Well here goes. After a letter sent to the Phoenix members of IT, some discussion with dinner and wine on Saturday night, and such, what follows is offered as an opening to an active blog. SO, I hope to see comments coming back.
At our gathering last night a most important question was raised. Thanks Jeanette. I think it is directly related to my questions about a definition of spirituality that I have submitted in an email. How do we know something? How many ways are there of knowing? The irony of the moment when that question was raised was that the discussion was interrupted by the Stones’ song “I can’t get no, Satisfaction.” Irony because satisfying the “longing” was a theme in my email that I submitted to the group that raised this question and because after we all enjoyed a sing along of wonderful proportions, we did not get back to this question.
I would like to ask for reflection on this: How do we come to know something is true? In my past studies, we called it the epistemological question. I think this is at the root of my on-going discussions with my friend about what if anything, is spirituality
In our time, it seems, THE method of gaining knowledge that is considered by some to be the only way to gain knowledge, especially if it is to have “truth value,” is the method of scientific investigation. I hear from many different people the demand that whatever claims are being made about almost anything, must be able to get through the sieve of scientific investigation. So I would ask in this blog, can we define “scientific investigation” and is such activity required for all knowledge? Interesting twist, from trying to define “spiritual” to trying to define “scientific investigation,” but one that may beg ‘investigation.’ One question related, is scientific method synonymous with scientific investigation?
Here is my personal connection of spirituality and scientific investigation: My experiences that I call spiritual do not stand up to the methods of scientific investigation. The prophets and priests of our time, the scientists, would not consider such experiences to have much “truth-value.” (There is another term begging definition.) I, at this moment, find that attempts to defend my perspective to that system of “knowing,” appear to be exercises in futility. I find that I have become more and more skeptical of that way of knowing, even as my very employment depends on it. I recall one amongst us, a scientist no less, questioning the “sacredness” of that way of “knowing” as demonstrated by Joseph Campbell.
So how do we know something to be true? Does everything left inside of the sieve of scientific investigation fail to be true? (The image I am using is the sieves used in separating dirt from rocks or flour from husks. That which stays on in the sieve is not used, that which falls through is used.)
And, I return to an old theme of mine: Does functionality have any say about what is true?
I ask you all to speak up. Having this conversation with myself is like clapping with one hand.