Ritual Knowledge


This image is inspired by the book The World Does Not Exist, by Markus Gabriel. It is a wonderful book, very clear and thought provoking. Sadly no one will read it in 10 years.  What is the thesis?  The world does not exist, as we talk about it. But really the thesis is that all knowledge is domain based knowledge and to talk about the domains of all domains is to talk about something that does not exist.

Ok this is an interesting point, and one that I think a lot about. These days we cannot help talk about levels of reality. How we reconcile water as the molecular structure of H2O with water as something human, animals, plants, drink.   Water as a molecule is under the domain of chemistry perhaps, or science, and water as something I drink is probably under multiple domains such as resource management, wellness, and so forth. There is some hat tip for the Foucauldian distinction between discourse and facts (medieval laws against witches vs the eruption of Mt Vesuvius and the destruction of Pompeii).

What it means to exist is to  itself exists in a field of sense, and no one can sense the world.   In this respect it reminds me of Gilbert Ryle’s complaint about Philosophy of Mind- namely that it is a category mistake. It is like going around looking for the university and the tour guide shows you all the buildings and the sports teams but not the  university.  Well the university, like the world, is a concept that does not exist in the physical world – only in the world of mental constructs.  Does this mean that it does not exist. That is beyond the rocky shoals of rationality and we cannot talk about it.

When did we become so concerned with what we can and cannot know, when the limit in mathematics was explored? This started in western Europe with Leibniz and Newton. Augustin Louis Baron Cauchy gave the first definition of the limit.  And ever since we have been talking about the limits of things. But now we are starting to talk about the sets of things (set theory) or domains, and also the topologies of things (Deleuze).  I think we should start talking about the exchange between things. The interface between the things, the translation from one domain to another.

I have no idea what I was thinking when I named this blog post ritual knowledge. It is very provocative for me? There are different ways of knowing and aspects to knowing beyond reason that we are now beginning to understand.  What is ritual knowledge? Is that knowledge as a ritual, or knowledge of a ritual. What is a ritual it is an activity that puts you in a state of mind, that creates a certain mood, that invites a certain interaction. What has that to do with knowing? Or with the world or with any of this stuff?

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