Saturday 30 September 2023

Direct-knowing is front-loaded

I become more convinced that "direct knowing" is required of us (unmediated intuiting, the sharing of common thoughts...); and indeed the only way of knowing that 'works' in a world where language, symbols, visions, and all kinds of perceptual experience are corrupted as well as weakened. 

Furthermore that this direct knowing is what might be called "front-loaded" - which means that most of the effort comes up-front and in terms of formulating the proper question: the question that we need to know, and the answer to which we can understand at a single grasp. 

Direct-knowing must be as simple as each of us, personally happens-to-be (and that will vary between people); simple enough to grasp in a single mental act of comprehension - because anything else is not real understanding, but merely a kind of parroting

It is all about asking the right question - because once the right question has been formulated, the answer is obvious - and valid. 

(Valid within the limits of our own personal comprehension and needs.)

Asking the right question is itself a very difficult thing. The right question is almost-never to be found in the public domain, nor in the standard discourse of traditionalism - because these are "back-loaded" discourses; in which the usual thing is for people to be utterly swamped upfront by vast volumes of mostly-incomprehensible "answers" - and nearly-all the effort goes into try to sort-between the answers, and understand their implications (consider the standard sermon, or equivalent teaching). 

Also, traditional Christian (and other) spiritual discourse is very often characterized by asking the wrong questions - for instance asking too many questions, or what should be subsidiary questions (when the fundamental questions have still not been answered).  

In a nutshell; the deep metaphysical questions of traditional Christianity are very seldom understood or correct - and this is why we still have the same problems with mainstream Christian theology as they did nearly 2000 years ago. 

Questions that have plagued me, personally, and for which I regard the traditional answers as inadequate, include: explaining the divine and human nature of Christ, the problem of 'monotheism' and the pseudo-solution of the Trinity, the origin of evil and suffering, the hardly-broached matter of the uniqueness of each Man, the aliveness of all created reality... 

Thus, the spiritual practice of direct-knowing can feel like it is going nowhere; since it is low volume - with few answers; and simple - the answers so easy that we can grasp them in a moment... 

But - we can only truly understand the answer and what it means, when we have ourselves formulated the question. 

Getting told the answer to somebody-else's question is usually incomprehensible - no matter how (apparently) simple that question may be; since we do not know (that is, know-from-within) the context of that question, its purpose and relevance.  

The quest for direct knowing can seem, and often is, a lot of work immediately and without much to show subsequently in terms of quantity of intuitively-solid knowledge. 

Whereas archaic and traditional practice provides apparently endless stimulation by inputs of many kinds; direct knowing instead expects to discard almost all of this (or even all of it, in some areas), sooner or later. But nobody except our-selves can do this work of this evaluating and selecting, and perhaps even creating

Yet if the answer we need and that is true is necessary, then we can be sure that we personally will have the creative capacity to generate, to create, invent it. 

Why and how can we be sure? Because this matching of question to answer happens (as it were) automatically; as a consequence of the very process itself.

Because what-we-seek must be wholly-comprehensible to us (as we are), and therefore - even if we are a very simple and ignorant person - we will necessarily* be able to discover exactly the kind of simple answer that is, after all, the only one we could fully-understand. 

*Necessarily because our God is the creator, is Good, and is our Heavenly Father (I would say Heavenly Parents) who loves us personally and individually. Therefore we can be absolutely sure that our condition in this mortal life will certainly contain everything required for our salvation and for learning whatever we need to learn. All of the requisite ingredients are there  - are Here - it is up to us to use them. 


Francis Berger said...

The way you have outlined this via front-loading/back-loading is very comprehensible and illuminating

"Yet if the answer we need and that is true is necessary, then we can be sure that we personally will have the creative capacity to generate, to create, invent it."

This is certainly the heart of the matter, but as you say, it relies on formulating the right questions, which entails the proper motivation and personal responsibility. In my experience, people prefer ready-made questions to which they can apply ready-made answers - which helps explain the overwhelming appeal of AI technology, which you wrote about recently. We are reaching the point where people are no longer even interested in "knowing indirectly", let alone directly.

Questions are very intriguing from a spiritual perspective because "wrong" questions rarely, if ever, lead to "right" answers. Questions are also expressions of agency and freedom - the better the question, the higher the inherent agency or freedom of the questioner. In this sense, correctly formulated, honest questions are creative expressions that open up possibility for spiritual co-creation.

Bruce Charlton said...

@Frank - yes, this business of questions seems to be crucial.

It may have been my studies of geniuses (; led me to recognize that the greatest breakthroughs often came from reformulating the question, asking a different question, changing the assumptions behind a question etc.

That was also the case in the best theoretical scientific work I did - indeed, the reformulation that solved a problem often amounted to an inversion of assumed causality.