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0. Preface: The Goal Of Knowledge Part 2

0. Preface: The Goal Of Knowledge
Part 2 Individual Truth

TOPIC
Compare Inner Truth with Outer Truth

 "Truth will be sought in our age only in the depths of human nature. Of the two well-known paths, seeking truth in outer life and seeking truth within, it is the second that will today be found most useful." TPOF 0.1

We both seek truth; you in outer life,
I in the heart within. Each of us are sure to find it.
The healthy eye can track the Creator in the outer world;
The healthy heart reflects the world within.

Seek Truth In Outer Life
Seek truth in outer life. The eye can find truth in the outer world.

  

Seek Truth Within
In our age truth is sought in the depths of human nature. Truth is found by reflecting the world within. This is the path most useful today.

STEP #13 (0.1)
Compare Uncertainty Of Outer Truth with Conviction Of Inner Truth

Uncertainty Of Outer Truth
Truth that comes to us from the outside always brings with it uncertainty.

  

Conviction Of Inner Truth
Each one of us is only convinced of truth when he recognizes it within his own heart.

STEP #14 (0.2)
Compare Outer Truth Weakens with Inner Truth Empowers

Outer Truth Weakens
Outer Truth: Outer truth weakens our powers by tormenting us with doubt. If baffled by a world full of riddles, no goal can be found for our creative activity.

Inner Truth Empowers
Inner Truth: Only inner truth can give us confidence in developing our individual powers.

STEP #15 (0.3)
Compare Outer Truth Believes with Inner Truth Knows

Outer Truth Believes
Outer Truth: The acceptance of outer truth demands belief in what we do not wholly understand.

Inner Truth Knows
Inner Truth: Belief is not enough, we want to know. The only knowing that satisfies us is the kind that submits to no external norm, but springs from the inner life of the personality.

STEP #16 (0.4)
Compare Academic Knowledge with Self-Directed Learning

Academic Knowledge
Outer Truth: Academic knowledge is encased in rigid academic rules, and stored away as outer truth to be valid for all time.

Self-Directed Learning
Inner Truth: Inner truth starts from the facts we know, from our own direct experience, and from there advances to knowledge of the whole universe. We strive for certainty in knowledge, but each in his own way.

STEP #17 (0.5)
Compare Compelled To Understand with Need To Understand

Compelled To Understand
Outer Truth: The teachings of science are presented in a way that implies its acceptance is compulsory. The student is compelled to understand. Outer truth is crammed into the student.

Need To Understand
Inner Truth: We expect neither recognition nor agreement from anyone who is not driven to a certain view by his own particular, individual needs. The student’s capacity for inner truth is developed so he wants to understand.

STEP #18 (0.6)
Compare Trends Are Central with Truth Is Central

Trends Are Central
Outer Truth: A stereotypical attitude, lacking all individuality, is prevalent everywhere. Many flaunt a way of life that follows only the current cultural trends.

Truth Is Central
Inner Truth: Many strive to conduct their lives in the direction of the principles of inner truth. It is a path taken by those for whom truth is central.
STEP #19 (0.7)
Compare Preparation For Outer Truth with Preparation For Inner Truth

Preparation For Outer Truth
Outer Truth: The outer world offers the pleasures of the senses. The oriental sage requires his disciples to live a life of resignation and asceticism for years before he shares with them his knowledge. He demands pious exercises and ascetic practices before attaining knowledge.

Preparation For Inner Truth
Inner Truth: The inner world offers the sweetest joys of life by soaring into the realm of concepts. To attain the inner truth necessary in science requires a sincere willingness to prepare by withdrawing oneself awhile from the immediate impressions of life, and entering the realm of pure thought.
STEP #20 (0.8)
Compare Separate Sciences with Wholistic Science

Separate Sciences
Outer Truth: The aim of the scientific specialist's research is to gain knowledge of the outer world and how it works. But life itself is a unity, and the more the sciences immerse themselves in separate fields, the more they move away from seeing the world as a living whole.

Wholistic Science
Inner Truth: The world is a living whole. A wholistic knowing seeks in the separate sciences the principles for leading man back to the fullness of life. By inner reflection the principles discovered in the various branches of science are integrated into a wholistic science.
STEP #21 (0.9)
Compare Questions Of Outer Truth with Questions Of Inner Truth

Questions Of Outer Truth
Outer Truth: Important questions of outer truth, Are we alone in the universe? How do we get more energy from the sun? Can computers keep getting faster?

Questions Of Inner Truth
Inner Truth: The most intimate question of inner truth that concerns humanity is freedom. What is freedom? Do we, or can we participate in it? Is a science of human freedom possible?
STEP #22 (0.10)
Compare Science Of Idle Curiosity with Science Of Value

Science Of Idle Curiosity
Outer Truth: All science would be nothing but the satisfaction of idle curiosity, if it does not elevate the existential value of human personality.

Science Of Value
Inner Truth: The true value of the sciences is seen only when we are shown the importance of their results for humanity. Knowledge has value only by contributing to the all-around development of the whole of human nature.

STEP #23 (0.11)
Compare Serving Ideas with Using Ideas

Serving Ideas
Outer Truth: Some regard the relationship of science to outer life in such a way that the human being must bow down before the world of ideas and devote his powers to its service.

Using Ideas
Inner Truth: By taking possession of the world of ideas they can be used for our human aims. These extend beyond those of mere science.
STEP #24 (0.12)
Compare Controlled By Ideas with Master Of Ideas

Controlled By Ideas
Outer Truth: If we are aware only of the outer world, we may be controlled by ideas implanted within us that compel our action.

Master Of Ideas
Inner Truth: To avoid falling into the bondage of an idea, one must confront it within and experience it.

Next Chapter Conscious Human Action
Do we confront our ideas as master or do unconscious ideas control us by compelling our behavior? This leads us into the next chapter entitled, Conscious Human Action, where we compare free action with the necessity of compelled action.

BOOK TEXT

0. THE GOAL OF KNOWLEDGE

0.0 Striving For Individuality
[1] I BELIEVE one of the fundamental characteristics of our age is that human interest centers in the cultus of individuality. An energetic effort is being made to shake off every kind of authority. Nothing is accepted as valid, unless it springs from the roots of individuality. Everything that hinders the individual from fully developing his powers is thrust aside. The saying “Each one of us must choose his hero in whose footsteps he toils up to Mount Olympus” no longer holds true for us. We allow no ideals to be forced upon us. We are convinced that in each of us, if only we probe deep enough into the very heart of our being, there dwells something noble, something worthy of development. We no longer believe there is a norm of human life to which we must all strive to conform. We regard the perfection of the whole as depending on the unique perfection of each single individual. We do not want to do what anyone else can do equally well. No, our contribution to the development of the world, however trifling, must be something that, by reason of the uniqueness of our nature, we alone can offer. Never have artists been less concerned about rules and norms in art than today. Each one asserts the right to express, in the creations of his art, what is unique in him. Just as there are playwrights who write in slang rather than conform to the standard diction grammar demands.

[2] No better expression for these phenomena can be found than this, they result from the individual’s striving towards freedom, developed to its highest pitch. We do not want to be dependent in any respect, and where dependence must be, we tolerate it only on condition it coincides with a vital interest of our individuality.

0.1 Path Of Inner Truth
[3] Truth, too, will be sought in our age only in the depths of human nature. Of the following two well-known paths described by Schiller, it is the second that will today be found most useful:

We both seek truth; you in outer life,
I in the heart within. Each of us are sure to find it.
The healthy eye can track the Creator in the outer world;
The healthy heart reflects the world within.

Truth that comes to us from outside always bears the stamp of uncertainty. Each one of us is only convinced of truth when he recognizes it within his own heart.

0.2 Empowered By Truth
[4] Only truth can give us confidence in developing our individual powers. Whoever is tormented by doubts finds his powers weakened. If baffled by a world full of riddles, he can find no goal for his creative activity.

0.3 Understood Truth
[5] We no longer want to believe; we want to know. Belief demands the acceptance of truths that we do not wholly understand. What is not clearly understood goes against our individuality, that wants to experience everything in the depths of its inner core. The only knowing that satisfies us is the kind that submits to no external norm, but springs from the inner life of the personality.

0.4 Advancing In Knowledge In Our Own Way
[6] Nor do we want the kind of knowledge that has been encased in rigid academic rules, and stored away as valid for all time. Each of us claims the right to start from the facts we know, from our own direct experience, and from there advance to knowledge of the whole universe. We strive for certainty in knowledge, but each in his own way.

0.5 Driven By Individual Need To Understand
[7] Nor should the teachings of science be presented in a way that implies its acceptance is compulsory. None of us would give a scientific work a title like Fichte once did: “A Crystal Clear Report to the General Public on the Actual Nature of the Latest Philosophy. An Attempt to Compel the Reader to Understand.” Today, no one should be compelled to understand. We expect neither recognition nor agreement from anyone who is not driven to a certain view by his own particular, individual needs. We do not want to cram facts of knowledge into even an immature person, a child. We try to develop the child's capacities in such a way that he no longer needs to be compelled to understand, but wants to understand.

0.6 Living The Principles Of Individual Truth
[8] I have no illusions as to the characteristics of the present time. I know how much a stereotypical attitude, lacking all individuality, is prevalent everywhere. Many flaunt a way of life that follows only the current cultural trends. But I also know that many of my contemporaries strive to conduct their lives in the direction of the principles I have suggested. To them I dedicate this book. It is not meant to offer the "only possible" way to Truth, but to describe the path taken by one for whom truth is central.

0.7 Practicing Pure Thinking
[9] At first the reader is lead into abstract regions, where thought must draw sharp outlines to reach clearly defined positions. But the reader is also led from arid concepts into concrete life. I am fully convinced that to experience life in all its aspects, one must soar into the realm of concepts. Whoever is limited to the pleasures of the senses misses the sweetest joys of life.

The oriental sage requires his disciples to live a life of resignation and asceticism for years before he shares with them his knowledge. The West no longer demands pious exercises and ascetic practices to attain knowledge. It does require, however, a sincere willingness to prepare for science by withdrawing oneself awhile from the immediate impressions of life, and entering the realm of pure thought.

0.8 A Wholistic Science
[10] There are many regions of life. A specific field of science develops for each one. But life itself is a unity, and the more the sciences immerse themselves in separate fields, the more they move away from seeing the world as a living whole. It is essential to have a wholistic knowing that seeks in the separate sciences the principles for leading man back to the fullness of life. The aim of the scientific specialist's research is to gain knowledge of the world and how it works. The aim of this book is philosophical: science itself is to become a living whole. The various branches of science are preparatory stages on the way to the wholistic science intended here.

A similar relationship governs the arts. A composer works on the basis of the theory of composition. This theory is an accumulation of principles of what one needs to know in order to compose music. In composing, the rules of theory serve life, that is, theory serves actual reality.

In the same way philosophy is an art. All genuine philosophers have been artists in the conceptual realm. For them, human Ideas become their artistic material and the wholistic method of science their artistic technique. Abstract thinking takes on an individual life of its own. Ideas become powerful forces in life. We no longer  merely know about things, but have made knowing into a real self-governing organism, ruled by its own laws. Our actual working consciousness has lifted itself above a mere passive reception of truths.

0.9 A Science Of Freedom
[10] The main theme of my book concerns these questions: How philosophy, as an art, relates to freedom; what freedom is; and whether we do, or can, participate in it. Scientific discussions are included because it is science, at long last, that will throw light on these questions which are the most intimate that concern humanity. These pages offer a "Philosophy of Freedom."

0.10 A Science Of Humanism
[11] All science would be nothing but the satisfaction of idle curiosity, if it does not elevate the existential value of human personality. The true value of the sciences is seen only when we are shown the importance of their results for humanity. The ultimate aim of an individuality cannot be the cultivation of only a single capacity. Rather, it must be the development of all the potential that slumbers within us. Knowledge has value only by contributing to the all-around development of the whole of human nature.

0.11 A Science Of Ethics
[12] This book does not regard the relationship of science to life in such a way that the human being must bow down before the world of Ideas and devote his powers to its service. On the contrary, it shows that he should take possession of the world of Ideas to use them for his human aims. These extend beyond those of mere science.

0.12 Master Of Ideas
[13] One must confront an Idea as master, experiencing it; otherwise one falls into its bondage.

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© Tom Last 2017