THE HUMAN PROCESS OF 'KNOWING': COGNITION OR 'KNOWLEDGE'
Theme: The human capacity for learning... a survival oriented process of knowing or 'cognition'... is the result of millions of years of evolution through natural selection. As a product of human evolution the cognitive process is required for human adaptation to changing environmental conditions i.e. 'adaptability'. Human adaptability depends on the capacity to create insights or 'concepts' which give rise to information about the world of 'reality' i.e. 'truth'. Truth finding or reliable 'science' is a human activity rooted in the instinct for self-preservation. 'Knowing the truth' or 'knowledge' involves the capacity to formulate theoretical abstractions from the objective reality of experience... 'symbolic knowledge'... and to understand its significance in a global context... 'intimate knowledge'. The different kinds of knowledge correspond to the different modes of knowing: 'symbolic knowledge' refers to the objective mode of knowing... and 'intimate knowledge' refers to the subjective mode of knowing. Symbolic knowledge can be dualistic, abstract, and therefore incomplete if its significance is not understood. It becomes non-dualistic, holistic and therefore 'complete' if its significance is understood in a global context... with 'holistic perception'.
Holistic perception is a function of the dynamic process of making meaning of experience. So-called 'experiential learning' or is a natural function of the human brain. Effective functioning of the brain ... the cognitive process of 'knowing' or 'creative intelligence'... depends on a period of human growth or 'education' which engages the integrated and therefore complete development of the personality i.e. 'holistic education'. Holistic education involves the facilitation of normal development in a learning environment which is appropriate to the engagement of motivation by intrinsic 'human needs'.
(photo: Einstein used his imagination... intimate knowing or 'knowledge' to make connections between the dualistic concepts of 'time' and 'space', 'energy' and 'matter'.)
"The human mind is capable of transcending apparent empirical 'facts' and can penetrate to the 'world of formative ideas'. Through the power of imagination, we are able to integrate the empirical with the ideal, to place the concrete facts of our experience into a larger context of meaning, evolution and purpose. Physicist David Bohm calls this context 'undivided wholeness in flowing movement'. Gregory Bateson called it the 'pattern which connects'. Spiritual traditions have called it the Absolute, the Tao, or God. It is the infinitely creative source of Being." (Miller et al. The Renewal of Meaning in Education: Responses to the Cultural and Ecological Crisis of our Times 16)
traditional paradigm and orthodox science...
knowledge as process of 'knowing'... modes of knowing...
objective aspect of knowledge: the 'known'...
subjective aspect of knowledge... the subjective 'knower'...
understanding depends on complete personality development...
existential structure of human existence... existential split or 'antimony'... polarity of antinomic poles...
observation and felt meanings... knowledge is structured in consciousness... knowers' unconcious motivational forces...
science of human nature as 'science of creative intelligence'...
union of the poles... transcendance of existential split...
important role of dissent in evolution of knowledge...
self-knowledge... stages of knowledge as the process of knowing... mysticism as knowledge...
truth... function of contemplation... truth-finding as science... spiritually evolved person...
implications for education...
Modes of knowing "With the awakening of symbolic knowledge there 'seems' to arise arise a split in the universe between 'knower' and the 'known,' the thinker and thought, the subject and the object; and our innermost consciousness, as knower and investigator of the external world, ultimately excapes its own grasp and remains as the Unknown, Unshown, and Ungraspable, much as your hand can grasp numerous objects but never itself, or your eye can see the world but not itself. Just as a knife cannot cut itself, the universe cannot totally see itself as an object without totally mutilating itself... the (notion) that the universe is severed into subject vs. object (dichotomies of a dualistic universe) ...the very cornerstone of western philosophy, theology and science. For western philosophy is, by and large, Greek philosophy, and Greek philosophy is the philosophy of dualisms. ... the error of dualism forms the root of intellection and is therefore next to impossible to uproot by intellection (Catch 22: If I have a fly in my eye, how can I see that I have a fly in my eye?) To detect this demands a rigorous, consistent, and persistent methodology capable of pursuing dualism to its limits there to discover the contradiction. Today, science potentially offers the type of rigorous approach capable of rooting out dualisms, principally because of its thoroughgoing experimentalism and its sophisticated instrumentation that allows it to pursue a dualism to its limits. This is exactly the type of powerful and consistent methodology that is potentially capable of destroying dualisms, and although scientists didn't realize it, they had started to build upon the Cartesian dualism of subject vs. object a methodology of such persistence that it would eventually crumble the very dualism upon which it rested. Classical science was destined to be self-liquidating. See Heisenberg's 'uncertainty principle' etc. The quantum revolution was so cataclysmic because it attacked not one or two conclusions of classical physics but its very cornerstone, the foundation upon which the whole edifice was erected, and that was the subject-object dualism...It was abundantly clear to these physicists that 'objective measurement and verification could no longer be the mark of absolute reality, because the measured object could never be completely separated from the measuring subject-the measure and the measurer, the verified and the verifier, at this level, are one and the same.' Now at about the same time that the 'rigid frame' of scientific dualism was collapsing in physics, a young mathematician named Kurt Godel (25 years old) was authoring what is surely the most incredible treatise of its kind. In essence it is a type of logical analogue to the physical Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle. Known today as the 'incompleteness theorem', it embodies a rigorous mathematical demonstration that every encompassing system of logic must have at least one premise that cannot be proven or verified without contradicting itself. Thus 'it is impossible to establish the logical consistency of any complex deductive system except by assuming principles of reasoning whose own internal consistency is as open to question as that of the system itself'. Thus logically as well as physically, 'objective' verification is not a mark of reality (except in consensual pretense). If all is to be verified, how do you verify the verifier, since he is surely part of the all? In other words, when the universe is severed into subject vs. an object, into one state which sees vs. one state which is seen, something always gets left out. No observing system can observe itself observing. For this reason there is always uncertainty, incompleteness. Besides relinquishing the illusory division between subject and object, wave and particle, mind and body, mental and material, the new physics-with the brilliant help of Einstein abandoned the dualism of time and space, energy and matter ...this is of the utmost importance, for these scientists realized the inadequacy of dualistic knowledge only by recognizing the possibility of another mode of knowing Reality, a mode of knowing that does not separate the knower and the known, the subject and the object. Eddington calls the second mode of knowing "intimate" because the subject and object are intimately united in its operation. As soon as the dualism of subject-object arises, however, this 'intimacy is lost' and is 'replaced by symbolism, and we instantly fall back into the all-too-common world of analytical and dualistic knowledge. Thus - and we will presently elaborate upon this at length - symbolic knowledge is dualistic knowledge. And since the separation of the subject from the object is illusory, the symbolic knowledge that folllows from it is, in a certain sense, just as illusory. This dualistic and symbolic is at once the brilliance and the blind-spot of science and philosophy, for it allows a highly sophisticated and analytical picture of the world itself, but however illuminating and detailed these pictures may be, they remain just that - pictures. They therefore stand to reality just as a picture of the moon stands to the real moon. Korzybski, father of modern semantics, lucidly explained this insight by describing what he called the 'map-territory' relationship. The 'territory' is the world process in its actuality, while a 'map' is any symbolic notation that represents or signifies some aspect of the territory. The obvious point is that the map is not the territory. We have available to us two basic modes of knowing, as these physicists discovered (symbolic and intimate)."
Traditional paradigm based on assumption that knowledge is static... classical or 'orthodox science': In the seventeenth century the paradigm of classical science was based on the assumption that the mental and physical realms of existence are completely separate. In this paradigm the picture of truth was that it is out there –perfect, complete and hidden but unobtainable. It was the Church and the State who determined a priori what the truth should be. This changed with the Scientific Revolution when astronomers and physicists (Newton) asserted their freedom to make observations and then determine for themselves what really was the 'truth'.
The so-called ‘scientific method’ was devised as a rational method of analysing observations and forming conclusions without the disruption of emotions.
Traditionally distinctions are made between the empirical (observation), rational (reason), and contemplative (contemplation) modes of knowing or 'knowledge'. What can be known by observation should not be confused with what can be known by reason and what can be known through contemplation is not accessible to observation or reason... it transcends both. Knowledge gained through one of these modes of knowing cannot be adequately defined in terms of the other two. The domain of traditional 'science' is so-called takes 'knowledge' gained by applying reason to empirical observation. Contemplation (thought and feelings) is not counted as 'scientific'. (See Walsh)
Notion of 'scientific objectivity': emotions thought to be an enemy of true perception... 'desacralizing of science' (Maslow) In the paradigm of classical science emotions are thought to be the enemy of ‘true’ perception and good judgment. The emotions are thought to be exclusive of truth and therefore detrimental to wisdom. The concept of ‘scientific objectivity’ which was connected with physics-centred theory in time distorted perception when applied to human affairs but for a long time it has been difficult to change that. Scientific objectivity implies an impersonal 'value-free science' and can be successfully applied in the study of objects which are not related to human aspirations and motivations. Feeling uninvolved, detached and neutral is possible with the study of rocks, heat, electrical currents etc. but the factor of human motivation cannot be ignored in the study of social sciences. The uncritical application of the concept of scientific objectivity as the old and widely held notion… generalisation that emotions only disrupt ‘true’ perception and good judgement … can only have a crippling effect if applied to human sciences. The study of education and educational theory depends on the humanistic approach to science.
"...old and widely held notion that emotions are only disrupting, that they are the enemy of true perception and good judgement, that they are the opposite of sagacity and are and must be mutually excluding of truth. A humanistic approach to science generates a different attitude, i.e. that emotion can be synergic with cognition, and a help in truth-finding." (Maslow Farther Reaches of Human Nature. New York: Viking 1971 p.112) Wilber ...proposes that transpersonal psychology is in a unique position to be able to employ all three modes in a balanced fashion, thus allowing a fuller psychology than anything heretofore." (Walsh l98) Ken Wilber (Walsh "Beyond Ego." pp 234-240)
Charles Tart... assumption that science can be expanded sufficiently to apply to areas of knowledge that are actually the province of contemplation.
Science started with symbolic, dualistic knowledge focusing on the 'shadows', but as a result of recent advances in the physical sciences, this mode of knowing - in one aspect at least was found to be inadequate for that 'knowledge of the Real' that it had so deceptively promised. This inadequacy led many physicists to draw on the second or intimate mode of knowing, or at least to envisage the necessity of this type of knowledge".
"Orthodox science has been defined as 'value - free'. The situation is even worse than it was during the Renaissance, because more recently all the value fields - humanities and arts - have been included in this world of non-science i.e. of the unscientific. Science began originally as a determination to rely on one's own eyes instead of on the ancients or upon ecclesiastical authority or pure logic. It was originally just a kind of looking for oneself rather than trusting anyone else's preconceived ideas. Orthodox science today attempts to be free not only of values but of emotions... The unquestioned assumption that 'cool' perceiving and neutral thinking (without emotion) are best for discovering any kind of scientific truth... An important by-product of this dichotomizing is the desacralizing of science, the banishment of all the experiences of transcendence from the realm of the respectably known and the respectably knowable, and the denial of a systematic place in science for awe, wonder, mystery, ecstasy, beauty, and peak experiences." (Editor Abraham Maslow. New Knowledge in Human Values. New York: Harper Brothers 1959 an elaboration of a paper read at a meeting of the John Dewey society and a "continuation of Motivation and Personality - especially the first three chapters." Discussion of Truth: Maslow, A.H. Notes on Being-Psychology, Journal Humanistic Psychology, II (1962), 47-71)
What is knowledge? What knowledge is not... knowledge is not static. Knowledge is the process of 'knowing'... process of creative imagination... a process of integrating 'the facts of experience into a larger context of meaning'... a process of understanding which comes from clarity of thought.
"Since knowing is a process, knowledge that exists today was once only a viability and it then became a new knowledge, relative and therefore successive to yesterday's existing knowledge."(Paulo Freire The Politics of Education South Hadley, MA: Bergin and Garvey Publishers, Inc. 1985 115)
Subjective and objective aspects of knowledge: Knowledge has subjective and objective aspects. With both aspects - experience and understanding- knowledge is complete.
The objective aspect of knowledge - 'symbolic knowledge' is objective experience of symbolic meaning... symbols...definitions i.e. 'symbolic knowledge'. Dualistic knowledge derives from symbolic knowledge, use of symbols for representation - language
By itself symbolic knowledge experience is not sufficient for complete cognition... Experience (objective knowledge) is incomplete...ithout understanding (subjective knowledge) which comes from meditation and thought in the mind of the fully developed human being... Objective knowledge of experience is incomplete without the 'knowers' subjective knowledge of understanding. Without the understanding the 'knower,' the knowledge is incomplete 'incomplete cognition'...
Danger of purely 'abstract' knowledge'... Abstract or 'symbolic knowledge' can be dangerous if it is not integrated with understanding of experience to create 'experiential' or 'intimate knowledge'. "It is the dichotomized, solely abstract knowledge that is so dangerous... the abstractions and the systems that are opposed to or dichotomized from experiental knowledge instead of being built upon it and integrated with it. ...abstract knowledge dichotomizd from experiential knowledge is false but abstract knowledge built upon and hierarchically integrated with experiential knowledge is a necessity for human life."(Maslow Farther Reaches of Human Nature. New York: Viking 1971 p. 6)
"Most ancient civilizations knew what we have forgotten: that knowledge (without understanding) is a fearful thing To know the name of something is to hold power over it ...in ancient myths and legends... eating from the tree of knowledge meant banishment from one garden or another.... In the modern world, this Janus-like quality of knowledge has been forgotten. Descartes, for example, reached the conclusion that 'the more I sought to inform myself, the more I realized how ignorant I was.' Instead of taking this as a proper conclusion of a good education, Descartes thought ignorance was a solvable problem and set forth to find certain truth through a process of radical skepticism. Francis Bacon went further to propose an alliance between science and power which reached fruition with the Manhattan Project and the first atomic bomb." (David Orr. "The Dangers of Education" in Miller et al. The Renewal of Meaning in Education: Responses to the Cultural and Ecological Crisis of our Times. p. 27)
The subjective aspect of knowledge is understanding which comes from meditation and thought in the mind of the 'knower' as a fully developed human being.
Subject of the objective symbolic knowledge is the 'knower'
The .the subjective knower is the source of the thought process... The extent of understanding and comprehension depends on the knower's extent of awareness or 'consciousness'... of human values or 'self-knowledge' determines the extent of comprehension of the 'known' (symbolic knowledge). Knowledge is structured in consciousness.
Locating the object of the 'knowing' - symbolic knowledge - is much easier than locating the knowledge of the subjective 'knower' or understanding...
The science of creative intelligence is the study of the location of the subjective 'knower'.
The science of creative intelligence is the study of the location of the subjective 'knower,' the source of the thought process.
For complete wholistic comprehension of symbolic knowledge in all its aspects, wholistically, the subject of the knowledge - the knower - must be fully developed in his humanness and therefore creatively intelligent when experiencing the objective 'known.' As knowledge of experience, the 'known,' is incomplete without understanding on the part of the fully developed, creatively intelligent 'knower,' so knowledge is incomplete if it does not include the complete cognition of the knower... and so education is incomplete if it does not foster the full development of the individual, his creative intelligence.
Action based on incomplete knowledge in the absence of creative intelligence, is non-creative and even destructive. Action based on complete knowledge, in the presence of creative intelligence, with understanding is creative and constructive
Reference Maharishi Mahesh Yogi The Science of Being and Art of Living. International SRM Publications, l966
complete cognition depends on 'felt meaning'... We cannot even know what a concept 'means' or use it meaningfully without the 'feel' of its meaning.... If we do not have the felt meaning of the concept, we haven't got the concept at all...We cannot think without felt meaning.
problem solving involves both symbolic meanings and felt meanings - feelings for the symbols.
'Felt meaning' involves the individual's own feelings for his own experiences... experiencing... felt meaning has an essential role in cognition.
felt meaning...comes from meditation and thought in the mind of the self actualized subject of knowledge or knower...
"Although it has been described for centuriies, Western philosophers and scientists have tended to forget the distinction between the two major types of knowledge, 'symbolic' and 'intimate'. Symbolic, map or inferential knowledge, as opposed to the direct knowing of an object that comes from nonsymbolic intimate knowledge. In 'Two Modes of Knowledge', Ken Wilber reminds us of this distinction and points out that the failure to remember it results in forgetting that our ordinary conception of the wolrd is only a symbolic knowledge map - a conceptual creation rather than the real world itself. Only by moving to the intimate non-symbolic knowledge of the contemplative mode and its corresponding state of consciousness can we know the real world." (Walsh Beyond Ego: Transpersonal Dimensions of Psychology pp l98-l99)
Knowledge of reality... complete knowledge... 'true knowledge' or 'truth' is based on the union of the knower (subjective knowledge) and the 'known' (objective knowledge). In knowledge of the truth... in the process of knowing the truth, the knower is connected with the known.
For complete cognition or true 'knowledge'... abstractions and systems (objective knowledge or 'symbolic knowledge') must be integrated with experiential knowledge (subjective or 'intimate' knowledge).
Truth as reality provides view of reality a worldview or 'paradigm'. The paradigm is like a map for negotiating the terrain of life. If the map is accurate and ‘true’, one knows where one is one knows where one wants to go, and one generally knows how to get there. If the map is inaccurate and false, one is probably lost. The validity of the map of reality depends on one’s ability for critical thought. Total dedication to reality means a willingness to challenge one’s own perceptions as well as those of others. The more willing one is to accept the challenge, the more clearly one sees the reality of the world. The more clearly one sees the world, the better equipped one is to deal with it. The less clearly one sees the world, the more befuddled the mind becomes by falsehood, misperceptions, and illusions and the less able one is to deal with it... the less able one is to distinguish between what is true and what is not 'true' and to determine correct courses of action and make wise decisions.
"Truth is not that which is demonstrable; truth is that which is ineluctable." (Antoine St. Exupery)
Truth is a function of 'complete cognition' based on holistic perception... the object of perception is perceived simultaneously in its uniqueness and in its relation to a totality...
The ability to distinguish between 'truth' and 'untruth' depends on whether cognition is 'complete' or 'incomplete'.
Perception of reality is naturally wholistic - The human organism is instinctively dependent on an intense interest in reality... has an instinctive interest in understanding the realities of the world around him - the physical environment and the social environment... affected and stimulated emotionally as well as intellectually. In the individual's instinctive attempt to comprehend the world, both intellectual and emotional powers are combined in a wholistic perception.
Knowledge of reality or 'truth' is a product of holistic perception and complete cognition... depends on the knower's understanding... subjective understanding.. 'subjective knowledge'.
Knowledge is complete if it comprises the two aspects - (objective) - first, symbolic knowledge or experience and second (subjective) understanding.. Experience (objective knowledge) is incomplete without understanding (subjective knowledge). Experiential knowledge... understanding of experience or 'true' knowledge...
Truth is an alloy of the perceived with the perceiver: Truth as reality is like an alloy. Truth is a mutual product, a transaction between perceiver and perceived. The observer partly creates the reality or 'truth'. With observer expectation, the act of observation itself shapes, changes, intrudes into the condition of 'being observed'. Dedication to the truth is dedication to the complete cognition of reality. Complete cognition results from integration of personality ...from leading a life of total honesty with total freedom just to 'be', living in the open. Openness is a source of illumination and clarification involving the use of language which reflects the cognitive processes or 'thinking'.
Thinking is externalised and truth is made in the 'interpersonal relation' - in the critical discourse of dialogue.
The function of dialogue is to examine how accurately one's perception of reality reflects the true reality or truth. Exercising one's courage to communicate with others - to live in the open - frees one from fear. Openness and freedom are the conditions for personal spiritual growth. Growth of the human spirit means giving up the self i.e. the 'ego' ...establishing and maintaining meaningful relationships, loving at the level of Being ... enjoying actualisation in itself... seeing it as it is... not prone to judgement, exploitation, desire, for improvement, or in any other way projecting one's own values onto the other ... not wanting to interfere with the actualisation and freedom of others, means more concrete experiencing and witnessing... less dissecting, abstracting, simplifying, organizing, and manipulating. Leaving it alone to be itself also implies a holistic, global attitude. This is complete cognition or 'being-cognition' and 'being-love'. From being-cognition and being-love comes freedom from fear. Freedom from fear facilitates the capacity for knowing what one is and is not responsible for... for taking complete responsibility for oneself. With freedom from fear comes joy of life. The meaning of life - provided by death - is overcoming the fear of death and uniting in a spirit of fellowship or 'love'. This is the central wisdom of spiritual evolution... of religion.
The making of truth in the interpersonal relation (dialogue): The picture of truth and of reality that we have inherited from the classical science of the impersonal is that it is 'out there' perfect, complete, hidden but uncoverable. In the earlier versions the observer simply observed. In later versions it was understood that the observer had spectacles that distorted but which could never be removed. Most recently physicists and psychologists have learned that the act of observation is itself a shaper, a changer, an intruder into the phenomenon being observed. In a word, the observer partly creates the reality i.e. the truth. Reality seems to be a kind of alloy of the perceiver and the perceived, a sort of mutual product, a transaction. For instance, see the many researches with refference and with the effects of observer-expectation, to mention only two well-known lines of experimentation. I mean here more than the 'personal equation' of the astronomer or even Heisenberg's principle of indeterminacy. I refer rather to the impossibility of finding out what, for example, a preliterate culture would 'really' be like, undistorted by the observing ethnologist." (Maslow, A. The Psychology of Science: A Reconaissance. New York and London: Harper and Row, 1966. page 110)
It is the observer's unconscious motivational forces which operate in the perception of reality.
Knowledge of reality is structured in consciousness....
"...different modes of knowing correspond to different levels of consciousness. Our personal identity is intimately related to the level of consciousness from and on which we operate. Therefore, a shift in our mode of knowing results in a shift in our basic identity. If we utilize only the symbolic and dualistic mode of knowing, ... we feel ouselves to be fundamentally distinct and alien from the universe, an identity that is signified by our role and our self-image, that is to say, the symbol-picture that we have formed of ourselves, by dualistically becoming an object to ourselves. Non -dual knowlege does not so operate. It is the nature of the non-dual mode of knowing to be one with what it knows, and this entails a shift in one's sense of identity." Startling conclusion: "Since modes of knowing correspond with levels of consciousness, and since Reality is a particular mode of knowing, it follows that Reality is a level of consciousness." (Walsh 236)
In order for the known to be fully comprehended in all its aspects, that is wholistically, the knower must be fully developed in his humanness and therefore creatively intelligent when experiencing the objective known... must have 'subjective knowledge'...
Observation involves feelings for the symbols or 'felt meanings'. Something observed is observed as meaningful. Actions involve felt meanings. Actions are meaningful. Spoken words involve felt meanings. Thinking about problems involves felt meanings. The problems are meaningful if they give rise to 'suggestions' for possible solutions... ... love relationships that go over into the mystic experience of fusion with the world ...beyond knowledge through love for the object... to knowledge by fusion with the object... experiential knowledge... knowledge from within...knowedge by being what we are knowing... experience.
Human process of truth-finding or 'science' It is the knowledge of truth which is of survival value to the human organism. As a biological social organism, the human individual depends for survival on comprehension of the realities of both the physical environment and the social environment. The human organism has an instinctive interest in understanding the realities of the environment. In its instinctive dependence on an intense interest in reality, the human organism is affected and stimulated emotionally as well as intellectually. Combining both intellectual and emotional powers, the organism instinctively attempts to comprehend the world... this is the curiosity which is rooted in the instinct of preservation i.e. 'intrinsic motivation'. Intrinsic motivation involves perception of a reality as an interconnecting unity …a totality. Intrinsically motivated perception is 'holistic' and the holistic perception of reality is 'truth'. Truth finding involves the functions of emotion and cognition operating together. Emotion is synergic with cognition.
"Science and knowledge are not a finished enterprise... science is essentially a self-correcting activity... scientists are people who correct the picture of the moment with another one as a natural evolution toward a 'true' picture of the world". (Bronowski, J. Imagination. 122)
"Truth is central to science" (Bronowski, Ascent of Man 56)
A science necessarily values truth.. The search for truth requires independence of mind which safeguards originality - the tool with which new discoveries are made.
Stages of knowledge The first stage is the unconscious feeling of uneasiness that 'something isn't quite right here'. The second stage - hunch, guess, intuition, 'unverbalized 'prethoughts'... the stage of inchoate ambiguous knowledge - the stage of inquiry, verbalizing the question; third stage seeking and arriving at an answer.
"The facts are the consequence of the 'unfounded' self-confidence, not the cause of it." (John Dewey)
Importance of asking the 'right question'... The acquisition of knowledge is based on the ability to clarify the issues and ask good clear questions. There are many instances in the history of science and philosophy where a question was unanswered for centuries until the question was rephrased in such a way that the answer was very simple to find. Clarification of a difficult problem is an important step forward because it avoids a lot of fruitless and endless debate... it clears the air for fruitful discussion and resolution of the real problems.
"The high moments of dissent are basic to progress.
"Dissent is an instrument of intellectual evolution" (Hartman,R. "The Science of Value" In Malslow A.H. (ed) New Knowledge in Human Values. New York: Harper, 1959
"Progress comes only when accepted values are challenged." (Bronowski 60)
Common sense and scientific inquiry: scientific perception of 'reality'
"Philosophers ask many more questions than they can answer. Asking a good clear question is one of the most important things we can do. We find many instances in the history of both science and philosophy where a question was unanswered for centuries until some genius came along and rephrased the question, and all of a sudden it was found that the answer was very simple to find as well. For this reason a great deal of time is spent on this book in clarifying issues. Clarification of a difficult problem is a great step forward. It certainly avoids much fruitless and apparently endless debate, and hence clears the air for fruitful work and the solution of the problem." (Kemeny)
Important role of dissent in evolution of knowledge Science necessarily values truth... truth is central to science... the search for truth requires independence of mind which safeguards originality - the tool with which new discoveries are made. Independence of mind and originality must be allowed expression and thus 'dissent' must be valued.
"The high moments of dissent are monuments in our literature... : the writings of Milton, the Declaration of Independence, the sermons of John Wesley and the poetry of Shelley. (Bronowski Ascent of Man 58)
Progress comes only when accepted values are challengd... Dissent is an instrument of intellectual evolution... The search for truth requires independence of mind which safeguards originality - the tool with which new discoveries are made. Independence of mind and originality must be allowed expression and thus 'dissent' must be valued" (Jerome Bruner).
Holism as the drive to ever higher unities
Everywhere we look in nature, we see nothing but wholes. 'Holism' is the drive to ever-higher unities. Evolution is the drive to holism...holistic evolution of nature - applies also to the individual's growth and development. Personal psychological growth involves "unfolding of ever-higher-order unities and integrations"..
Mysticism as knowledge: the 'peak experience' 'Peak experience' in science... an intense feeling of unity with the universe and of one's own place within that unity. Characteristic quality of the peak experience is that the universe is perceived as an integrated and unified whole. During the peak experience, a kind of knowledge occurs called 'B-cognition'... The mystical experience is a natural form of knowledge ...an act of knowing by which a person breaks through to what he thinks is the basic structure of the universe... makes contact with the Way Things Are... the 'What is'.
The mystical experience is a natural form of knowledge ...the individual makes contact with the 'way things are'... i.e. the 'truth'.
'Complete cognition' is a function of awareness or 'consciousness'.
Whether cognition is complete or incomplete depends on whether or not one aware or 'critically conscious'. Critical consciousness is a function of integration of the personality.
The capacity for complete cognition is a function of personality integration.
Transference and incomplete understanding... 'incomplete cognition' or 'untruth' knowledge is incomplete without the complete cognition - the understanding of the knower... 'incomplete cognition').. Incomplete cognition is seeing the details but not the whole, seeing the trees but not the forest. The individual who is unable to enliven perception from within combines the known factors which are already in existence and infers their operation in the future by calculating with the imagination. The product of incomplete cognition is 'untruth'.
Experience (objective knowledge) is incomplete without understanding (subjective knowledge) which comes from contemplation or 'meditation'... of the fully developed human being...
The personality is not fully integrated when the individual actively clings to an outmoded view of reality developed in childhood and inappropriately transferred into adulthood i.e. 'transference'. Transference results in incomplete cognition. Cognition is incomplete when the individual sees the surface features of environmental phenomena but is unable to penetrate below the surface to the essentials... the individual is unable to visualize what is not yet apparent... recognizes things as they appear to be and perceives reality as the sum total of what has already materialized. (The incomplete cognition results from the lack of wholeness in the conditioning influences of the social environment.)
"A mature truth told to immature minds ceases, in those minds,
to be that same mature truth. Immature minds take from it only what immature
minds can assimilate.In the end, even though they may give it li-service and may
raise institutions in its name, they turn the mature truth into an applied
immaturity. Thius fate of psychological depreciation has been the fate of all
our greatest human truths. Uttered by mature minds, and for the puprose of
maturing minds, they have been received , for the mostnpart , by less mature
minds - and have thus been only partially comprehended . Being jonly partially
comprehended , they ave found expression in ways that have perpetuated as much
misunderstanding as understanding , as much error as truth. (Overstreet, H.A.
The Mature Mind. New York: W.W. Norton & Cio. Inc. 1949. 88)
Throughout human history, great insights are degraded by minds too immature to understand them and put them into mature practice. One obvious examplple is the universal degradation of the idea of One God as the source of truth rather than a multiplicity of gods leading to confusion. The concept of God was degenerated into a mystery beyond man's comprehension.
The spiritually evolved person is an extraordinarily loving person who is competent in the service of others. With great power... they suffer dreadfully. Discipline is the means of human spiritual evolution... the force behind discipline is love and the capacity to exercise attention by listening. A major and essential task in the process of one's spiritual development is the continuous work of bringing one's conscious self-concept into progressively greater congruence with reality i.e. 'being-cognition'.
Spiritual evolution to a life of higher consciousness means more suffering but more joy.
Knowledge through being-love: "The ability to B-love is a characteristic of a higher level if personal maturity. Therefore personal maturity is a pre condition for this kind of perspicuity, and one way to improve this kind of knowing would be to improve the maturity of the knower. What could this imply for the education of scientists?" (Maslow, A. The Psychology of Science: A Reconaissance. New York and London: Harper and Row 1966 page 114-118)
Function of contemplation or 'meditation' The inner field of intelligence and creativity can be experienced in transcendental meditation (self-transcendance). Being-cognition requires constant self-examination and contemplation or 'meditation'. Meditation is essential for finding the 'truth' upon which ultimate survival depends. The truth-finding process in the paradigm of holistic science is based on the assumption that everything experienced -both physical and mental- is part of an interconnecting unity.
This is the unitary approach of the science of interconnectedness or wholeness i.e. 'holistic science'.
In the unitary view of holistic science, reductionist causes appear to describe why things behave the way they do only when part of the whole can be sufficiently isolated from the rest that it appears unconnected. From the holistic perspective there are two ways to connect with reality. One is through physical sense data - the objective aspect of the truth-finding process which is the basis of classical science... orthodox science or 'scientism'; the other is through the deep intuitive 'inner knowing' of observer participation - the subjective aspect of the truth-finding process i.e. contemplation or 'meditation'.
Implications for education: importance of development of the knower The individual in the modern technological society must be acquainted with an increasing amount of objective knowledge. He must be able to make responsible decisions for himself in order to survive and adapt to the demands of a rapidly changing society. Therefore the need for subjective development... personal development... must be acknowledged, respected and prioritized in the education which is offered
Holistic education is education for personality integration, spiritual development, holistic perception and complete cognition required for successful adaptation to the truth of changing reality i.e.'adaptability'.
"The meaning of all religious practice: the individual, through prolonged psychological disciplines, gives up completely all attachment to his personal limitations, idiosyncracies, hopes and fears, no longer resists the self-annihilation that is preqrequisite to rebirth in the realization of truth, and so becomes ripe at last for the great at-one-ment. His personal ambitions being totally dissolved, he no longer tries to live, but willingly relaxes to whatever may come to pass in him; he becomes that is to say, an anonymity." (Campbell The Hero with a Thousand Faces. Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press 1972 236
Individual must be fully developed for holistic understanding or 'complete cognition' Knowledge is structured in awareness or 'consciousness'. In order for the known to be fully comprehended in all its aspects, that is wholistically, the knower must be fully developed in his humanness and therefore creatively intelligent when experiencing the objective known... knowledge as truth is based on the union of the knower and the known. In the process of knowing, the knower is connected with the known... 'complete cognition' of subjective knowledge... With both aspects - experience and understanding - knowledge is complete- knowledge has subjective and objective aspects. The objective aspect of knowledge is objective experience of symbolic meaning... symbols...definitions... by itself is not sufficient for complete cognition... the subjective aspect of knowledge is understanding...The knower is the source of the thought process...the extent of understanding and comprehension depends on the knower's extent of awareness or level of consciousness i.e. 'consciousness state'.
Complete cognition depends on felt meaning... problem solving involves both symbolic meanings and felt meanings - feelings for the symbols. With both aspects - experience and understanding - knowldege is complete...
Complete cognition is characteristic of the self-actualised individual and the mature mind...
Knowledge depends on development of critical consciousness In the young child, no differentiation is made between what is 'true' and what is not true. The ability to distinguish between what is 'true' and what is not 'true' is a function of the normal development of critical consciousness and awareness... as a function of human awareness, knowledge as 'truth' is a function of human cognition...the degree of cognition is a function of personality integration... incomplete personality integration results in dichotomous perception of reality and incomplete cognition... symbolic kowledge without understanding...complete personality integration results in wholistic perception of reality and complete cognition...symbolic knowledge with understanding...
The science of human nature is also known as the 'science of creative intelligence'. Creative' refers to an ever present cause of change.. as in 'growth'. 'Intelligence' is a basic quality of existence exemplified by the purpose and order of change; 'creative intelligence' refers to the flow of creative and directed energy; As the science of human nature, the 'science of creative intelligence' is the study of the nature, the origin, the range, the development and the application of creative intelligence.
(science: systematic investigation; creativity: cause of change which is always present; intelligence: basic quality of existence exemplified in the purpose and order of change; creative intelligence: flow of creative and directed energy; science of creative intelligence: study of the nature, origin, range, growth, and application of creative intelligence (science of human nature)
The inner field of intelligence and creativity can be experienced in transcendental meditation.
Knowledge through being love... 'B-love' The ability to B-love is a characteristic of a higher level of personal maturity... a pre-condition for this kind of perspicuity... ... this kind of knowing based on the maturity of the knower. Knowledge of oneself - 'self-knowledge' - overcomes the division between the subjective self and the objective world. During normal growth and development - with self-knowledge- the individual lives in terms of the genuine expression of his/her self-concept...
As a biological organism, the human individual has an instinctive interest in understanding the realities of the world around him - both the physical environment and the social environment. Instinctively dependent on an intense interest in reality... 'curiosity'... the human organism is affected and stimulated emotionally as well as intellectually. In the individual's instinctive attempt to comprehend the world, both intellectual and emotional powers are combined in a wholistic perception. Perception of reality is naturally wholistic - the object of perception is perceived simultaneously in its uniqueness and in its relation to a totality. ... confidence in values is based on self-knowledge ...knowledge of one's capacity for goodness and productiveness... with improved self-knowledge and clarity of one's human values, the human individual coincidentally improves knowledge of others and their human values.
Knowledge of one's human values is self-knowledge...or 'tacit knowledge' (Michael Polanyi coined the terms ‘tacit knowing’ and ‘tacit knowledge’). Tacit knowledge is knowledge associated with primary human values – compassion etc. Tacit knowledge is knowledge or 'awareness' of one's human values...'enlightenment’... 'consciousness of the inner self' or 'self-knowledge'. Self-knowledge cannot be taught. Whether it is learned depends on the quality of relationship with oneself, with others and with one’s world.At the heart of the urge to develop full human potential is a deeply spiritual yearning for self-knowledge… and knowledge how to live in harmony with oneself with others and with the environment… knowledge for connectedness with oneself, with others and with the environment… feeling connected with human core values… essential values or ‘human values’. Without self-knowledge one is alienated from one’s environment.
Self-knowledge is the vital foundation for enlightened human living. looking within for the real self is a kind of 'subjective biology'... it includes the effort to become conscious of one's own constitutional, temperamental, anatomical, physiological and biochemical needs, capacities and reactions i.e. one's biological individuality. It is also the path to experiencing one's specieshood, one's commoness with all other members of the human species. That is, it is a way of experiencing our biological brotherhood with all human beings no matter what their external circumstances... experiential knowledge... The human organism can adapt effectively to a given situation by transcending it with the consciousness of human existence as it is integrated with nature.
Man 'is' and at the same time he is conscious of his being. This establishes a cleavage... 'existential split'... between himself as conscious subject and the objective situation of which he is conscious.
The evolution towards the awareness of the existential split starts with a state of primeval unity between self and world, individual and group, conscious and unconscious. (See myth of Adam and Eve) An individual's search for identity is essentially a search for this state of primeval unity... the intrinsic value system, authenticity of human nature or' humanness'... the human core which is shared with all members of the human species... the human personality or 'human nature'.
'Existential structure' of human existence and human experience or the 'human condition'...
The human organism experiences reality in terms of a dialectical unity... consisting of three parts: a basic split or 'antimony', a polarity of the two antinomic poles, and an ultimate unity of the two poles. Iti s possible to detect in all the deepest strivings of the human organism the attempt to negate, to cancel, to overcome the basic split... or 'antimony' of the human existential situation or 'human condition'. The existential structure is found in human experience. The basic source of the split in human existence is consciousness...
' The first part is the is the basic existential split or 'antimony' which is derived from the dichotomy of subject and object...of 'myself' and the world... This split, caused by consciousness, estranges man from himself and from nature and imposes the burden of freedom. It is the ultimate source of human anxiety and suffering. ... whatever we experience is split into two - a subject which experiences ('myself') and an object which is experienced (the world). This applies not only to thought but to all human remembering, imagining, feeling, willing and acting. The basic source of the split is consciousness. This establishes a cleavage between oneself as conscious subject (myself) and the objective situation (the world) of which one is conscious. The basic source of the split in human existence... 'existential split'... is consciousness... The existential split, caused by consciousness, estranges man from himself and from nature and imposes the burden of freedom. When freedom is a burden it becomes the ultimate source of human anxiety and suffering.
The second part is the polarity of the two branches of the antimony implies that they are interdependent... one cannot be without the other... subject and object cannot exist, do not exist in isolation from each other. Self and world determine each other. This polarity is an intermediate link between the antimony and the ultimate unity of the two poles which are only different aspects of something which is ontologically one... a unified reality...
The third part is the ultimate unity of the two poles... normally achieved through harmonisation of the two branches of the antimony through 'union upwards' or 'individuation'.
Reality and sign of the Tao... ultimate essence of reality - Tao - a process of continual flow and change... all phenomena we observe are intrinsically dynamic... participate in the cosmic process of continual flow and change... the principal characteristic of ultimate reality is its cyclical nature and its ceaseless motion... all developments in nature - in the physical, psychological and social realms - consist of cyclical patterns... this idea of cyclical patterns is given a definite structure which represents the polar opposites 'yin' and 'yang', the two poles that set the limits for the cycles of change..
The polarity is an intermediate link between the antimony and the ultimate unity of the two poles which are only different aspects of a unified reality... the two intertwined halves represents the interdependence of the two branches of the antimony.... union of the circle is the union of the two antinomic poles...)
This trinity is symbolized by the sign of the Tao in Chinese philosophy- two intertwined halves included in the union of the circle. The two intertwined halves represent the interdependence of the two branches of the antimony.... union of the circle is the union of the two antinomic poles.) Tao is the ultimate essence of reality'. Reality is a process of continual flow and change. All phenomena we observe are intrinsically dynamic... participate in the cosmic process of continual flow and change. The principal characteristic of ultimate reality is its cyclical nature and its ceaseless motion. All developments in nature - in the physical, psychological and social realms - consist of cyclical patterns. The idea of cyclical patterns is given a definite structure which represents the polar opposites or 'archetypal poles' - 'yin' and 'yang'. Yin and yang are the two opposite poles that set the limits for the cycles of change.
.the two opposite poles do not belong to different categories...Nothing is only yin or only yang...Yin and yang are the two extreme poles of a single whole cycle. ... existential structure is found in human experience. The human organism experiences in terms of a dialectical unity... consisting of three parts ...first...a basic split or antimony derived from the dichotomy of subject and object, of 'myself' and the world... Whatever we experience is split into two: a subject which experiences and an object which is experienced. This applies not only to thought but to all human remembering, imagining, feeling, willing and acting... .. a polarity of two antinomic poles.. The polarity of the two branches of the antimony implies that they are interdependent... one cannot be without the other... subject and object cannot exist, do not exist in isolation from each other...... the self and world determine each other...
When the yang reaches its climax it retreats in favor of the yin; when the yin reaches its climax it retreats in favor of the yang. These twoarchetypal poles are associated with many images of opposites taken from nature and from social life. All manifestations of ultimate reality are generated by the dynamic interplay of the two opposite poles. All natural phenomena are manifestations of a continuous oscillation between the two poles, all transitions taking place gradually and in unbroken progression.
The tendency towards movement or 'union upwards' is a progressive tendency... involves the harmonisation of the existential antinomies... the union of opposites or polarities... tendency toward 'individuation'. Individuation as the union of opposites and the harmonisation of the basic existential split are the goals of (healthy) human striving and form the essential content of ultimate human values... (see 'self-transcendance').
There are two possible avenues for the elimination of the dichotomies of human existence... of the basic existential split. These two avenues stem from two basic tendencies of all living matter: tendency towards inertia 'union downwards' of the non-maturing or 'immature' individual and tendency towards movement ('union upwards') of the maturing or 'mature' individual.
The tendency towards inertia or 'union downwards' is a regressive tendency... involves the dissolution of the existing state and the restoration of a previous less complicated, less tension-filled state of life without the burden of consciousness and freedom. In this state psychic events are dominated by the unconscious.... characterised by resistance to 'individuation'. The tendency to revert to this state... manifest in escape behaviors... has been called the 'death drive' (Freud) an unfortunate term because the drive does not aim at death.
"Union in general and union upwards in particular are the goals of human striving... Love in the highest sense is union upwards which preserves and accepts the individuality of the 'thou'". (Fromm)
Harmonisation of the existential dichotomies through transcendance of the existential split and its 'ego-centered perspective': transcendance through consciousness... 'individuation'... is the basis of human freedom...
In the process of 'individuation' the conscious and the unconscious are harmonised... integrated... and the ego decentralised. This is achieved by getting in touch with the unconscious without allowing the ego to become overwhelmed by it Functions which exist below the level of threshold of consciousness need to be brought above that level. Repressed shadow contents need to be acknowledged and the major archetypes of the collective unconscious need to be discovered and related to so that their influence can be consciously mediated and their concerns addressed since they are autonomous subpersonalities in their own right.
One can transcend any given situation if one is aware of it... one can be... one 'is' and at the same time one is conscious of one's being. Transcendance of a given situation results from awareness or 'consciousness'. By transcending a given situation through consciousness one frees oneself from the certain limits which result from the necessities of the situation. This opens up alternatives. One can leave the dimension of actuality and enter the realm of potentiality thus creating the possibility of choice and the necessity of decision based on guiding values. The entire sequence of transcendance through consciousness, grasping of potential alternatives and exercising choice based on values... is what constitutes personal freedom.
Existential dichotomy of human existence... being within nature and yet transcending it through consciousness in a process of self-awareness or 'self-knowledge'. One can resolve the dichotomy by going forward ('union upwards')... one must experience oneself as a stranger in the word... estranged from oneself and from nature... in order to achieve harmony with oneself, with others and with nature on a higher level i.e. to become 'whole'. One must first experience the existential split... become conscious of it... in order to overcome this very split. (Erich Fromm You Shall Be As Gods Greenwich, Connecticut. Faucett Publications 1966)
The human organism has a tendency to realize itself...Life has an inherent tendency to grow, to expand, to express potentialities.... a pressure toward unity of personality, toward spontaneous expressiveness, toward full individuality and identity, toward seeing the truth rather than being blind, toward being creative, toward being good ... toward fuller and fuller Being, more and more perfect actualization of humanness in exactly the same naturalistic, scientific sense that an acorn may be said to be 'pressing toward' being an oak tree...a single ultimate value for mankind, a far goal toward which all men strive.... self-actualization, self-realization, integration, psychological health.... realization of one's human potentialities ...becoming fully human, everything that the person can become... ...man's tendency to actualize himself, to become his potentialities ...(to manifest) the directional trend which is evident in all organic and human life - the urge to expand, extend, develop, mature - the tendency to express and activate all the capacities of the organism. Love in the highest sense is union upwards which preserves and accepts the individuality of the 'thou' required for effective adaptability to changing social conditions i.e. 'social intelligence'.
Human values are a concomitant of freedom....
The ultimate ground of values is rooted in the ultimate of being...The universal content of ultimate values stems from the basic existential trinity of antimony polarity, and the union of opposites. The union of opposites and the harmonization of the basic existential split are the goals of human striving and form the essential content of ultimate human values.This union is the essence of ultimate values. Ontologically, the ground of being is that dimension in which all antimonies are united and harmonized. It is the all-inclusive essence in which conflicts are dissolved in unity... they form the essential content of ultimate human values.
... looking within for the real self is a kind of 'subjective biology'... it includes the effort to become conscious of one's own constitutional, temperamental, anatomical, physiological and biochemical needs, capacities and reactions i.e. one's biological individuality. It is also the path to experiencing one's specieshood, one's commoness with all other members of the human species. That is, it is a way of experiencing our biological brotherhood with all human beings no matter what their external circumstances...experiential knowledge...
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Maharishi Mahesh Yogi The Science of Being and Art of Living. International SRM Publications, l966 .
Complete knowledge as 'spiritual richness' produces creative strategies of behaviour. The energy is focused on what the individual truly wants. The positive and creative individual uses the creative strategies, accomplishing things which enhance their own welfare and happiness as well as that of others.
KNOWLEDGE NATURAL KNOWLEDGE Natural knowledge is personal, perceptual knowledge which provides meaning to one's world and purpose. Knowledge becomes natural when it is connected with previously acquired knowledge. PROCEDURAL KNOWLEDGE knowledge about procedures; knowledge of how to perform a task DIALOGICAL KNOWLEDGE knowledge acquired from using dialogue DECLARATIVE KNOWLEDGE factual knowledge
"The fact that we are shifting from a Cartesian view of the universe, in which the accent has been on parts and elements, to a configuration view, with emphasis on wholes and patterns, challenges every single dividing line between areas of study and knowledge." (Peter Drucker. The Age of Discontinuity. New York: Harper and Row 1969)