Reply to website comment on Way article dated Friday, April 16th, 2010

Reply to a comment post by Owen Woums on an article entitled “The Way”

Owen Wourms posted: (quoting original article ) “There is only ever one truth, and it does not change to suit our beliefs, perceptions, cultural biases, or ignorances”

It's amusing to hear anyone say that “you should only follow factual truth”, given as little as we know about the natural world and the factual truths that dictate it's genesis, evolution, present movements, and future (and how much less do we have factual truth about the spiritual world).

Reply: Factual truth is simply truth that is known for a fact. It is the verified and understood versus the unknown, the imagined, believed or theorised, and factual truth is truth that is therefore beyond doubt. How else can we establish further facts unless we start with currently known and established facts? On what do we build our house unless we are sure of our underlying foundations?
We have learned quite a lot about our world, the Universe, and a myriad of other subjects in the course of history. Further truths, ones that are as yet beyond our current understanding, can only be reached by using currently available information and, where there is deficiency of fact, we can use reason, the capacity to apply questions such as “What if?” or “Supposing that,¦?”, to stretch our thinking to the next foothold.
Truth pertains to all that is real, actual, past and all that will be future-existent, and it cannot be said to belong to anyone, though it can be reached by minds that have the capacity to understand it. That capacity depends on how your mind works and according to what you either know or don't yet know. For example, before we were born, 2+2 = 4 was a fact, even in the absence of our understanding of it, would you not agree? It was at one point a fact outside our perception, but when we were taught the fact that 2+2 = 4, and could see and test it, and found that it gave a consistent measurement/value time and time again, there was no doubt that it was in fact a factual truth, no? We can now consider it to be a factual truth i.e. one that is known for certain, and not unknown.


Owen Wourms posted: You're really not left with a lot of of knowledge if you choose only to follow proven truth.

Reply: You are not left with much unless you have learned as much as you need, hence the need to learn as much as is possible, or at least use a methodology that will lead you to better understanding if required. Is accurate knowledge not proven truth? You can use reason coupled with logic and currently known fact to work towards further, as yet possibly unknown, truths.


Owen Wourms posted: What are you to do with that which you cannot explain?

Reply: You work on what you know to date, and/or you consult with others who may know more than you do at that point in time. You then either understand further, or realise that you cannot advance your understanding at that time. Many will form an opinion at his point, and either think that they know all that remains to be known, or give up looking any further. Surely, giving an explanation that is backed up with fact is better than one purely based on imagination only, which is what total belief is.
Only further knowledge and/or reasoning can advance our better understanding, therefore reaching forward to what may be further, and possibly currently unknown truth(s). It's like joining up the dots in the right order to see the bigger picture, presuming that's what we want to do in the first place. That's why it is essential that we know our own minds and the pitfalls that we tend to fall into because of our own limited experience. Knowing yourself is the first thing anyone must do before they can objectively look at and evaluate something with a clear mind.


Owen Wourms posted: After all, not believing is just as much a “belief” as believing.

Reply: Correct, as both belief and disbelief are ideas/opinions held within the mind or expressed in the absence of correct understanding of the facts. I can choose to believe that you are living in China, or I can choose to not believe that you are a human. Either way, I would be operating on lack of factual information that lies outside my current understanding. So I choose to work with what I know, and respond accordingly, which is reasonable.


Owen Wourms posted: Therefore, you are obligated to accept theories, which are generated as explanations of observed phenomenon.

Reply: It depends on how much facts are involved in arriving at the theory so far. It's not necessary to feel obliged to accept anything that is a theory in the general sense, as distinct from a proven scientific theory. There is a burden of proof on the proposer of the idea. Even then, this does not prevent further testing of the scientifically proven theory if it fails to sufficiently provide accurate explanations for new situations that were previously not taken into account when the theory was deemed to be factually correct in all instances.


Owen Wourms posted: These theories are then either strengthened, revised and refined, or outright rejected by the evidence of experience or experiments and their repeatability.

Reply: Agreed, as they must be able to withstand the test of provability, and only factual proven truth can be taken into account, or at least objective observation of phenomena that are not/may not be as yet fully understood.


Owen Wourms posted: All along, the truth remains intact, even as we muddle around trying to figure it out. And that gives us all a reason for hope.

Reply: Yes, truth is king over the children of pride. As for hope, it all depends on what the hope is based on. There are realistic hopes, which are somewhat aspirational but tempered with facts, and there are unrealistic/false hopes, which are based mainly on ideas that may not be evidenced or based on facts. Hoping to pick apples from a pear tree is a nice idea, but is factually unrealistic. The hope can only be justified if it is based on reality, regardless of the wish contained in the hope.


Owen Wourms posted: I'm not amused by how little the human race knows.

Reply: It's certainly not amusing, but mankind decides to set limits on what he knows by believing things and deciding to look no further.


Owen Wourms posted: I think that its thrilling-every day there are new discoveries about the world around us, and each one of them unfolds the fact that there is so much more to be learned.

Reply: I couldn't agree more. What sort of library would you have if it only contained a single book with a single chapter? Ideas beget ideas, but only reasoned ideas can lead to further discovery of factual (known for fact) truth.


Owen Wourms posted: That is what they call a mystery. Not that it can't be figured out. Just that the deeper you get into it, the deeper you realize it goes.

Reply: We don't accept ‘mysteries' in The Way, and will only accept that there are things that are either known or unknown. In the main, mysteries are simply any situation, event, thing, or person that presents aspects or qualities so obscure as to arouse curiosity or speculation. In the case of belief systems, mysteries are used as barricades against inquiry and correct understanding of what is in fact either going on or not going on. Most such things usually prove quite simple when you loosen up the ideas surrounding them, and that can only be done by logic and reason, coupled with fact.


Owen Wourms posted: What I am amused by are the people who think we know enough that we can follow only factual truth, which I felt this writer below was suggesting; to avoid belief, because belief is a “cop-out”.

Reply: In reality it has nothing to do with what anyone feels or is amused by, either the writer or the reader, as it is either a right or wrong methodology. Using emotions to bolster ideas is a sure-fire way to miss the point of the exercise, which is supposed to be knowing more than we currently do. It's not supposed to be a game where people sit on the fence and decide to take up a position of scepticism or wry amusement, so as to make them feel better about their personal opinions, as this has no real benefit to anyone, as far as we can see. It may indeed make someone feel better, but it doesn't make them know any better. Does the person want to feel they know things or actually know things that might be of benefit in a much wider context? Is the argument about them rather than about finding out the facts?
A belief always has doubt or lack of fact involved in it, and the more emotion and unfounded opinion is present, the further it strays from finding the actual and factual truth of the thing, which is what the search for knowledge is supposed to be about. Some people choose to claim to want to find the truth of something, but use beliefs to try to convince either themselves or others that they know something, while all the time not realising that they are lacking in the correct method to reach the necessary result.

The article is not in fact saying or even suggesting that we do know enough so that we can follow only factual truth, but that we need to do so if we are to arrive at a correct understanding of those truthful things, which provides further knowledge, which is the only thing that can bring improvement in anything. This is simply a method, a way of thinking, not an already predetermined solution to things that may not yet be understood. First we need to find the picture, and then get the frame, and not the other way around.

Belief is very often referred to as being blind. Why? And if the blind lead the blind,¦what happens? A person can choose to follow beliefs, or they can choose to use factual truths and reason, coupled with logic, to obtain further knowledge. That latter methodology is simply called the way/The Way. It doesn't really need a name, but some designation is needed to let people understand the basis upon which one who chooses that particular path forms their thinking.


Owen Wourms posted: There isn't a lot of knowledge about the universe ,“ humans know little. However, if I look at my capacity for learning, there's far more knowledge that's been uncovered and continues to be discovered than I can learn in my lifetime.

Reply: The quantity or lack of knowledge is determined by access or restriction to information, time, and to a willingness to either accept factual truths or follow blind beliefs.
As regards personal knowledge, it's true to say that the amount any one person can know in a lifetime is somewhat limited, but it certainly won't make things any better by following ideas that operate on lack of logic, truth and reason. You contribute your share whichever way you look at it, by either adding to what can be known, or by deciding not to pass on what you do and could learn in the time available to you.
As regards humans knowing little, I would ask,¦who actually knows more?


Owen Wourms posted: Can I accept that I don't know some things? Sure. I have to.

Reply: Fair enough. That goes for all of us, or at least it should do. Many choose not to accept that they don't actually know things that they in fact do not know.


Owen Wourms posted: But to choose neutrality is rarely an available choice. I have to put my trust in experts on the subjects I don't know. For example: What makes an iPod work? I don't know. Frankly, I trust the experts at Apple to put it together so I can use it, and then I marvel at the technology.

Reply: So, therefore the factual truth of the matter is that Apple make iPods, some of which work, and some of which become faulty for some reason. There will be a factual reality behind the ones that do work, and also a factual reality behind the ones that don't. The aim is to have as many working ones as possible, whilst being aware that some may/will turn out to have faults, despite the rigorous testing at the factory. Either way, the truth of each unit remains constant i.e. it either works or does not work correctly.


Owen Wourms posted: Does Apple make faulty iPods? Yes, but that doesn't mean the technology is unsound or worth rejecting altogether. But you'll find people that focus on those faulty iPods, and they will put the theory out that you're better off avoiding Apple products altogether.

Reply: Agreed, as Apple is not in the business of making faulty products. It uses good quality materials and well developed software so as to minimise the number of faulty ones, as there is a cost factor of getting things wrong, both on a technical and a reputational level. Life is the same: get it right as far as is possible, or get it wrong by following the wrong methodology of thinking. No one gets it right all the time, but the general idea is to do the best you can, and there is only one way to do that as far as I know so far i.e. work with what you and others know, and then extend your thinking to find out what you don't yet know by using reason and logic.
You can't realistically expect to do any of this by closing your mind and following blindly and ignoring the facts, which is what belief systems promote.


Owen Wourms posted: But you'll find people that focus on those faulty iPods, and they will put the theory out that you're better off avoiding Apple products altogether.

Reply: That's true too, but the reason they may choose to do so is that it's often easier to find fault than look at the facts. That selective, fault-finding mentality is a sign of lack of understanding of what is important i.e. the facts of the case. That's typical of the nit-picking and mean spirited sorts who want to feel better rather than know better. Such feelings come from the ego, the false sense of self, which is completely incapable of understanding actual and factual truth. Again, that's a personal choice, but it has a cost attached to it, even if they remain blind to that fact.


Owen Wourms posted: Great debates will last forever, and the debate over whether the Catholic church is truth or falsehood will also rage on forever. It was raging before we were born, it'll rage on long after we're gone.

Reply: No one individual or thing can legitimately claim to be truth, but individuals can choose to know truth as far as is possible, but you can't reach truth via belief. What makes it possible or impossible is attitude, and attitudes are shaped by ideas. That which is based on blind belief cannot legitimately claim to be following truth, as they are like oil and water, no matter what they might want people to think. Religions, and the Roman Catholic Church in particular, claims to be the “one true faith”, thereby demoting all other ideas as being subordinate to it. If something is true, then there is no need to claim anything, as truth simply is.


Owen Wourms posted: And the writings on both sides will continue to grow and develop and provide ever stronger arguments to both sides. It doesn't matter to absolute truth.

Reply: That may well be, but does stronger or more mean right/correct? There is nothing stronger than truth, as it rules over everything. That which does not bend to truth will eventually break. The Church of Rome has only been around for 1600 years, and has spawned somewhere in the region of 38,000 sub-religions. Claiming that the amount of time something has existed is not a valid basis for something being beneficial, and even then 1600 years is a drop in the ocean compared to how long truth has existed, which is for all time. Is that not absolute truth?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.