Dans le dernier chapitre de Knowledge and the body-mind problem revient sur sa conception du rapport entre l’homme et ses œuvres et explicite ce qu’il reproche à la théorie de la création comme expression de soi.
« According to the theory of self-expression, the quality of the work we do depends upon how good we are. It depends only on our talents, on our psychological, and, perhaps, on our physiological states. I regard this as a false, vicious, and depressing theory. According to the theory of world 3, there is no such simple relationship. There is, on the contrary, a give-and-take interaction between a person and his work. You can do your work, and, thereby, grow through your work so as to do better work — and grow again through that better work, and so on.
There is a constant feedback through which world 3 acts upon us. And the most active part of world 3 in this is our own work, the product which we contribute to world 3. This feedback can be greatly amplified by conscious self-criticism. The incredible thing about life, evolution, and mental growth is just this method of give and take, this interaction between our actions and their results by which we constantly transcend ourselves, our talents, and our gifts.
This self-transcendence is the most striking and important fact of all life and all evolution, and especially of human evolution. […]
The process of learning — of the growth of subjective knowledge — is always fundamentally the same. It is imaginative criticism. This is how we transcend our local and temporal environment by trying to think of circumstances beyond our experience: by trying to find, construct, invent, and anticipate new situations — that is, test situations, critical situations — and by trying to locate, detect, and challenge our prejudices and habitual assumptions.
This is how we lift ourselves by our bootstraps out of the morass of our ignorance — how we throw a rope into the air and then climb up it, should it get any purchase, however precarious, on any little twig. »
Le chapitre et l’ouvrage se clôt sur un prêche rationaliste roboratif.
« The process of self-transcendence through mutual growth and feedback is something that can be achieved in all walks of life and in all fields. It is possible for us to achieve it in our personal relations. It may not depend only on us, and it may lead to disappointments. But disappointments are met with in all phases of life. Our task is never to give way to a feeling that we did not receive what was our due. For as long as we live, we always receive more than is our due. To realize this, we have only to learn that there is nothing that the world owes us.
We all can participate in the heritage of man. We all can help to preserve it. And we all can make our own modest contribution to it. We must not ask for more. »