Defence plea for certain epistemology

(Introduction to the inaugural lecture of clinical Posturology given at the University of Rome on the 27th of November 1999)
By Pierre-Marie Gagey, Institut de Posturologie, Paris

     I hate teaching.
     The reason why I am here today is Doctor Alfredo Marino. I think he is doing a great work in Posturology and his action deserves supporting.
But I hate teaching because it puts you in a very ambiguous situation regarding knowledge. The danger is for the teacher to appear as the one who knows and who comes to transmit his knowledge, thereby giving some kind of power to the students. That image of the teacher, quite traditional really, is so reducing as to be totally unacceptable. Luckily, the reality of knowledge is far more complex than such a depressing image.
     So, in order to avoid any ambiguity, let me tell you, first, how I see that adventure of knowledge, so that we can go part of the way together.
     Those thoughts will not be very well expressed, and I do apologize in advance. I am not a professional philosopher, but I believe that they must be said, even if badly said.

Knowledge is boring

     Knowledge is boring! Just good enough to fuel the same old stories that the big shots of "Science" will go repeating again and again without tiring...
     Knowledge is boring! What interests you most is not what I have done or what others discovered in Posturology, but what you will do, what you will discover.      Therefore, as I have not come to bore you, let's talk of what interests you most, let's talk of that future...

The good choice

     Your future will be at the level of your intelligence. Coluche said more bluntly: "Intelligence is like a parachute - when you don't have any, you fall flat on your face." And he was right. As you want to succeed, as you are very ambitious, your first task must be to develop your intelligence and not your knowledge! Don't chose the wrong direction.
     Knowing is having. Knowledge is of the nature of possession. By its wealth, by its profusion, by its superabundance, knowledge stifles the mind. To let your mind breathe, to let it live freely, get rid of your knowledge, become poor in "Science", run away from the field of the known and go towards the unknown.
     The life of the mind, the dynamics of intelligence, do not consist in repeating over and over again what our masters taught us, but in creating new links that had never been connected.

The unknowledge

     Search for what you do not know, search for what nobody knows, search the unknown. You will find matter to understanding, to thinking, in that field of unknowledge, and there, in the middle of nowhere, you will also find your strength.      Because when the mind looses its references, when its road is not marked out any more, when it does not know where to go, then the mind gets anxious and begins to search. Do not be afraid of being afraid of not knowing: ignorance is the power of the scientist.

The border of unknowledge

     Search for what you do not know, search for what nobody knows, with the help of knowledge. That is the only interest of knowledge , but it is a real one - it draws the moving border of the field of unknowledge, thereby giving the mind a country. That is the only interest that knowledge can claim.
     That border of the field of unknowledge is moving. Each generation pushes it backwards... slightly. It is constantly modified by an advance of History. So do not be behind the times. Be aware of what time in History you are in. Know the history of the science you are concerned with - that fundamental datum helps you realise your right situation between the known and the unknown.
     What the others have found has no interest, except that of showing you in which way you have to search. Knowledge is boring. Just good enough to fuel the same old stories that the big shots of "Science" will go repeating over and over again without tiring. But it has at least one interest, that of making us ask the right questions.

Luck and bad luck of the doctors

     Doctors and therapists are lucky - in a way - because our ignorance in the medical field is monstrous! There is a lot to search for. There would be a lot to find... There "would be"... For the bad luck of today's doctors and therapists is to live in a society puffed up with the pride of its "Science", a society that tries to lock us in the borders of its current knowledge. All those who try to get out of the rut of ignorance are fought with medical references dictated by "those who know". As if the mind did not blow where it wanted to. As if the criterion of truth was authority and not the future development of evidence through self-consciences.

Because I believe in the mind

     Because I believe in the mind, I conceive the future of knowledge as a democratic process in which nobody is excluded, nobody would be servant or prophet. We are all equal regarding our collective ignorance (even if "some are more equal than others..."). We are all invited to take part in that advance of History to push the borders of ignorance backwards.
     Because I believe in the mind, I think it is urgent that we all speak out our phantasms in order to submit them to collective criticism. There is no objectivity of "Science", but only an intersubjectivity of knowledge. Our aim is a clear, precise, coherent speech - the efficiency of which is just a secondary repercussion, and a very difficult one to judge too.
     Because I believe in the mind, I have not come to teach, but only to go part of the way with you on the road of knowledge.

If you have not understood

     And if you have not understood everything I have just told you, please do not worry, as it is my fault, I spoke very badly. But I will tell you the same thing in a very different way, much clearer I think, like the bees that communicate, so they say, through a dance rhythm, telling you the story of Posturology.