>.< The Philosophy of Freaks – Epistemology and Eternal Confusion

~ The Treachery of Images by Rene Magritte (Words read “This is not a pipe.”)


The learned is happy, nature to explore,

The fool is happy, that he knows no more.

~ Alexander Pope.


Universal laws of Epistemology:

  1. All men by nature desire to know.[1]
  2. Our knowledge can only be finite, while our ignorance must necessarily be infinite.[2]
  3. Everybody is ignorant, only on different subjects.[3]
  4. The progress of rivers to the ocean is not so rapid as that of man to error.[4]
  5. There are truths which are not for all men, nor for all times.[5]
  6. Doubt is not a pleasant condition, but certainty is absurd. We cannot wish for that we know not.[6]

General observations concerning the human species:

  1. Every now and then you meet a man whose ignorance is encyclopedic.[7]
  2. We’re drowning in information and staving for knowledge.[8]
  3. It ain’t what a man don’t know that makes him a fool, but what he does know that ain’t so.[9]
  4. There are only two kinds of people who are really fascinating – people who know absolutely everything, and people who know absolutely nothing.[10]

On human beings that are idealist:

  1. Idealism increases in direct proportion to one’s distance from the problem.[11]
  2. An idealist is one who, on noticing that a rose smells better than a cabbage, concludes that it will also make better soup.[12]

Conclusions made from human folly:

  1. A thing is not necessarily true because a man dies for it.[13]
  2. The fact that an opinion has been widely held is no evidence whatsoever that it is not utterly absurd.[14]
  3. If it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, then it just may be a duck.[15]
  4. If you can keep you head when all about you are losing theirs, it’s just possible you haven’t grasped the situation.[16]

Examples of irony in human beings:

  1. Strange of how much you’ve got to know, before you know how little you know.
  2. It has always been desirable to tell the truth, but seldom if ever necessary.[17]
  3. The truth is rarely pure and never simple. Modern life would be very tedious if it were either, and modern literature a complete impossibility.[18]
  4. The point of philosophers is to start with something so simple as to seem not worth stating, and to end with something so paradoxical that no one will believe it.[19]

~ The Human Condition by Rene Magritte

[1] Attributed to Aristotle.

[2] Attributed to Karl Popper.

[3] Will Rogers, quoted in The New York Times, 1924.

[4] Attributed to Voltaire.

[5] Attributed to Voltaire.

[6] Attributed to Voltaire.

[7] Stanislaw J, Lec, Polish writer, 1909-66.

[8] Attributed to Rutherford D. Rogers.

[9] Josh Billings, The Complete Works of Josh Billings, 1919.

[10] Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray, 1891.

[11] John Galsworthy, 1867-1933, English novelist.

[12] H. L. Mencken, Sententiae, 1920.

[13] Oscar Wilde, The Portrait of Mr W. H., 1889.

[14] Bertrand Russell, Marriage and Morals, 1929.

[15] Walter Reuther, trade union leader, on how to tell a communist.

[16] Jean Kerr, Please Don’t Eat the Daisies, 1957.

[17] A. J. Balfour, 1848-1930, British Conservative Prime Minister.

[18] Oscar Wilde, The Importance of Being Earnest, 1895.

[19] Bertrand Russell, Logic and Knowledge, 1956.

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