Knowing | April 1992

FMBR Editorial: April, 1992

Knowing

Marshall Pease

Our theme for the coming year is "Learning How To Know." In part, it speaks of the need to balance and reconcile the different ways of knowing. One path to knowing is that of science, using the logic of analysis based on experience and observation. Another path is what is called direct knowing, or intuition, used deliberately by psychics and healers, and often unconsciously by all of us. Both paths, we believe, are valid, yet they appear to be irreconcilable opposites. Despite the apparent conflict between the paths, each taken by itself is sharply limited. Only as each approach is used to support the other do their full power and scope become possible.

Not only do the two paths depend on each other, neither path can be separated from the other. It is a vast oversimplification to say science proceeds logically from one premise to another, testing each step by careful observation and experiment. In actual fact, as any scientist should admit, no experiment is undertaken without a vision of what is sought -- a product of the experimenter's intuition. No theory is ever concocted without the theorist having a clear inspiration of what might be a useful approach. No mathematical discovery ever develops out of the cold and sterile logic in which it is finally published. The logic is a necessary part of both science and mathematics, but it comes after the inspiration which intuits the direction of experiment or logical inquiry.

Similarly, intuition does not occur in isolation. Direct knowing, by definition, cannot be false -- if it were, it would not be knowing. However, it is always susceptible to perceptual distortion. It is also easy to accept error as knowing, and fantasy for truth. What seems a deep insight can be wishful thinking, the expression of subconscious fears or hopes, the desire for certainty, the hunger for mystery or whatever. What intuition offers is not certainty, but a new direction for thought and inquiry. It is always subject to analysis to decide whether what it seems to say should be accepted or not, or if clarification or modification is needed. If the insight passes this test, its connections to what is known (or thought to be so) then must be explored to evaluate its significance and reasonableness; failure vis-a-vis this measure may not be decisive, but it cannot be ignored. Where these tests are not conclusive, the revelation must remain a hypothesis that may be psychologically useful or interesting, but no more. To deny this kind of analysis and accept intuition blindly is to live in a dream world that may be fun, but no more.

The key to combining the two paths seems to be timing. It appears impossible to use both paths simultaneously. Instead, we need to be wholly and wholeheartedly in each mode when using its strength, but able to shift, equally wholeheartedly, when the other path becomes appropriate. The question then is: How do we learn to do both, and so become able to release the full power of knowing that both make attainable?

Marshall Pease, April 1992