The Angel We Know Not

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It is always said that a bird in the hand worth more than a million of them in the bush. Being an adage, it could be understood and interpreted in different dimensions; hence, it is a subjective type of a statement. Yet, the widely acclaimed meaning and which the statement depicts, (that what we have at present, what we see in the moment, is all we can boast of, as far as the same moment is concerned) has a significant place in the event of our daily lives. Although, human beings are, according to Heidegger, bundles of possibilities, the actuality of the possible things in the human person, indeed proves that he has other possibilities. In other words, what you have at hand will actually prove that you may have similar things at home or inside your house. You can only be judged, at present, for what you did and not what you are yet to do, if justice is to be attained, less, injustice surfaces.

Now, experience and history have shown us that at times, what we consider to be real, true, fact or historical, turn out to be wrong. Thus, on a sun-bathed expressway, we at times see from a half-kilometer distance, a shiny stretch of water that can make us hurriedly slow down, in confusion about the source of the water on the road. We approach and behold it is all a mirage.

On a sloppy quiet corner, one calls out and hears one’s voice repeated at the other end- an echo. Our earth appears flat, and so the entire humanity believed it to be for centuries, until science proved to us recently that the earth is round. Not until the Copernican revolution in astronomy did we come to change our view that it was not the sun that revolved around the earth, but the contrary. Many more examples of similar issues abound. And, this is the philosophical problem of reality and appearance.

Plato made this problem the central point of his philosophy. He took to the view that the experiential world is not the real world. “It is only an appearance-world, with only a participated imitational reality.” The most real world, he argued, is the meta-empirical, non-sensible and ideal-world, the world of forms or universals: totally transcendental from this one of our experience. All scientific knowledge based on the world of sense is considered illusory on the Platonic thesis of being only an appearance.

Aristotle, however, rejected this platonic view and returned to the reality of our sensory world. Knowledge deals with reality. Errors sometimes occur, but our senses give us true knowledge on the basis of which life, communication and science are made possible, real and solid.

In Modern Philosophy, the analytic philosophers, the logical atomists and the members of the Vienna Circle, in their analysis of language, tried to make important the fact that language should mirror reality.

Thus the central and pivotal point of logical atomism is that language, upon analysis, is composed of atomic propositions, and in these atomic propositions, every word has a “referential content”, for example, thing or property or relation. In this light, the analysts say that the structure of language in its atomic components and compositions mirrors or pictures the structure of the world since language in its atomic components has specific objective contents (objects in the world with their characteristics and relations). In this sense of language mirroring the world, one can say, in other words, that language analysis tells us something about the world, viz: that the world is component of atomic objects with their actual properties and relation.

In the earliest formulation of the verification principle, Rudolf Carnap, one of the foremost members of the Vienna circle, on another hand, said that the verification of a meaningfulness of a proposition could be direct or indirect. While direct verification consisted in actual or possible sense perception of the referential content of a proposition, indirect verification consisted in the verification of a proposition via other already verified proposition(s). Thus, where there is no “thing” or “fact” to verify a proposition as its referent, the proposition is empty, devoid of content and therefore meaningless. Hence, what we see should e a pointer to that we are yet to see.

However, between Platonic idealism and empiricist sensism (the view that only what we sense in this world is true), one eliminates Cartesian dualism (that sharply divides sense from thought experience). One discovers realism which is the view that gives a balanced explanation of what there is this world as authentically being without rejecting the meta-empirical as such. Mirage there is, but all is not mirage. The invisible, unchanging world there is, but the visible and contingent world is equally real. There are appearance and reality. But, the appearance is not reality nor is reality appearance.

To be concrete, it is always said that your attitude is your altitude. Like a mirage, your inner attitude, there is. But, like the analytical philosophers, let the inner attitude, the angel within; be exemplified by the outer self. No one claims to be an angel inside but a demon outside; that is the highest of pretence. As you know, it is human to judge by what we see. Let the acclaimed angel be mirrored by the outer self, the real you. Your inner self is the angel we know not! Because we are humans, show us the angel in you and not the outer self that is overridden by emotions. The world like those who are themselves, not fake people, people who are self-acclaimed angels inside but contradicts their angelic inner self  outwardly.

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