradictory.
We can begin to close the existing gap between our present knowledge and our future survival by having the courage to directly challenge the contradictions that we find in our personal lives, thereby seeking better explanations supported by factual information rather than far-reaching theoretical abstractions that have no experiential validity. When we encounter differences that exist between our beliefs and the way we actually experience the world, we need to be more critical in our thinking, seeking to separate factual evidence from the fictional claims that lead us astray, thereby developing new knowledge and survival strategies that we can successfully adopt in the future.
Donald H. Wolfraim has a Ph.D in Metaphysics and is the Director of The Paraphysics Research Institute, founded in 1976. He lives in Ontario, Canada.
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