Sunday, August 08, 2004

Of Chipmunks and the Value of Knowledge

I observed a chipmunk the other day. He dug a hole in my backyard gravel, found some food, and then completely filled up the hole. I saw him do this twice. Amazing. Why fill the hole rather than walk away from it? I don't reckon that integrity of landscaping is a typical chipmunk concern.

I could crack open a book on ethology and follow through on this question and a thousand others. But why pursue such knowledge? Granted, knowledge is a value. But if you are comfortable with this value judgment, then you should also feel comfortable with the judgment that not all types of knowledge are of equal value.

And if you can see your way clear to this second judgment, then perhaps you can take the next step: Better relatively uncertain knowledge about ultimates than certain knowledge about inconsequentialities.