Once when I wrote:
“My viewpoint is that when you want to share knowledge, you START with the presumption that it is just possible that you are wrong.”
Someone asked me, why would you share knowledge that may be wrong?
My answer: Because that’s the only kind of knowledge there is. Unless, you know, you’re God or something.
I’ve thought about it more, and I stand by my answer. Even those who believe they get their knowledge from God are relying on their own, or someone else’s, human brain to interpret what they believe to be God’s word–and usually God’s word multiply translated through a couple of human languages. So unless one is personally running the universe, the only kind of knowledge there is, is knowledge that might possibly be wrong.
Where I seem to be different from many–by my observation most, maybe even almost all, but of course I could be wrong!–people is that I am perfectly comfortable with that. Well, maybe not perfectly, but sufficiently.
This can be inconvenient. It means that I often see, as clearly as one can feel is likely (you see what this philosophy does? everything has to be qualified), the “other side” of a disagreement or difference. There are any number of controversial issues on which I do have an opinion, but I understand very well where the other side comes from. The downside of that is that sometimes people who have considered me an ally are disappointed by my not joining them in demonizing the other side.
Another downside is that I’m very, very frustrated when I simply can’t understand a viewpoint, when I can’t grasp it, wrap my head around it–whatever metaphor you want. I find it hard to effectively oppose things I can’t understand. (And yes, there are things I think I should oppose, because that’s my best judgment at this point.)
Thesis, antithesis, synthesis speaks to me. (When it speaks to me in Hegel’s voice, or even Kant’s [when I take those quizzes, I usually wind up Kantian], my response tends to be “Huh?” or maybe “WTF?” But I digress.) Synthesis is, I think, a good one-word descriptor for my wordy “This is what I think right now, based on experience, observation, and knowledge up to this point.” Always, always maintaining the realization that while my experience is what it is, my observation and knowledge may be wrong.
Yeah. Knowledge that may be wrong is the only kind of knowledge there is.