Monday, April 23, 2012

Significant Facts

The diverse response and grades of significance that an object elicits can be illuminated this way: An animal may see an oddly shaped black and white object, a tribal person a rectangular flexible object with curious marking. To a western child it is a book, while to an adult it may be a particular type of book, namely a book that makes incomprehensible, even ridiculous claims about reality. Finally to a physicist it may be a profound text on quantum physics.

Roger Walsh M.D., Ph.D. wrote those thoughts in his essay, Hidden Wisdom. We all know, but sometimes overlook the fact that awareness occurs in stages. Our beliefs as well as the new knowledge we digest contribute to our present state of awareness. Walsh makes us aware that stages of awareness are rooted in what we believe reality to be. Reality is not a fixed state; it changes as we change our perceptions and the significance of our perceptions. A good example of how these stages work is our current belief about war, poverty and disease. Our thoughts about these facts generate our experiences that are associated with them. Our energy, concentration and focus on these facts, and others like them, make them real to all of us in different ways. Significant facts vary quite a bit depending on our immediate awareness and the associations we attach to those facts.

The Buddhist economist E.F. Schumacher explains how facts should be understood this way:

Facts do not carry labels indicating the appropriate level at which they ought to be considered. Nor does the choice of an inadequate level lead the intelligence into factual error or logical contradictions. All levels of significance up to the level of the meaning in the example of the book are equally factual, equally logical, equally objective, but not equally real. When the level of the knower is not adequate to the level of the object of knowledge, the result is not factual error but something much more serious: an inadequate and impoverished view of reality.

Schumacher’s explanation of reality is a valid one when we consider the vacillating perceptions that surround facts. Self-conscious righteousness accepts facts through a narrow slit in a controlled pre-conceived reality. That reality rejects and even condemns facts that exist outside of that judgmental path. There is a sense of stagnation in that path, and the result is a clear separation in perceived truths. Each and every reality opens a doorway, and through that doorway we are able to experience our desires and expand our psyche.

Physical life is a mixture of significant and non-significant facts that blend into a potpourri of perceptions and choices that produce different stages of reality. The source of the psyche’s strength is interwoven within the fabric of expanding realities. The level of the knower is a subjective choice. We choose how we want to experience facts, and from those choices we expand our beliefs. Those beliefs may not be reality to all, but they are a valid reality to the consciousness that is creating them.

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