Matthew T Grant


Tall Guy. Glasses.

In General

All generalizations are either false or tautologous.

The goal of science is to create new generalizations.

The goal of philosophy is to demonstrate that said generalizations are either false or tautologous.


Three Worlds

We live in three worlds.

The first world is the world of our direct experience. I consider this the “really real” world; it’s literally where we live. That being said, I consider our dreams an integral part of this world.

The second world is the world of our knowledge. This is both a mediated world—we know it through the stories we hear or the things we watch and read, the media we consume—and a world of conjecture: based on what we’ve learned, we make educated guesses or informed assumptions about how the world works or the existence of those parts we may or may not ever experience.

Finally, there is the world that we will never know through direct experience (imagine a point just adjacent to the center of the earth or the specific thoughts of a stranger we will never meet) or learn about from any mediated source or even imagine to be real.

Freud described the psychoanalytic journey in these terms, “Wo Es war, soll Ich werden.” (“Where Id was, Ego will become.”) Life can be similarly described as a journey by way of which we slowly expand the first two worlds and thus claim more and more of the third.

All imperialistic connotations of this formulation aside, it should humble us. Not only is much of this third world unknowable in principle, perpetually falling beyond our grasp, but we inevitably and inescapably belong to it (in a way that it will never belong to us).

Reality Is My Religion

I can’t say that I believe in God, but I do believe that there is a real reality.

Yes, I’ve heard about relativity and multiple universes and even the astral plane. And, yes, I understand that seen at a certain scale, “reality” gets kind of indeterminate.

But at this macro-level, there is usually one and only one way that things are: my car is parked in my driveway; this skull-and-crossbones pin sits atop a pile of business cards; Abraham Lincoln was shot in Ford’s Theater; etc.

Needless to say, and once again depending on scale and perspective, it is not always easy to perceive the way things really are and it can be equally difficult, if not more so, to establish the way things really were in a certain time and place in the past.

In fact, it is thanks to this inherent “concrete unknowability of the real in its totality,” that I call reality my religion. Reality can be known to a degree, but not absolutely. When you cannot absolutely know something, but you assume that it is this way or that way, and in fact act, without thinking, as if it were so, then you are said to believe it is so.

Thus, I believe in reality, the really real that I cannot ever know in its entirety or infinite complexity, and I ask reality everyday to allow me to draw closer to it, to know it better and conceive it more deeply, to the real limit of my mortal consciousness and to the ultimate capacity of my mortal will.

What’s your religion?