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How Much of What We Know Is Merely Guesswork
A Carnival of Medical Knowledge
Lately I have been asking myself a lot - how much we humans really know, and how much of that knowing is merely wild guessing religion-style. As you may already know, or guess, I haven't come up with any reliable figure, so I am inviting you to join me in this thinking.
Really, take those most respected authorities in any society - doctors, who save our lives and patch us up after we do too much of texting while driving. It's been said that the medical profession - in tandem with Big Pharma - has been the third major cause of fatalities in the US alone.
I haven't heard if other countries are competing with similar statistics, but even this looks like too much. Of course, they save many lives, but the statistics, and possibly your own experiences are making you wonder how much of their knowledge is a reliable knowledge, and how much is a hocus-pocus.
A Confusing Health Market
Now, while we are at health providers, let us not neglect another multi-billion dollar business - so called "natural health", specifically the science of nutrition. I wonder if the following may remind you of the colossal confusion in that particular field :
"High protein diet for human race" - "NO! Excess protein can't be detoxified in liver, so it's vegan diet" - "NO! Vegans die young". - NO, ENOUGH NONSENSE! Fat diet and low carbs is the right diet".
Eggs are good for you - no, they are bad for you. Fruits don't cause sugar spikes. - No, sugar is sugar. Celtic salt will cure your blood pressure - No, salt is salt...Etc, etc, etc. Be "knowledgeable" or a good guesser to pick the right one.
Personally Tailored Logic
Every once in a short while we hear about a new scientific breakthrough that's supposed to make us healthier, or happier, or allow us to live to be hundred. All lab evidence seems to be O.K. and done by a reputable scholar of certain impressive credentials.
All until some other brainiac with equally impressive credentials comes up with equally respectable evidence which is debunking that breakthrough. Doesn't that make you wonder, just like it makes me - how can two equally smart dudes draw opposite conclusions from the same facts?
Is logic so wildly a subject to liberate interpretation? Shouldn't science be much less democratic? And how much of what we think we "know" is exactly that - unsure science?
Anyone for a juicy story?
Then, in the field of journalism, which - mind you - represents a huge part of our "being informed", we could freely say that just about "anything goes". Cashing in on boredom of those souls who have no life of their own, tabloids will throw in any imaginable juicy story about a celebrity or a politician (I am glad politicians are not called "celebrities").
Publishers will probably make an attractive financial settlement with the target of the story, so both benefit - the tabloid by selling millions of copies, and celebrity by getting that much needed publicity, plus monetary compensation for "being falsely targeted". Oh, I forget, lawyers get paid too.
I am not saying that's how it really works, but if I were in their shoes, that's how I would conduct business. Well, I don't have to worry, no damn paparazzi has yet tried to take a picture of me feeding pigeons in the park and glancing at a good looking chick passing by.
Anything Else Happening out There?
Before I leave journalists, those that are telling us about political news and other disasters are only telling half (or less) of the truth - and knowing only half truth is worse than knowing nothing. They are the ones responsible for our worldview.
Them we trust so much that the most of the people are convinced these days that the world simply sucks. Those reporters hear some half truths at press conferences, take photos at war sites where soldiers are killing the ones whom the publisher sympathizes (politically or ethnically), and top it up with all kinds of gloomy stories about killings, muggings, rapes...etc.
What's missing in that, you ask? The other side of the truth - that an enormous majority of the world's population are normal folks, living decent lives, families being relatively happy and healthy, with absolutely nothing spectacular happening to them during the entirety of their life.
That's what's missing in the news, and that, my friends, is miserably missing in our worldview. We are not getting "informed", but systematically poisoned in our minds and hearts by the news media.
There Is Magic in Those Lights
Now, how could I let down the expectations of those radical folks who don't see much sense in so many religious stories. If I omitted that subject, they would forever hate me for telling only a partial story about our "questionable knowing".
I will gladly let them express their disagreements in other issues, while I am about to look into one detail of the biblical "science" that appears strange to me. Namely, it's about Jesus' birthday, or Christmas as we call it.
I do celebrate it. I love the tradition of it, when even those most miserable folks take a chance of their faces cracking into pieces from smiling a lot those days. We buy a tall, up-to-ceiling tree, and enjoy decorating it like little kids.
I love those multicolored lights that remind me so much of Vegas casinos at my rare visits there (O.K., no wrong ideas, please, I play 2-cent machines, nothing Omar Sharif style), with all that glitter and noise. I mention noise, because, since they started singing all Christmas carols in a screaming version, "Silent Night, Holy Night" is even more like Vegas.
Prophets and Messiahs Everywhere
Well, joking aside, during all those festivities I don't really think that I am celebrating Jesus' birthday. If the religious folks said that he had been born somewhere in May, I might believe it more.
But, I don't like a certain coincidence about it. As most of you probably know, the biblical times were strange times in the Middle East. Everywhere on those streets you could see a lot of entertainers like magicians, prophets, messiahs, and other storytellers with little crowds surrounding them.
What I am trying to say here is that mythology was a major factor in the mentality of those times, and it was a regular feature to invent all kinds of celestial benefactors - some major ones being celebrated coincidently at time of Jesus' alleged birthday.
Winter Solstice for Birthdays
Back there I mentioned a coincidence that doesn't sit well in my mind pertaining to Jesus' birthday. You see, astrology was not only popular but extremely respected those days. Stellar configuration was predicting upcoming conditions in agriculture and outcomes in battles.
One of such celestial events of greatest importance was winter solstice, which signified the "birth of the new year" - along with the birth of various deities and messiahs. Now, is it only a coincidence that Jesus' birthday was around the same time when elsewhere in the Middle East some other celestial celebrities' birthdays were glorified?
I don't know the truth about it, just like nobody else does, but it bugs me a bit that it was also Osiris in Egypt, Mithras in Indo-Iranian tradition, Adonis in Syria, Atis in Asia Minor, and Dionisius in Greece, all celebrated at winter solstice, just like Jesus.
Maybe even some others, but those are all I remember (some of whose names I probably even managed to misspell). That's all right, my name also gets misspelled and I am even an existing, real dude.
I hope you didn't expect me to give you some reliable facts about the real date of Jesus's birth - even some historians of a good name are still arguing about it. If they ever come to an agreement, we will all know.
Alarmists - a Strange Breed
Initially I prepared a longer list of these sources of our knowledge, our common sense, and our beliefs, but let me add only one more - the alarmists. Those are either individuals with a marked depression in their emotionalism, or clever pushers of alarming news who are cashing in on human fear.
Partially alarmism is present in religion, with all those dark predictions of things befalling those who don't live by the "Word". And then, there is a whole army of those who keep predicting the WW3 - from year to year, without any nukes exploding on the horizon.
Or it's some cataclysmic event like a huge comet destroying the planet. Others keep predicting a global economic disaster. Somehow, from year to year, none of that is happening, and we even haven't ended up in one of those "Illuminati's camps" after the "New World Order" made us all some subhuman nobodies.
Time to Rethink
Well, if there is a "third root of wisdom" to be drawn from all these examples, it would be the one suggesting that we shake off much of what we are taking for granted that comes from the sources of our information. In other words, "common sense" sucks.
We should really relax our minds and start forming our worldviews from a scratch again, this time around by implementing a decent dosage of bright attitude and goodwill into it. Life is much simpler than it seems, we are much stronger and more resilient than our doctors would want us to believe, and there is no damn evil up there lurking at every moment of our weakness to hit us with something.
We are O.K., so much more to learn - but even more to un-learn. Be well everyone.