If Our Minds are Limited

Thoughts on the importance of humility in knowledge

Our lives as well as our minds are limited. To try and understand that which is unlimited is foolish and dangerous. To do this and consider it knowledge is even more foolish and dangerous.

Chuang Tzu from the Tao Te Ching

Paradoxically materialists, the dominant philosophers of our time, should be particularly conscious of this problem because they are confident that thought, mind and the understanding are all just physical events, elements of a reality that is much greater than them.

Our thoughts about the whole can only be elements within the whole - they cannot comprehend that whole.

But if that is so then what is the status of materialism itself? "Thought is just some event in the universe, reference and truth are illusions..." but what is the status of this thought?

Of course, those of us who believe in rationality cannot escape our limitations; but at least our awareness of those limitations is not itself self-contradictory. Humility brings with it some truth (if only partial).