Truth, the Lifeworld, and Knowledge

An old thought experiment asks, if a tree falls in the forest, and there is no one there to hear it, does it make a sound? The traditional answer is no, there is no sound without a vibration on an ear drum. The answer is easily proven wrong. The experiment presupposes the existence of a tree and a forest. Since these energy patterns exist when no one is around to see them, then the sound of the tree falling exists too.

The universe is a big place. Truth is much bigger than the lifeworld of human experience. Humans are not routinely conscious of phenomena like radio waves, x-rays, and germs. We miss sights and sounds, and smells and tastes that our sense organs cannot detect. There is a threshold at which something becomes noticeable — the softest sound we can hear, or the slightest touch we can feel. Anything less goes unnoticed.

The lifeworld is what humans know. It includes energy and sensation even before the minds gets at it. Everyday phenomena, real, continuous, whole, not analyzed. Closely held or embodied, warmed in the hands of self and others, not distanced or chilled by an objective eye. Quality not quantity. Sights and smells and sounds, words too, plain description but not language games. Factual and true in feeling not thought.

Bigger than big data, truth and the lifeworld must be broken to be stored and known. Take a rock and put it in a box, part of a collection, it is pretty much the same, except for its world; it is out of place. The thing must be broken. Cut something away, make it smaller, now it can be put to bed. Make an analog, like the original, but not. A map. Much better to see and measure and carry. Human knowledge in the brain or in a book is a static binding of truth.