Common knowledge doesn’t exist.

Over the weekend my wife and I visited some relatives living in Regensburg and we have had some good discussions about several topics – from blood cholesterol level to politics to the magnetic polar reversal scheduled for December 21, 2012

Big Moon
"Big Moon" by KM&G-Morris.

I noticed: common knowledge doesn’t exist. People know, what they want to know. They filter and interpret facts according to their believes. A common body of knowledge doesn’t exist for human mankind, nor for any group of people, for any culture, community or company. People are different, and everyone is having his own version of the truth.

I was reminded to this when reading this quote today by Edwin Abbott Abbott:

Men are divided in opinion as to the facts. And even granting the facts, they explain them in different ways.

And so I sit, poor silly man No wiser now than when I began..

For every fact you can come up with evidences, but you can also come up with evidences to refute it. It is more a question of belief which evidence you accept and who you trust, who’s book you read and who’s you criticize, probably without even reading it. Do you trust your doctor more than one who you don’t know and who has written a book titled “The Cholesterol Lie” ? Do you believe those who announce world’s end knowing that so far the world never ended before, which of course is no evidence that some time in the future it might happen ? Do you think our politicians are telling us the truth, our leaders really lead us, scientist and experts acknowledge wisdom and insight more than their carrier ?

“I know that I know nothing” said Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’s Faust. This is probably the only truth you can come up with, besides certain facts from mathematics where true evidences really exist – as far as I can tell.

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