Bertrand russell’s theory of knowldege: philosophic contemplation as an escape

The passage from Russell makes it clear that there is knowledge to be gleaned from the world – the world as a reality existing apart from the Self. He means that knowledge exists apart from the self and does not happen nor exist once the Self discovers it, that actually it is there to be found, but that a first we have to start from a point where we forget our Self. A true pursuit of knowledge necessitates breaking away from all that is learned already so that the mind will be open to new things and not be inhibited by existing prejudices and stocked knowledge. Russell makes an excellent point in saying that enlargement of the Self means the union of the Self and the not-Self: of the known and the unknown. Man should be wary of deluding himself into thinking that he is the center of the universe and the source of all knowledge. What the mind cannot conceive does not necessarily mean does not exist; in the same vein, truth is not man-made just because the mind can comprehend it.

Hence, philosophic contemplation’s goal is the enlargement of the Self, of understanding the knowable and unknowable, of recognizing our limitations and embracing the possibilities of further knowledge to be learned from the world and its universe. It seeks not to encapsulate but to widen our scope, to escape from the limiting senses by making room for learning what is previously mystery and secret.


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