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Turtles are part of a balanced breakfast.
My boyfriend is a patient man. His chores include making coffee* and taking me seriously. It’s taxing, I’m sure. Especially when I wake up, roll over and, instead of saying normal things like good morning or asking how he slept, I ask: “Why do turtles live so fucking long?”

He looks at me as if to say seriously?
  • Me: “Seriously.” 
  • Him: “I don’t know. Cockatiels, too.”
  • Me: “Dinosaur throwbacks.” 
  • Him: “Yup.”
  • Me: “Do you think they get bored?” 

Because I would. And then he made coffee, which was a wise choice.

Sometimes the questions are more important than the answers, for example:
  • Me: “Why is pee yellow?" 
  • Him: “Something to do with the liver.”
  • Me: “Oh.” 

Because even though I always ask, I don’t always care. That’s a bit weird, I know. But I hope you are comfortable with that because I haven’t looked up the answers for this article. Lazy? Sure. I’ll take the blame, but how can we really know anything anyway (see below)?

Maybe you are thinking that by avoiding me in the morning hours, you can avoid this behaviour entirely. Wrong. It’s not always morning. It’s just always.

Recently on a walk home from a night of drinking:
  • Me: “Do you want to play Yahtzee when we get home?”
  • Him: “No.”
  • Me: “Not even a little? We can play a lightening round.”
  • Him: “No. What’s a lightening round?”
  • Me: “It’s super fun – ”
  • Him: “Never mind. It doesn’t matter. I don’t want to play.”
  • Me: “How can you be sure? You didn’t let me explain.”
  • Him: “I just know.”
  • Me: “But how can we really know anything?”

Silence. In this silence, I like to think that he was thinking something like: “Shannon is so smart. I enjoy how she goes from wanting to play boardgames to discussing philosophy. I love her so much.”

But probably he was thinking: “Oh god – I hope she shuts up.” 

I didn't. 
  • Me: “Seriously. How can we know anything? We can’t. Not for sure. We don’t even really know what knowledge is, never mind how we acquire it. We believe we know things. That’s faith, not knowledge.”
  • Him: “It’s late and I’m tired. I don’t want to talk about this.”
  • Me: “And for sure you don’t want to play Yahtzee?”
  • Him: “Yes. For sure.” 

Silence. And in that silence, I was desperately trying to remember a quote from Immanuel Kant about how silence provides meaning, but I could not. And the irony was completely lost on me at the time.

*Other mornings, the first thing I say to him is this: “Coffee doesn’t make itself, honey.” He never suffocates me with the pillows, either. Ever. It’s like a miracle.

 


Comments

Marc
07/06/2014 11:12pm

Are you talking of knowledge of truth? The exact explanation of what and why and how including meaning? I agree then. There is a more practical knowledge that can be known such as gravity and light and electricity etc. More boring maybe (not to me) definitely less profound but a long way from mere faith I think. Faith built upon thousands of repeated experiments that are borne out regardless of your personal beliefs (eg planes generally fly) is a kind of faith but surely the word faith in this context is misleading. To me faith relates to the significant absence of evidence. I don't have faith that you are on occasion a bit nuts, it's empirical.

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muckymind
07/08/2014 8:26am

Marc! I mean the what and how and why of knowledge. I know we have evidence of things such as gravity, light, electricty, etc., but I still question what we know and what we think we know. We are constantly learning new things and ways, which is fantastic, and it means that we are also proving ourselves wrong, which is also good. And I think we do move forward based on the understanding of what we know today and by moving forward, we'll know more soon. Faith may not be the perfect word, but there is an element of if A then B, but the if exists.

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Marc
07/06/2014 11:19pm

They live a long time because the process of natural selection favoured those genes over others. See not profound at all. But why were they selected? Because there was some advantage to those genes that extended life on that kind of body with that lifecycle and in that particular environment. In another body or environment it may have been a disadvantage eg in animals where their environment changes rapidly or it is very competitive favouring quick turnover of generations to enable adaptation through natural selection. Asleep yet?

Reply
muckymind
07/08/2014 8:27am

Thanks for doing the research!

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