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Meaningful Epistemology Outline
language as human beings directly reflects the way or manner in which we
think and perceive the Universe, both material and spiritual. The very
essence of a word that is a noun is identification and categorization. A
common noun is a categorical description of objects or less tangible things
that we want to identify or describe by association with a certain set of
meaningful qualities or aspects that are identical, equivalent or at least
1. Belief in
a. If you do not first trust or believe in yourself and your own internal
authority and capacity for judgment, how can you then logically believe in
something external? Your belief in any external authority as being a source
of truth would then be believed in by a person (yourself) that you don't
really trust or believe in.
2. Belief in
c. One truth,
which makes us human.
d. Truth under attack, truth is relative.
3. Belief in
the Way to recognize or apprehend Truth by Being:
for our ontology in some case seems to be triune. As a functioning
mechanical/biological system we can be compared to a computer — we have
Hardware (our biological body), Software (our psyche or soul, the
composite of mind, instincts, propensities, aptitudes, etc), and
Input/Output (our ability to respond and communicate). This triune
pattern seems to hold for Man's intellect, which under sound operation is
rational, logical and reasonable. While being Rational means being
able to distinguish and apprehend the pertinent facts and information of a
situation, being Logical includes being rational and also means being
able to see meaningful relationships between facts and information and to
extrapolate to valid or correct conclusions.
lower level intellectual capabilities are meaningless in and of themselves
unless they form the foundation of what is ultimately meaningful, that which
is being Reasonable. This also includes but transcends being
rational and logical by relating to and incorporating a defensible purpose
and set of values which can be called human or humane. Being reasonable
(ultimately meaning right) is so closely bound up with purpose that much of
the time we use the word reason as a substitute for the word purpose.
easily get most thinking people to agree that truth is singular; there is
one truth to an issue and everything else is false. This common
possible-to-perceive reality is necessary for us to meaningfully categorize
ourselves as human beings. However, it seems to me that we spend half our
time trying to talk each other into some unified concept of the truth, and
half our time trying to rationalize and excuse our different truths and our
different ways to the truth. What you CANNOT easily get people to
agree on is that there is ONE way to access the truth! Could it be that
this is the problem?
It is one
thing to postulate the existence of truth; it is quite another to postulate
a trustworthy way of accessing or apprehending that truth. How can we be
assured that something is the truth? If the truth walked up to us and shook
our hand, how would we recognize it? Truth without a way of accessing it is
a worthless truth. Truth without a trusted way of accessing it is a
tentative truth. Truth without a common way or methodology of accessing it
is an irrelevant truth.
have their intellectual acknowledgement of truth tethered to their culture,
some to the majority, some to a cultic exposition, some to a set of "sacred
writings", some to tradition, some to various other authorities; most seem
to be mired in what they were steeped and conditioned in. Is there any
other way to break out of whatever we are mired in than to make the
commitment to be attentive, rational, logical and reasonable by the above definitions?
III. Two Intellectual
essentially two realms within which intellectual/spiritual activity can take
place: 1) the realm of things that are initially knowable from
perception and logic, and 2) the realm of things that are initially only
believable by choice, using conception and reason. These two realms are
sometimes considered to be the respective purview of science and religion.
Learning or gaining knowledge is an activity that is primarily directed by
external factors and strongly influenced by pre-existing personal traits.
While learning can be influenced by internal factors such as will and
purpose, you can only learn from that set of pre-existing facts which are
presented to you by the outside world accessible to your perceptions, and
within your intelligence capacity, aptitude and predisposition. Without the
dimension of believing, learning, like being rational and logical, in and of
itself is meaningless in that if all you do is learn knowledge, then all you
become is a bigger database.
to just learning knowledge, actively believing (choosing what you believe)
is an activity that can be INFLUENCED by external factors, but CAN
be directed strictly by internal volition working on pre-existing knowledge
that aspect of human nature that is most closely associated with humanness
is our Volition. Volition can be defined as that sacred
quality or attribute and creative power in humans that deals with our
desires and needs by consciously choosing what to believe, selecting what to
purpose, refining values, directing thinking and contemplation, corralling
our feelings and deciding
what to do. These are all different aspects of volition and we need words
that are defined well enough so that they will symbolize and only symbolize
whichever one of these aspects we are addressing. In the interest of making
these distinctions available for easy communication the following words
originally had meanings that were close to those that are given below.
of Volitional Aspects
functional human being has volition or free will in that he has power to
choose what to believe and thereby direct his will and organize his
conscience, which will affect his emotions, behavior and destiny; and he has
power to make decisions within the limits of response to his individual
nature, his perception of conditions and his previously made choices or
is that most fundamental and powerful aspect of human volition that operates
in the realm of believing; you CHOOSE what to believe; YOU
choose what to believe. Choice is the human creative power that allows us
to believe one idea or another in the realm of those things not knowable or
dictated by facts, information and knowledge. Choice of belief is the root
cause of ALL significant change or growth; it determines within
limits our emotions and behavior, it determines within meaningful limits who
and what we really are, and it effects our living or dying. Choice does not
operate in the arena of feelings, emotions or behavior, but choice engenders
and constrains these. Choice is that vital aspect of human volition that is
so lacking in much of the human race today, so much so that many even deny
there is such a thing or that it has any meaning in a world where we are
seemingly so controlled by external factors. Many people have an extensive
set of "beliefs" but have never chosen them, have only been programmed with
them. These are the demi-humans who are not free in the highest sense in
that they are only wound up and pointed by others.
is the mental response to a given state or situation in conjunction with the
conscience which initiates some kind of action, or the lack thereof. The
given situation includes our individual physical, mental and psychological
and emotional disposition, our nature matrix. The range of decisions is
bounded by or determined by limiting factors in the given situation and by
the conscience process resulting from previously made choices, and it
operates in the arena of behavior. In contrast to choice, which is a truly
creative power, decisions are more or less logical outcomes from existing
choices, knowledge and other situational factors.
Conscience is the
science or system process, based on one's knowledge and chosen beliefs, of
systematically culling, sorting out, and building constructs of what is
right and wrong. Conscience operates in the realm of both knowledge and
belief and is the selection process based on acquired values. The resulting
set of values and guidelines is also thought of as our conscience. It is
not a little organ in one's head, but is a continuing process that can be
focused and concentrated. Nor is it an infallible guide, in that it is
surely restricted to be only as good or valid as the beliefs that have been
chosen and the correct knowledge that has been retained and brought to bear
on an issue.
is that aspect of volition which is the combination and culmination of
knowledge and belief, in conjunction with need and desire, that relates to
purpose and values; a person's purpose in conjunction with his values.
Willpower, although influenced by other nature matrix factors, is surely
commensurate with the intensity of conviction concerning the beliefs that
given our nature matrix, traits and characteristics by heredity and an
environment both of which are not of our own selection, the only way we
can truly affect ourselves fundamentally is to choose what we believe,
which literally and ultimately determines our self-identity. What we
choose to believe in conjunction with our nature matrix determines our
emotions or feelings which determine our behavior, and may determine far
more than what we are aware of..
V. Purpose of Life
The purpose of life is to maximize morale, or as Nikos Kazantzakis in
Zorba put it:
"The aim of man and matter is to create joy."
Any other purpose when compared to this one would look mean and petty at
best, and cruel and despicable at worst.
a. In order to be meaningful a philosophy must contribute to both the
sustenance and enhancement of life.
c. There is no
such thing as nothing or a beginning of something from nothing; every belief
system must start with something pre-existent.
philosopher Parmenides, "Nothing can come from nothing."
b. The perception and experience of all reality is based on limits, that
is, differences, discontinuities, changes, distinctions and irreversibllities.
reality is dynamic versus static and it is this dynamic essence that we
experience and apprehend with our five senses. That is to say that there is
no experience of physical reality apart from some dynamic aspect, i.e., some
movement or change, contrast, difference or discontinuity, or
irreversibility. If there were only one color to physical reality, even the
best conceivable eyes would not see anything. Or if there were only one
changeless sound, even the best conceivable ears would hear nothing. Coming
into focus or getting in touch with reality is becoming aware of these
contrasts, definitions, discontinuities and changes.
Just as the
essence of experienced universal physical reality is apprehension of change,
its definition, contrast, or discontinuity, so is it also with the essence
of spiritual or non-material realities. In order to understand the
meaningful aspects of human experience and human nature it is necessary to
make the proper distinctions between what any such aspect is and what it is
not; to see that which is the same and that which is different.
c. I think, therefore I am. Self consciousness is the primary evidence that we
exist as a human individual.