05 February 2010

Daily Sensational Experiences

I was recently talking with Hero about an essay that my roommate, Tree, had written. The essay is about how we need to rely on rational thinking in order to push past the physically perceivable world and operate with things we cannot see. Hero made an interesting statement:
If we were to limit our corporeal behavior to those based solely on perceived truths based on our daily sensational experiences we forsake any advanced analytical thinking that can be had in an arena that we cannot experience. We would have to forsake any cumulative learning and as a society we would be condemned to perpetual infancy.
I thought his statement was fairly profound and connects nicely with George Santayana comments on the definition of progression:
Progress, far from consisting in change, depends on retentiveness... when experience is not retained, as among savages, infancy is perpetual. Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it. (The Life of Reason, Volume 1, 1905)
Tied together: Progress is pushing past the experienced physical sensations and trusting that others have accurately recorded such so we can build upon their work. If we do not, if we decide that we can only trust in our daily sensational experiences then we become listless, drifters or as Baloo described the Bandar-log, Monkey-People, to Mowgli:
They have no law. They are outcasts. They have no speech of their own, but use the stolen words which they overhear when they listen, and  peep, and wait above in the branches. Their way is not our way. They are without leaders. They have no remembrance. They boast and chatter and pretends that they are a great people about to do great affairs in the Jungle, but the falling of a nut turns their minds to laughter and all is forgotten. (Rudyard Kipling's The Jungle Books: Kaa's Hunting)
 Thus, relativism, being able to explore concepts that you can't physically interact with, is important not only for the soul but also for society as a whole.

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