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

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Posted by Keith E. Buhler

One Comment

  1. I live in Moorpark...not T.O. February 7, 2009 at 1:23 am

    But the sounds that came to him, though they reached him as a choric
    hymn, sounding almost like the subdued and harmonious thunder of the
    lion’s roar, were yet many. A subtlety of music held them together, and
    the strength whose epiphany was before him was also subtilized into its
    complex existence. Neither virtue could exist without the other: the
    slender spires were a token of that unison. What intelligence, what
    cunning, what practice, had gone to build them! Even the chimneys–ways
    for smoke, improvements on the mere holes by which the accidents of fire
    dispersed–and fire itself, all signs of man’s invention! He, as he
    stood there, was an incredibly subtle creation, nerves, sinews, bones,
    muscle, skin and flesh, heart and a thousand organs and vessels. They
    were his strength, yet his strength parcelled and ordered according to
    many curious divisions, even as by a similar process of infinite change
    the few clouds that floated in the sky were transmuted from and into
    rivers and seas. The seas, the world itself, was a mass of subtle life,
    existing only by means of those two vast Principles–and the stars
    beyond the world. For through space the serpentine imagination coiled
    and uncoiled in a myriad shapes, at each moment so and not otherwise,
    and the next moment entirely different and yet so and not otherwise

    …I’m sure you know the book from where this passage came.


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