Where Am I — How Do I Find Out?

My previous post, Where Am I?, presents a number of cosmic possibilities for where one could be. How to narrow the options, though, is a personal decision. One must choose carefully among many reasoned and compelling theories about cosmology even as they are being challenged, revised, or supplanted through new discoveries, developments, and detours. The goal is to settle on whatever instills sufficient confidence to go forward as a “knowledge broker.” 1

Being lost is not a permanent condition. Being found is to confront the primary challenge mentioned above of knowing what integrity is and addressing the confounding questions honestly and openly. Peeling back the onion-like layers of representation that shroud our integrity is an exercise in independent investigation of truth – —a fundamental endeavor for a knowledge broker. 2

Independent Search after Truth, then, becomes the first of three core activities in the pursuit of knowledge:

Furthermore, know ye that God has created in man the power of reason, whereby man is enabled to investigate reality. God has not intended man to imitate blindly his fathers and ancestors. He has endowed him with mind, or the faculty of reasoning, by the exercise of which he is to investigate and discover the truth, and that which he finds real and true he must accept. He must not be an imitator or blind follower of any soul. He must not rely implicitly upon the opinion of any man without investigation; nay, each soul must seek intelligently and independently, arriving at a real conclusion and bound only by that reality. The greatest cause of bereavement and disheartening in the world of humanity is ignorance based upon blind imitation. It is due to this that wars and battles prevail; from this cause hatred and animosity arise continually among mankind. 3

The second core activity is the apprehension of reality through various worlds of perception:

  • material — one that can be perceived through the senses;
  • rational — one that can be perceived through the intellect;
  • historical — one that can be perceived through traditions and narratives; and
  • spiritual (non-material / suprarational) — one that can be perceived through a conduit or postulated as a theoretical possibility, but cannot be tested (observed) or proven with available knowledge. 4

While each realm is valuable in myriad ways, to regard any one of them as a sufficient pathway to applicable knowledge is susceptible to distortion of information and error in judgement. More useful answers emerge from mutually supportive evidence gleaned from several “worlds of perception” (or “multiple intelligences”) 5 and diverse starting conditions.

The third core activity is the adoption of a disciplined, “scientific method” 6 to follow when processing what one perceives in order to achieve a better understanding. This methodology applies in both material and spiritual realities especially when bridging between them as noted in this statement by ‘Abdu’l-Bahá:

It (science) is of two kinds: material and spiritual. Material science is the investigation of natural phenomena; divine science is the discovery and realization of spiritual verities. The world of humanity must acquire both. A bird has two wings; it cannot fly with one. Material and spiritual science are the two wings of human uplift and attainment. Both are necessary—one the natural, the other supernatural; one material, the other divine. By the divine we mean the discovery of the mysteries of God, the comprehension of spiritual realities, the wisdom of God, inner significances of the heavenly religions and foundation of the law. 7

The diagram below by Keng-Laing Huang 8 illustrates how the scientific method provides a disciplined approach by which an independent seeker can sort through spiritual and material perceptions about any topic and secure a firmer grasp on reality:

Armed with independence, perception and process, one forges ahead as a steeled knowledge broker confident to meet any circumstance during life’s journey. Along the way one learns through the merit of one’s logic, the strength and consistency of one’s narratives, and the perseverance of one’s curiosity and imagination to keep after truth. In effect, one maps one’s place in the cosmos and finds what may have seemed lost.

  1. “I describe myself as a “knowledge broker.” With the pervasiveness of ICT capabilities, the roles we play in our work and relationships to one another are a complex mix of saying our truths, aggregating these diverse points of truth into recognizable frameworks of patterns, and putting theories into action we believe will influence the patterns we see and experience. Knowledge brokers move easily and freely among these three roles depending upon the current circumstances in which they find themselves.”
    Bosserman, Steven L., “Welcome,” Steven L. Bosserman Archives (Blog), August 31, 2005. <https://stevenlbossermanarchives.com/2005/08/25/welcome/>
  2. Bosserman, Steven L., “Integrity and Groundtruth,” Steven L. Bosserman Archives (Blog), August 31, 2005. <https://stevenlbossermanarchives.com/2005/08/31/integrity-and-ground-truth/>
  3. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, “Talk at Home of Madame Morey, 34 Hillside Avenue, Malden, Massachusetts, 29 August 1912,” The Promulgation of Universal Peace: Talks Delivered by ‘Abdu’l-Bahá during His Visit to the United States and Canada in 1912, 2nd ed. (Wilmette, IL: Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 1982), 291. http://www.bahai.org/r/693658082
  4. “Abdu’l-Bahá 1904-1906. “The Four Methods of Acquiring Knowledge”. Some Answered Questions. (Wilmette, IL: Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 1981, 297-299).
  5. “The purpose of their performance was three-fold. First, make rhythm and dance integral in the design of the leadership workshop as an appeal to the auditory-musical and bodily-kinesthetic intelligences of attendees, à la Howard Gardner and his theory of multiple intelligences.”
    Bosserman, Steven L., “Keeping the Beat with Jump Rhythm Jazz Project,” Steven L. Bosserman Archives (Blog), December 5, 2005. https://stevenlbossermanarchives.com/2005/12/05/keeping-the-beat-with-jump-rhythm-jazz-project/
  6. “The scientific method is an empirical method of acquiring knowledge that has characterized the development of science since at least the 17th century. It involves careful observation, applying rigorous skepticism about what is observed, given that cognitive assumptions can distort how one interprets the observation. It involves formulating hypotheses, via induction, based on such observations; experimental and measurement-based testing of deductions drawn from the hypotheses; and refinement (or elimination) of the hypotheses based on the experimental findings. These are principles of the scientific method, as distinguished from a definitive series of steps applicable to all scientific enterprises.” <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scientific_method>
  7. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá. “Talk at the Home of Mr. and Mrs. Francis W. Breed, 367 Harvard Street, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 23 May 1912,” The Promulgation of World Peace: Talks Delivered by ‘Abdu’l-Bahá during His Visit to the United States and Canada in 1912. 2nd ed. (Wilmette, IL: Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 1982). 138. http://www.bahai.org/r/988275660
  8. Huang, Keng-Laing, “The Science of Living,” BahaiTeachings.org
    February 28, 2020. <https://bahaiteachings.org/science-of-living/&gt;

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