Is knowledge always good?

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Is knowledge always good?

Unread postby Wen Choung » Sat Feb 15, 2003 8:34 am

As the topic title says, is knowledge always good? Humans are always on the search for the truth, but just because it's "the truth," does it mean it will benefit us as a species or a people?

I am reminded of the Miracle on 34th Street quote,"What is better? A lie that draws a smile? Or a truth that draws a tear?"
Or how about the saying,"What you don't know cannot hurt you."

Personally, I don't think the constant search for truth is a good thing. At least it isn't always good for all things.

Would it be great if humanity found out that God does not exist?
Would it be great if humanity found an alien race on another planet?
Would it be great if we really were able to clone humans?
These are just some questions but can be applied to all things.

For some people perhaps knowing these things will be good, but would it be beneficial in the long run?

Maybe this doesn't belong here so any admin/mods can move it if they feel the desire to do so.
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Unread postby James » Sat Feb 15, 2003 1:30 pm

I am one of those odd people who want the truth for everything, no matter how painful. I enjoy learning from the sad things in life, so I can avoid a second occurrence of them. If there is no God, I would like to know. If there are aliens, I would like to know. The list goes on.

Sometimes it can be very painful though, and it may not quite feel like it is worth knowing for a month or two. So far I haven’t hit an event I didn’t come out stronger from, so I suppose I will keep this opinion until that changes (or until an event kills me).

I have noticed that a lot of people can be excessively hurt by certain truths though, so I would go so far as to say that maybe it isn’t best for everyone in all cases (some people certainly wouldn’t take finding out there is no God in good stride, for example).

(Might have been a good Current Affairs topic).
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Unread postby Maria » Sat Feb 15, 2003 3:13 pm

I'll kick it to CA.

I yearn for truths, but as soon as I know what I want to a certain extent, I lose interest in it. I'd rather not know everything but unhurt, rather than cramming my head with truths but constantly worrying about it. There is no absolute truth. We cannot find one, and I'd say that our current effort to "discover the truths" to science can lead us to a non-stop pursue of this so called "absolute truth" when there is actually none.

However it depends on what kind of truths you want. Everyday truth, like "who stole my cheese?", or a grand truth like "is there a God?" For the former, I would think that it's important, for living with lies isn't healthy. But for the latter, I think that we should know our boundaries. We are not the king of the universe, and we have to know that.
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Unread postby Rhiannon » Sat Feb 15, 2003 5:30 pm

I have no problem pursuing and knowing every truth available, and even those which others say are not. In my experience, truth and knowledge at the base level always feels good, like a calm breeze of wind. It's at the mind level, where one has to let go of preconceptions, that it hurts. Often though, you can't really know the truth, until you release those preconceptions.

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Unread postby rcsha » Sun Feb 16, 2003 2:21 am

Book of Axioms wrote:To know truth, is to know fact;
To know dream, is to know falsification.
To know fact, is to know reality;
To know falsification, is to know stupidity.


An odd axiom, but it's point is made. Knowledge is the amount of correct informatio you know, right? So what is the use of knowing incorrect information. If you know more incorrect information than anyone else int he world, does that make you smarter or stupider than everyone else?

I believe, strongly, in the quest for knowledge...if I were to find only incorrect things than I would fail on the said quest, as I would not have acquired knowledge but acquired other people's dreams.

And my personal answers to the above questions:
Q. Would it be great if humanity found out that God does not exist?
A. In some ways you can say we already do. Many forms of science ca basically prove that God does exist...however Christianity is still the strongest religion in the world. Just because something is proven doesn't mean anything. If every Christian were to die and find that God did not exist, more than half of them would probably still pray for slavation.

Q. Would it be great if humanity found an alien race on another planet?
A. Yes, I believe it would. If nothing else we could leanr new information from them and create a new trading partner. Or more likely...invade thier planet and give everyone on Earth a condo on our new vassalized locale.

Q. Would it be great if we really were able to clone humans?
A. It has it's benefits, and since we've already proven that God doesn't exist, at least half of the people against it have no valid points. It would be nearly unopposed, compared to most new technologies.

Heh, I jsut had to answer those questions.
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Unread postby Tianshan Zi » Sun Feb 16, 2003 2:25 am

Wild-Eyes wrote:I have no problem pursuing and knowing every truth available, and even those which others say are not. In my experience, truth and knowledge at the base level always feels good, like a calm breeze of wind. It's at the mind level, where one has to let go of preconceptions, that it hurts. Often though, you can't really know the truth, until you release those preconceptions.

Yes. As much as I, as a human being, love to KNOW, I also love to experience the beauty of mystery from time to time. :wink:
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Unread postby Wen Choung » Sun Feb 16, 2003 6:13 am

Now that it is no longer 2am, I shall answer my own questions now. :)

I usually make a huge essay about deep topics, but I'm going to be blunt. I do not think the eternal truth for knowledge or the knowing of everything everything will benefit us.

Once I was reading one of those relationship advice newspaper sections and the writer asked if she should or should not tell her husband that she had an affair, which was a long time ago and since then she realized ...blah blah blah... and she loves her husband more than ever.

So I was wondering, should she tell him? If she does then he be glad with her honesty or he could get angry and divorce her. That wouldn't be good. But if she doesn't, the relationship would be "fine."

Regarding "Is there a God?" it would be nice to know that there is no God for some people. That there is no hell in which all of us sinners will boil and burn eternally, but then there is also no happy kingdom in which we can live eternally. And also, as mentioned in previous topics, there would be no control for humans. We would be in constant danger from theives, rapists, murderers, child molesters, etc. Why? Because nobody cares and will satisfy their physical and human desires, some going through more to attain them.

rcsha wrote:Q. Would it be great if humanity found an alien race on another planet?
A. Yes, I believe it would. If nothing else we could learn new information from them and create a new trading partner. Or more likely...invade thier planet and give everyone on Earth a condo on our new vassalized locale.


Let's say we discover the aliens. Perhaps new diseases that could wipe out continents at a time were found that were undetectable by homo sapien means? Or what if they were stronger than us? And decided to invade us for their own condos? If we had not discovered them, then each species would live in peace, especially us, but instead, we get wiped out.

And regarding the clones, what if all those crazy Outer Limits episodes come true? And clones come to take advantage of the fact that they're clones one way or another?

Knowing too much can be as much of a hassle than it is a help.
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Unread postby Seven at One Stroke » Sun Feb 16, 2003 6:46 am

Knowledge is power. When you have knowledge, you can move mountains and shape worlds. Knowledge is the fuel, and Action the engine. Their combination changes the world. Without action, knowledge cannot be put to use -- it loses its meaning; without knowledge, actions have no purpose -- it becomes blind.

Knowledge is neither good nor bad, only what people do with it. Those with knowledge can maximize the positive effects of their actions while limiting, if not eliminating the negative; those without knowledge act blindly may do more harm to themselves than if they did nothing.

In the face of truth, you can either stand up or fall down: stand up to it and reap its fruits, or fall down and grovel forever in the dirt.

Untruth is not knowledge, but a tool. We need knowledge to use untruth, whether to deceive, to protect or to conceal. Those who hold untruths as truths are ignorant, those who hold truths as lies are unwise. Both are lacking in knowledge.

What if there's no god? Freedom! What if there is god? Absolution. Once you know you can adjust your behavior accordingly and act confidently. It is only when we do not know that our steps falter.
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Unread postby Lady Lazarus » Sun Feb 16, 2003 7:44 am

Curiosity is within everyone of us, we all love to learn, explore and know things. The truth might hurt, but true happiness can not be found under a bunch of lies. We have this 'sense' inside telling us when things seem to be wrong, or when knowledge is missing.

We are born to learn, we learn about new things that are good or bad until the day we die, I don't think it's a bad thing.
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Unread postby Wen Choung » Sun Feb 16, 2003 8:11 am

My point is not about believing in lies. It is about not knowing the truths.

But with the God question, is believing in an omnipotent being really that bad if people can live together peacefully and harmoniously?

I agree that knowledge is power, but when is there too much power?

What about "You want the truth? You can't handle the truth!" ? I do not believe humans can handle the Truth, with a capital T.
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