Our view of the world is incomplete. The world always has more properties than our descriptions, theories and ideas about it can describe. But we don’t have a shared incomplete view. Instead, each of us has a different partial view with different gaps, errors and blurred areas, different from those of others, although in many cases, there are overlaps.
We communicate in order to increase these overlaps and even out the differences, but in many cases, this only creates opportunities to combine ideas in novel ways. And by our very creativity, we add to the multiplicity of phenomena in the world, thus opening up new gaps in our understanding of it.
The inherent incompleteness of our knowledge thus leads to the multitude of individual views, of different cultures, of incompatible scientific approaches and paradigms. Look into a library or a bookshop with its thousands or hundreds of thousands of books about different topics. Look into the internet with its sprouting multiplicity of pages. The more knowledge we acquire, the more our cultures fragment and diversify.
Some people lament this. Some people seem to be unable to bear this situation of unavoidable incompleteness of knowledge. Some people build around themselves an artificial order, be it a religion or another type of ideology, pretending to be in the possession of the complete and true knowledge. In doing so, they blind themselves to large parts of the world and to the views and lives of many others. The world cannot be captured in a single book and even a single book cannot be captured in a single interpretation. Ideologies, including dogmatic religions, are as-if-constructions that pretend to be reality. History is full of cases where such closed world-views claiming absolute truth have led to violence.
If the fundamental impossibility of arriving at a complete world view leads to unavoidable diversity both of individuals and of groups or cultures, should not the consequence therefore be to cultivate tolerance and openness instead of dogma and ideology?