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COPY OF THE TREE OF KNOWLEDGE AND SERPENT, FOUND ON
AN ASSYRIAN CLAY TABLET, Crrca B.C. 2000 (BRIT. MUSEUM).
Copy Of A SMALL BRONZE IMAGE OF THE EGYPTIAN VIRGIN Mother Isis, WITH THE INFANT HORUS, AND THE Fisu. TAKEN FROM INMAN'S “ ANCIENT Faiths.” Circa .c. 2000.
DEFINITIONS OF KNOWLEDGE, TIME, SPACE, Logic,
PHILOSOPHY, BELIEF, FAITH, CONJECTURE, GOD, DEITY, CHANCE, LUCK, RELIGION, THEOLOGY, ECCLESIASTICISM, CLERICALISM.
BEFORE entering into the subject-matter of the following pages, the writer thinks it would not be amiss were we to have a clear and distinct understanding concerning the meaning of certain terms that are in frequent use, and which are much misunderstood by the generality of people; such as Knowledge, Belief, Faith, Religion, Theology, Chance, Luck, etc. The first of these is probably the word in the English language which is least understood and most improperly used. It is of common occurrence to hear people say that they know certain things, when, on inquiry, we find that they do not know them, but only think them or believe them.
KNOWLEDGE is a decision formed by the consciousness of actual factor phenomenon. It may be absolute and subjective (and this is, correctly speaking, the only true form of knowledge, for we do not know absolutely that anything outside of ourselves exists), or inferential and objective (which is generally understood as knowledge, for: when confirmed by experience it becomes as certain as the former).
Knowledge is always relative, for we infer or assume that certain states of our consciousness are caused by something external to self, which supposed something we call matter ; of it we can know nothing, except as it affects our states of consciousness. To every thought there must be a thinker—the subject ; and the thing thought of—the object. The subject and the object are related to, and limited by, each other, and cannot exist without each other. Without
relation there can be no act of thought. The elements of relation are likeness and difference ; thus, also, without comparison and distinction there can be no act of thought. In establishing likeness and difference we establish relation; and in establishing relation between two things we limit both. As limitation is relativity, we establish the relativity of knowledge.
Relation may be of sequence, or co-existence. The abstract of all sequences is Time, and that of all co-existences is Space. Time is inseparable from sequence, and space is inseparable from co-existence. Time is the measure of deviation, and the general idea of successive existence. It may be absolute or relative. Absolute time is considered without any relation to bodies or their motions. Relative time is the sensible measure of any portion of duration, often marked by particular phenomena. Time is measured by equable motion. We judge those times to be equal which pass while a moving body, proceeding with a uniform motion, passes over equal spaces. Space is the interval between objects; we therefore know it as an ability to contain bodies. It is extension considered in its own nature, without regard to anything it may contain, or that may be external to it. It always remains the same, is infinite, and is incapable of resistance or motion.
Knowledge is obtained by reasoning; and the science by which reasoning is conducted is Logic. Knowledge is power, but the knowledge which gives power is a particular or advanced knowledge, called “science"; and the universal science by which all the phenomena of the universe are explained-by ultimate causes, reasons, powers, and laws— is PHILOSOPHY (from the Greek philos, loving; and sophia, wisdom).
We may, however, see, hear, and feel without really learning the nature of things; but reason causes us to know why things that we see, hear, and feel occur; and logic enables us to distinguish between the good reasoning which leads to truth and the bad reasoning which leads to error.
We reason by induction, and infer-or find out what will be true if something else is true—by deduction. By induction we ascertain what is true of many different things—we argue from particulars to generals, and so try to discover the laws of nature by which certain events happen. Science