How Do You Know What You Don't Know If You Don't Know You Don't Know It?
An abstract prepared for
The Monarch Institute
Religion presents a life whole and complete … no new data is needed (or, usually, wanted) to make it better. Any new datum is screened for acceptance using the razor of upholding, or denying, the posits, tenets and promises of religious faith.
But new knowledge keeps coming along. It is part of what seems to make us, as a species, unique. We ask 'why' and 'how', and then try to generalize from, test out and verify the answers we receive.
Toronto is not unique in the world, yet there is a "Toronto Blessing" which occurs at the Toronto Airport Christian Fellowship), and a "Toronto Technique" (used in the production of vaccines), and another "Toronto Technique" which is now no longer practiced, formerly used for double-lung transplants. (It involved tracheal complications, which incited research for a new technique with fewer complications.)
Each of these is available to anyone who chooses, or has the medical need to be a recipient. As both techniques and knowledge, they are public.
The first and second of my examples (above) rely on a world-view of abundance, whilst the last is based on situational need. None is a secret.
We face, in my view, a greater and greater withholding of what is our 'new' knowledge. Private interests (corporate, government, special interest group) often have, or want, special power or a hold over decisions to be made. Polls are part of our new knowledge, yet not all are revealed, at least in whole. Corporations manipulate knowledge and their research to create need where none may presently exist, simply for greater income rather than benefit to the wider community. (Witness the advertising done in the USA to get people to ask their Doctors for a particular, high-profit medicine. Witness the same corporations spending more on their advertising than on basic R & D for diseases which affect large portions of the world's population.) Special interest groups may poll and try to influence legislators with scare tactics or financial threats to get laws passed to restrict women's reproductive independence, or to define marriage in limited ways. Chipped name badges at conferences can be used to track delegates' movements for later analysis.
Most of us do not know what is going on behind our backs. And it is harder and harder to find out. We should be very wary.
Our reliance on our fallible technologies, our incoherent shuffling through the increasing mountains of raw data available to us, leaves each of us open to manipulation, deception and outright fraud. What can we do to be aware of our position? What is our position?
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