Readers Ask: How Do We Know What We Know?

////Readers Ask: How Do We Know What We Know?

This topic contains 5 replies, has 3 voices, and was last updated by  Robin 5 years ago.

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  • #6315 Score: 0

    Deepak Chopra
    60 votes

    The question was asked by @robin, member of our YATU forum. Thank you Robin!


    ” I would love the authors to weigh in on this question: ‘How do we know?’

    In my experience as a science writer, knowing comes from the scientific method: hypothesis, test, assess, report on the facts and await independent testing for confirmation. That, of course, reflects knowing in the material world, which we now understand to be made up of the qualia of human experience.

    The scientific method no longer applies to measure the evidence of consciousness. In my experience as a fiction writer and explorer of conscious awareness, ‘knowing’ comes to me in stillness, walks in nature, in prayer, and in dreaming and waking states when I set my mind free of the constraints of my conditioning.

    How do you experience it? Is it any less ‘real’ for lacking ‘evidence’ and replicability? How do we know it to be true?”

    As always, I welcome your comments! Please keep sending in your questions, making sure you use @question in your text!


  • #6326 Score: 0

    51 votes

    Thank you, @deepakchopra. This is interesting. Yes, I understand that science is one mode of knowing — but it seems to be the dominant, albeit subjective, truth on the planet today that we can agree on. I think that is what you mean when you refer to “intersubjective agreement,” of what we claim to be true, right? Religion was the dominant mode in previous times, and for many today, it still is. And spirituality, Nature-knowing (shamanism), and the other forms you mention are all valid, as well.

    But since science is currently in vogue in this sense, we let ourselves be lulled into accepting intersubjectively that all answers may be found there. It seems we are limit ourselves by claiming as dogma that science is the best way of knowing. I have colleagues who are scientists who are content with the myriad questions science seems to have answered, and won’t even venture to speculate about what lies beyond. It can be frustrating (as I know you have experienced!) when trying to talk to them about what science doesn’t know or can’t measure: What is red? Why are we? what happened before (or even at the moment of) the Big Bang? Where is a thought before we think it?

    I saw your Fb Live the other night with Marianne Williamson (another of my teachers, and what the world might become if she were President–I can only dare to imagine) on Integral Politics and loved that you reminded us that spirituality is the only mode of knowing that will give us answers to the existential dangers our small, Blue Marble, the only home humanity knows (at least for now) currently finds itself faced with. Could a movement towards spiritual politics become a new/emerging way of knowing? And could we, as Ken Wilber paints the picture, envision that as a truly integrated process that accepts and incorporates all previous ways of being in the world and transcend them to evolve humanity further?

    I would like for us all to dream that Knowing into Being.

    Which reminds me of a joke a friend of mine told me yesterday: A priest, a minister and a rabbi walk into a bar. There, God tells them that the world will end by flood in thirty days. (And yes, we’ve seen this movie before!) It’s up to these religious leaders to go back to their adherents to give them the news. The priest says to his flock, “Repent and you will be saved.” The minister says, “It’s all going to end soon, so live it up while you can.” The rabbi says, “Okay, here’s the deal: we have 30 days to find a way for us to live in an underwater world. Go!”

    To which I say, Amen, Rabbi!

    • #6332 Score: 0

      Aurora Carlson
      110 votes

      Dear Robin, thanks for asking the question and setting in motion such creative thoughts through both Deepak and yourself.

      I recognize the frustration when scientists ignore the actually relevant questions, but I also know that living Ken Wilber’s insights means both including (understanding, having compassion for) a prior view, and transcending it. In other words, I understand those scientists and have compassion for them, because their world-view is not unknown to me. To me, that view feels terribly tight, but hey… that’s how the world looks from there!

      I too watched the dialogue between Deepak and Marianne and am dreaming of a new type of politics, grounded in awareness of what Deepak calls absolute truth in the video above. I must say that I for one see Deepak’s view as including and transcending that of Marianne, holons within holons to use a Ken Wilber term. There is no more struggling, fighting or despair as soon as you have fully remembered the unity of that which is creating it all. Whom would you fight against when it’s all one self appearing as many? The more inclusive holon is liberated from the powerlessness and struggle of the prior one, and creativity happens with ease when there is more awareness.

      I loved your joke Robin! If Deepak walked into that bar with the three gentlemen, he would probably do a live video, presenting the possibility of a flood in 30 days, and asking loosely if it is an experience that is easily, naturally and passionately chosen in consciousness 🙂 If not, we could simply choose something else…

      For anyone who would like to watch it, here is the conversation on integral politics between Deepak and Marianne, with Bob Thurman chiming in at the end:

  • #6345 Score: 0

    51 votes

    Lol…thanks for updating the joke, Aurora! Speculating about the possible audience takeaway would be to Deepak’s alternate approach, I wonder: if we wanted to choose something beside the flood, what would we choose? And would there be agreement among us–not just the #YATU community, but all the world? Makes me think, as the original joke did, about the Noah story. If we could manifest or build the technology that enables us to survive the flood (or live underwater!) would we also include the animals and terra-based plant life? Could we use reverse-evolution to turn birds back into fish? And would humans grow gills after several hundred millennia to survive independently underwater? Or would we run off to Mars and build an Earth-like world underground? And would some of us simply choose extinction rather than evolve under the circumstances?

    So many questions! (As usual…)

    I am also intrigued by your take on the integrated politics video, and wonder what Deepak’s differences are with Marianne’s views? He alluded to the fact that they don’t always agree…is it that ACIM is limited when looking through a #YATU lens? After all, if a miracle is simply a change in perspective, we don’t need God or any superpower to achieve that. We may simply choose to change the film running on the screen inside our minds. It is manifest as soon as we see Absolute truth as the only “is” that is, and that I am. And I am not. On a walk with my dog and a friend this morning, I practiced incorporating the (Raja??) yoga practice Deepak recommended at the end of the video above: seeing my Self in everything that is/is not me: I am the lake. I am not the lake. I am a drop of water in the lake. I am not a drop of water. I am a leaf. I am not a leaf. In terms of form, it feels like the negation of what I am simply affirms that I am that. Or as God tells Moses, I Am that I Am.

    And yes, that ability to see Absolute truth includes and transcends all previous worldviews as holons. I imagine holons to be like the Russian nesting dolls from the inside out. Each doll is complete in itself and represents the relative truth of its moment until the next larger doll encapsulates it, and so on.

    Meanwhile, on this Memorial Day weekend in Maryland, USA, the rains continue, intermittent but insistent. I can see them as threatening or replenishing. I choose the latter. As we were paddling on the lake earlier, I saw a hawk overhead, carrying a snake as it flew towards an island in the middle of the lake. Not quite the dove and the olive branch but, hey, I’ll take any sign that signals the relative health of our planet!

    Wondering what signs other folks in this forum have experienced lately, and can report on?

    • #6362 Score: 0

      Aurora Carlson
      110 votes

      Haha… Robin, Ken Wilber’s holons as Russian nesting dolls! I love that! Perfect way to visualize. It is also nice how my mind immediately connected that with the President Show I recently saw where there was a row of such dolls on a shelf behind the president, another joke which nicely takes us to Marianne Williamson and Integral Politics.

      Spinning further on your thoughts I would say … the holon where we are many and have to decide whose preference of weather or politics to choose is a tiny Russian doll, a very conflicted one. But it is nested in an infinitely expanded holon where all views are playful views of the One, adventures of the timeless One into the world of timespace. The One is not in timespace, and when the One choose differently, the timespace world shifts.

      Marianne represents consciousness still mesmerized by the timespace holon, still fighting and struggling with all the other views, tendencies and wishes. It is still difficult, it is still an effort to gather enough energy behind one view in order to make it dominant. You have to shout louder than the others and you have to convince as many as you can. That is a very logical thing to do in that holon, and she is truly pointing to the way out, she is passionately expressing the longing of all those who are banging their heads against the limits of that holon, frustrated that the world still isn’t changing and the deluge is still coming.

      Deepak on the other hand is speaking from outside the Russian doll of timespace 🙂 He is no longer fighting and struggling, he is speaking from the point of view of the One who simply needs to choose differently in order to change the mindbody of the world. This choice is not an effort, it is simply a subtle choice that easily arises out of blissful preference. When you are perfectly well (=in the infinitely expanded timeless holon), it is easy to choose if to experience this or that. If you are unwell (in the constricted timespace holon), choice can be a great struggle as most choices appear as dangers to the self.

      We are all a set of Russian dolls from the infinite to the local. The problem is that most of us are only used to “look” from the tiny localized point of view. We all speak from where we are, and to all of us, our point of view makes sense. The small dolls are points of view easy to understand for all the larger dolls, but the reverse is not true, the more expanded points of view seem like mysteries, lies or fantasies to those who have not yet been there. But the bud is always blooming and we are all opening up to the next expansion when the season is right.

      I hope you are enjoying Memorial Day, may this day bring back the memory of wholeness to as many as possible. When the hawk carrying a snake and the dove with an olive branch are seen as creations of the untouched Self then the choice between them (or something entirely different) is always easy and playful.

  • #6376 Score: 1

    51 votes

    I see what you mean, Aurora. At that level, it is still about struggle, where at more expanded levels of consciousness, it’s about how we choose to experience things. Fight or flow (or, From Amygdala to Union!)

    I agree, for one whose consciousness is nested inside many greater structures (the smallest doll inside one larger, and one larger, and one larger) it is impossible to “see” the bigger picture. As we evolve, we can understand the next lower levels of consciousness, but the higher dolls’ more expansive perspectives are hidden.

    Expanded levels of awareness are accessible in the silence (as you pointed out in the thread about experiencing Time). For me, being in silence is timeless. I tap into silence to hear “the small, still voice of God,” which is also my way to tap into the collective consciousness. For aren’t those one-and-the-same?

    I love your wish for wholeness as we remember those (in the US and elsewhere) who have served their country, and wish that there will come a time when that service is rendered for the peace and prosperity of all. As you say,

    When the hawk carrying a snake and the dove with an olive branch are seen as creations of the untouched Self then the choice between them (or something entirely different) is always easy and playful.

    Amen to that!

    This post has received 1 vote up.

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