Existential Psychology

Paradox Of Increasing Knowledge

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If the conscious endeavor to gain knowledge of is actually the unconscious endeavor to gain mastery over in order to mitigate the existential anxiety cued off by feeling tiny and helpless in a threatening world the paradox of increasing knowledge is that in spite of spectacular achievement the global psychological result has been feeling tinier and more helpless in the face of the vastness of the universe.

Rather than a comfort, much of humanity’s cumulative gained knowledge has cast doubt upon everything, upon why we’re here and what we’re supposed to do with our lives, upon the very foundations of meaning that seem to be taken for granted as self-evident by all other organisms on the planet.

What many of us are left with is not increased comfort but increased doubt as existential vacuum fills the vacancy where certainty of of being at the center of everything, of being important, of being the measure of all things, used to be for our ancestors. Maybe the lesson is Buddhist, that whether we’re talking about the micro-level of concrete behaviors in concrete situations or the macro-level of our place in the universe increasing knowledge of is possible but attaining power over is an illusion since we’re all ultimately helpless in the face of forces outside of our control that shatter any possibility of permanence. If the unconscious goal of all that searching is to attain power over the result will be disillusionment.