I’ve been troubled by this question recently – how does one know that he knows what he knows? I’ve been troubled due to the following problems. First, there is the problem of epistemology, which essentially holds that we cannot know all that is to be known as consequential to our being temporal. Second, there is the problem of ontology, likewise holds that “what-is” is not of itself but rather contextual, dependent, and probabilistic. Thus, definite categories concerning “what-is” are illusory and ultimately fail to precisely pin down reality, the ever changing enigma that it is. This conclusion constitutes the third problem, the problem of expression.
All three problems are resolved by means of a simple maxim – “All among men is illusory, and all among men is-not.” In the tradition of Augustine, I resolve that there are two cities, two trees of knowledge from which we can eat. The first is the Tree of Man, which holds within its vines a many-tangled mess, the monstrosity that it is. Beneath the ground gnarled, hardly above ground whatsoever, the tree of man is nothing but a stump growing horizontally at all times and never ascending higher than its current state. Its branches, thinking they’re discovering something new in searching for the light of the sun which ever-escapes them, grow beyond each other. But, because each remains rooted in his tree and because each lies in opposition to his brothers, none ascends any higher than the limitations set before him. All moves beside, and none move atop. Here the branches connive a great many inventions, schemas, theories, and postulates to maximize the extent to which the sun strikes them. Some suppose growing beneath the ground, searching ancestrally for a new route. Some suppose growing backwards, underneath the growths just before him, so as to do the same. Some have plans to grow at precise angles, to merge with other branches, to produce vines to capture bugs and ensnare other branches so as to prevent their growth. Meanwhile, the continuity of all negates change.
But the Tree of Man is not a tree at all, in this way. It is but the mere appearance of a tree, especially to the branches sitting upon it. Nourishing the existence of the chaos before it is the Tree of Nature, that divinity from which sprang the seed of Man in the Womb of Existence. Man, a commensalist upon his substrate, is not detached from him. But alas, though his branches grow outward deriving all their being from it, they, separate from it, believe that doing is their being, and that the source of their doing, the sun, ought also be the source of their being. Little do they know that that base sitting beneath them, Nature herself, had begotten every action they take.
Nature, unlike Man, grows to heights beyond Man’s branches. It ascends higher, beyond anything almost all of the branches will ever achieve. There, close to the sun, only it truly receives warmth. It does so without competing against any other for, indeed, it is, in some sense, all that there is. As above it reaches great magnitudes, so below does it extend into the depths, its roots grounded and intertwined with Existence itself.
Some lucky branches, exhausted by futility, ascend, and join in the heights of true being. Here, epistemology, ontology, and expression are resolved, as all that is imminently awaits.