I'm still trying to nail down whether or not my fixation on the question of "How do you know?" is a manifestation of the Ti myth and if so how I should manage it, but in this post, assuming that this is Ti, I'm curious to see how other people deal with the question. How do you deal with the question of "How do you know?" Are you able to answer it? If so, how?
The spoiler answer to the question of "How do you know?" is that nobody knows anything for sure, yet we all live anyway, with most of us getting by in this miasmic, probabalistic reality. The state of each person's existence begins with confusion, finite awareness and imminent pain due to that finite awareness (i.e. ignorance).
So if the default state of existence is confusion/doubt/uncertainty, this doesn't seem to bother most people as much. While it is sometimes possible for us to think ourselves into a hole, most of the time our ailments are deeper than our thoughts. So we might turn instead to asking:
"Why am I obsessed with certainty?"
"What will happen if I don't know?"
"Is it okay if I don't know?"
And then we might ask further....
"Am I utterly unprepared for life?"
"Is life too dangerous if I don't make the right conclusions-- forcing me to need to be correct?"
"Is knowledge my safeguard against harm?"
"Am I too thin and vulnerable to withstand reality, and in need of surety because I am mortal/finite and can't risk errors?"
I think these are some of the places where one might begin to find the answers... and it'll be different for each person. In truth, the solution to a dark myth of Alin is found via the realization that the existential question itself is trying to solve an emotional impulse which it cannot satisfy, nor is it the place of logic to satisfy it.
The logical next step then becomes resolving the emotional circuit that is causing the anxiety and doubt, rather than trying to solve an answer-less question.
What emotion do you feel is motivating this in you?
Hey Auburn, thanks for the reply.
I agree that nobody knows anything for sure, but as an aside I feel like people think they know things for sure and that can be frustrating. The main issue with not knowing things for sure for me is that I’m not confident in or maybe unwilling to trust my ability to determine which reality is most likely. I don’t have any percentage read outs. My level of certainty is unquantifiable.
When I ask myself that question, I think it may be looking for justification. Its not that the answers I come up with to the question aren’t good enough, but that I don’t even know how to answer the question. Even if I answer with “I don’t know” I’ll counter with “How do you know you don’t know?”
I’ve been trying to identify an emotion that drives the question, but I can’t think of one. The questions seem to come from a neutral place. If uncertainty was an emotion I’d say that, but I don’t think that’s what you’re asking. Maybe the motivation is coming from an unconscious idea or percept as opposed to an unconscious emotion. I’ve considered the idea that the questions arise from a sense of the fallibility of the human condition. Also, at times I’ve arrived at a place where the thought emerges that I shouldn’t know anything.
It may connect back to my desire to avoid death. I think the reason I stopped worrying about my own mortality is that I stopped regarding it as a certainty. Maybe I’m worried that if I believe in things that I’ll have to contend with the issue of mortality? At the same time though, I don’t feel any fear when the questions emerge. So if I had to say, I think the questions come from a neutral place.
Lastly, these questions seem to interrupt my agenda. It’s like I’m producing the thoughts that get questioned but the questions themselves are less “me” if that makes sense. They aren’t voices, but I’m not actively trying to ask these questions either.
I’ll keep trying to think of an emotional motivation in the mean time, but I don’t see myself finding one.
Are there any other types of non-emotional motivations worth investigating?
Edit: I tried to answer the question of “Is it ok if I don’t know?” and I think my answer is that you HAVE TO not know. Knowing leaves you open to being mistaken and thus in peril and since all knowledge is imperfect, you’re always going to be wrong. Of course these statements are oxymoronic since they are all statements of knowledge, but those were my thoughts on the question. So maybe I’m afraid of knowing?
That question seems like a real rabbit hole. Unconscious motivations aren't necessarily experienced on a conscious emotional level, so I think you'd have to dig even more deeply than emotion. It's still a mystery why some thoughts appear in the conscious mind and other do not. I am wondering if your unconscious mind can anticipate the psychic/emotional cost of knowing. All that comes to mind are emotional costs: The unease we feel when things don't align or facing the reality of who we are or that we must accept some social responsibility or change. These are concerns remain pre-emotional, but if these realities became conscious, we'd have to experience the consequential emotions.
I think our psyches construct worldviews that protect the self, without our consent. I take huge issue with this. More recently, I try to appreciate that the human mind is constructed for human purposes, not to understand the world as it is.
I used to think people consciously tuned things out, but I'm starting to give more credit to unconscious motivations. I've always believed them to be real, but it's frightening to realize their true power over us. Above all else, I believe the mind is self-protective.
"The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?" - Jeremiah 17:9
I think my Ti currently exhibiting the behavior of reductionism as mentioned in its Behaviorism and Mythology section.
"For the Ti user the world is often seen as a place of incongruences and complexities; of paradoxes and mysteries. Everything is operating from unchecked assumptions on top of assumptions with no explanation given for why any such thing is to be believed. The world seems utterly chaotic and nonsensical, and this causes a great deal of stress especially as it relates to the pursuit of axiomatic truth. In order to alleviate this, Ti often executes a reductionistic methodology wherein all unjustified things are negated, in an effort to eliminate all untruths and see what is left."
Currently, it's hard for me to act in the world since I "negate" all of the thoughts I have about anything. By "negate" I mean I'll ask myself "How do you know that?" and be unable to answer. I can see how people go about their live without complete justification for their activities and beliefs, but I don't see the point of doing so; of believing or acting. What would justify activity or belief in the face of baseless knowledge? All actions and beliefs seem to be equally unjustifiable. I still act, but essentially only out of necessity or fear of negative consequences.
Also, "an infinite regression loop of doubt" is another good way to describe my current state.
Another observation is that, the doubt is reactive. It responds to the thoughts I have or actions I take.
Any other Ti users that have dealt with this and have any tips?