Toilet: Hey, Socrates!
Toilet: Many people talked about learning… including you.
Socrates: Sure. Perhaps I brought it up with Meno once or so.
Toilet: You kind of said that learning was recollection.
Socrates: Can’t deny it.
Toilet: Then let me ask, what I was thinking in the shower, why shan’t learning also be forgetting?
Socrate: Interesting… why do you ask?
Toilet: Sometimes I was taught or spontaneously assumed something that I later found wrong. Yet the habit of acting as if it is true is like an impression of that false opinion on my body that I could not dispense without force or practice. I must work as hard, if not harder, to forget the opinion that is false. Are’t forgetting the false learning as well?
Socrates: What you said was remarkable. But I myself do not know the answer. Shall we discuss the matter together and see where it takes us?
Toilet: Sounds great! But where do we start?
Socrates: Let’s look at the basic. What is the learning that we were talking about?
Toilet: I meant to talk about learning as acquiring knowledge – the process of becoming to know something that is true.
Socrates: So if instead we acquired an opinion whether it is true, or false, or neither, or both, we shall not call it learning but something else?
Toilet: Yes, that is what I meant. But before we continue, what do you mean by neither or both?
Socrates: Like a paradox. Or something ambiguous, like “I am old” but it is true if in comparison to people that are younger, but false if in comparison to people that are older.
Toilet: I see. We will have to discuss that another day! Yes, so, I meant learning as acquiring knowledge that we define as something true.
Socrates: Then what is forgetting?
Toilet: What I meant by forgetting is to release oneself from something that is false – to no longer possess an opinion that is false.
Socrates: So the question is whether to be free from a false opinion is acquiring something true, or as you said, becoming to know something that is true.
Toilet: Sounds like what I said.
Socrates: What do you acquire that is true from the removal of the false opinion?
Toilet: When you put it that way, it seems that the loss of the false does not imply gaining truth.
Socrates: I agree. Maybe we missed something. Let’s go back to what you said at the beginning. You said that you wanted to forget a false opinion if it was found out to be wrong.
Toilet: Yes, that’s what I said.
Socrates: So, the premise is that you must have already learnt something true which happens to contradict an existing opinion and this very opinion, by virtue of the new knowledge, must be false.
Toilet: You are right. In that case, the desire to forget is a consequence of acquiring knowledge rather than the means of it. Or more precisely, a new knowledge that contradicts an existing opinion would prompt me try to forget or remove that existing opinion.
Socrates: Great. Then whatever this new knowledge, say “V”, is, it must itself is or otherwise implies that “opinion X is false”, where “X” is the thing you want to forget.
Socrates: Then let’s see if forgetting “X” helps with anything. Does it assist learning in any way or a necessary consequence? ‘cuz otherwise, it wouldn’t seem to have anything to do with learning.
Toilet: That seems to be the case. Let’s see what forgetting would do.
Socrates: Would it help improve the new knowledge “V”?
Toilet: Since that now I also know that “X is false” from “V”, forgetting “X” does not seem to affect the value of “V”.
Socrates: Um hum.
Toilet: Or to the contrary, now “X” becomes an ingredient of the knowledge that “X is false”, which, if “X” is forgotten, I wouldn’t have known.
Socrates: That way, forgetting “X” would end up prevents some knowledge.
Toilet: That would indeed be the case. Then forgetting “X” would certainly not be a necessary consequence of knowing “V”, while remembering “X” would be necessary to retain a knowledge implied by “V”.
Socrates: Would forgetting “X” make it easier for one to realize “V” is true at the first place?
Toilet: It certainly would. But before knowing, I would not know which opinions I shall forget. I might try to forget a true opinion that could assist acquiring knowledge.
Socrates: You are right.
Toilet: Now it seems to me that forgetting the false is not so much knowing the truth, while remembering, even something false, can be a seed for some truth to be known.
Socrates: I agree. The action towards the false, then, should not be forgetting the false, but to remember the false false.
Toilet: Thanks for the chat.
Socrates: Anytime my dear Friend.
Socrates flushed the toilet and they all went to rest.
Recorded by T.S. 4/12/2017