Beyond the Box

Your world is a box. What do I mean by your world? Well, it could simply mean the material universe, galaxies and solar systems in which spins our tiny planet earth. But it can also refer to our experience, or the immaterial element of our existence. Your hopes, your dreams, your fears, your failures: all of these things constitute a box.

So what do I mean by a box? The box represents the extent of your world. It means that there are constraints to what we can know about our own existence. So we call what we can know (i.e. our world) a box. Because we can't know what we don’t know, right?

photo credit: makelessnoise via photopin cc
But what if knowledge exists beyond the box? If we can't know what we don't know, then we'd have no way of knowing if there's anything we don't know! You see, that's the problem with the box.

On the inside, we can seemingly know everything there is to know about existence. We can discern laws of physics, properties of materials, and even the very building blocks of life. We can dig through history and discover patterns of thought, the progress of societies, and the origins of civilization. We can even look inside ourselves and trace action from motive and dream from memory.

But on the outside, there could be vast amounts of knowledge completely unknowable to us. And more importantly, that knowledge could shed light on what think we already know inside the box.

There is only one way we could know if there is something beyond the box. And that's if someone beyond the box tells us there is.

Why someone and not something? Because of the box. The something's are what make up the box; it's like asking a wall what lies beyond it. And the wall exists primarily because we cannot see past it. In other words, we cannot see before or after our own experience. Philosophers refer to this as the problem of regress. No matter what you think you know, you only know it because you think you do. Our knowledge is based on what it's based on what that's based on and so on. Infinite regress.

And to make matters worse, what we know often differs from what others know. It's kind of like inertia: for every proposition, there is an equal and opposite re-proposition (or simply a counter proposition). In sum, knowledge is self-defeating. We cannot know where we came from or where we are going. Unless, there was someone who has experienced our beginning and will experience our end.

And to exist beyond the box--beyond the constraints of experience--that someone would have to have no beginning or end. Let's call him God.

Comments