Doth much learning make thee mad? [1]

Now that these four parts are up, I’ve reversed the time of posting so the whole can be read by scrolling down. Tomorrow, I’ll put in the ‘read more’s.

“And as he thus spake for himself, Festus said with a loud voice, Paul, thou art beside thyself; much learning doth make thee mad.”

“But he said, I am not mad, most noble Festus; but speak forth the words of truth and soberness.”

“For the king knoweth of these things, before whom also I speak freely: for I am persuaded that none of these things are hidden from him; for this thing was not done in a corner.”

There’s a long, an ancient history of what happens when someone gets close to a truth or the truth.  Even in saying that, it is sounding Johannine rather than Synoptic and leaves itself open to the C2nd criticism of defending gnosis which, in its ultimate form, is a denial of divinity.

I deny, not the gathering of knowledge which is preferable to pig ignorance, but that one can never learn enough that one becomes godlike. We’re talking an ancient battleground here.

Against that is the danger of knowing only half truths, without seeking the rest of it or, as this blog has stated many times – getting 80% of the truth but falling short of the last 20%.

Was it Bacon who asked that if Pilate had hung about after asking, “What is truth?” instead of pacing about and going out to the crowd, he might have learnt a thing or two.

Whatever, it’s still true that too much knowledge takes a human into a realm of dissonance, of being troubled, whereas Neil Innes’s contention, “How sweet to be an idiot,” leaves a person in blissful ignorance, mentally calmer and yet subject to manipulation and mistreatment:

There’s even an argument over whether they sing ‘furry donkey’ or ‘very own key’ in that song. There are arguments and interpretations. Someone a thousand years from now looks at the blogging phase and maybe parts of this blog, archived by readers, and that of other bloggers. Same subject matter, different angles, different pre-reading, different conclusions.

I do not know what I may appear to the world; but to myself I seem to have been only like a boy playing on the seashore, and diverting myself in now and then finding a smoother pebble or a prettier shell than ordinary, whilst the great ocean of truth lay all undiscovered before me. [Isaac Newton, from Brewster, Memoirs of Newton (1855)]

What I’m driving at here are the triple virtues of openmindedness, humility, but also discernment born of experience. I’m not very good at them … one can but be trying.

And there are other triple virtues too, e.g. faith, hope and charity. Faith and charity are fairly straightforward, Paul considering the last to be love.

Hope seems the interesting one to me – hope of what? Salvation? That we can avoid the downwards spiral of 2020?

Mark Carney warns in the Independent that millions of people’s assets could become worthless this year, due to warble gloaming. Is that the same Mark Carney who was going to crash the economy if we left the EU? Am I allowed to link?

Oh well, 2020, love it or hate it you can’t just ignore it. Here it comes. [Andy5759, reader of N.O. and seeker of truth, better than a pub philosopher]

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