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Nine Things

February 1st, 2009 | 3 min read

By Keith E. Buhler

All people by nature desire knowledge. The vehicles by which people endeavor to know things are basically two: the senses or the mind. The objects which people endeavor to know are of only a few kinds.

Historically, there has been a 'constant battle'* between those who endeavor to know by the senses (and therefore know whatever objects they can know by the senses) and those who endeavor to know by the mind (and therefore know whatever objects they can know by the mind).

Each “side” in this battle agrees on three points. A) There are people. B) They desire to know, by whatever means possible. C) Knowledge (of some kind) is possible for people to attain.

They disagree on what kind of knowledge is possible. They disagree on the means by which knowledge is attainable. But, most importantly of all, they disagree on what People Themselves are.

The Sensory People say people are just another sensory object. They are bodies – systems, organs, cells, proteins, molecules, atoms, quarks, tachyons, or strings. The Mental People say they are (mostly) minds – selves with identity, personality, thought, feeling, longing, hunger, and desire for knowledge.

Sensory People are fond of saying things like, “If it isn’t tastable, touchable, audible, visible, or smellable, then it isn’t testable. If it isn’t testable it isn’t knowable. If it isn’t knowable, it probably isn’t real." (Or, "if it is real, it doesn’t matter much because we can’t know anything about it.”) Hence their list of “Things That Are” is relatively short, basically consisting of things derived from their own sensory experience, which turn out to be just One Thing (matter-energy) in a wide variety of structural arrangements.

The Mental people are fond of saying things like, “If it isn’t directly apprehensible to the intellect, then it isn’t testable. If it isn’t testable, it isn’t knowable. If it isn’t knowable, it probably isn’t real, or if it is real, it doesn’t matter much because we can’t know anything about it.” Hence their list of “things that are” is fairly long, consisting of a variety of things derived from their own mental experience, which turn out to be a wide variety of distinct things.

The Sensory People are also fond of pointing out, rather confidently, that you can’t see Intelligible Things, but only Sensible Things, as if this proves something. The Mental People might as confidently point out that you can’t Intellect Sensible Things, but only Intelligible Things.

Let us take a look at things that are, and ask which is truer to our own daily experience of ourselves, the objects we interact with, and know, and that are.

Things that are Visible

1. Materiality: Stuff, Matter, Energy, Vibration, Salt/Sour/Sweet/Bitter, Color & Shape, Odor, Movement & Change

Things that are Intelligible

1. Selves: Divine Selves, Celestial Principalities, Human Beings

2. Properties: Roundness, Redness, Royalty

3. Relations: Being the Child Of, Acting Loving Toward, Being Taller Than, Cause/Effect, Friend Of, Being Molecularly Bound To, Gravitating Towards, Being the Origin Of

4. Personal States of Being: Intending, Thinking, Sensing, Feeling, Loving, Trusting, Distrusting, Hating, Disagreeing, Wishing He Would Shut Up

5. Being: Existence, Existing Things

6. Potentiality: Being Able to Become An Oak Tree, Bendability, Probability, Likelihood, Being Able to Be Melted

7. Sameness & Difference:  Equality, Inquality, Distinction,

8. Unity & Multiplicity: Oneness, Multitude, Uniformity, Diversity,

9. Mathematical objects: One, Two, Three, Four, Pi, Points, Lines, Planes, Geometrical Solids,

**Plato, Sophist:

"There appears to be a sort of war of Giants and Gods going on amongst them; they are fighting with one another about the nature of essence
"How is that?"
" Some of them are dragging down all things from heaven and
from the unseen to earth, and they literally grasp in their hands
rocks and oaks; of these they lay hold, and obstinately maintain, that
the things only which can be touched or handled have being or essence,
because they define being and body as one, and if any one else says
that what is not a body exists they altogether despise him, and will
hear of nothing but body."
" have often met with such men, and terrible fellows they
are."