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Ways of Knowing

(Different Methods for Figuring Out Reality)

Compass of ways of knowing:
Listed here are some different methods that can be used to arrive at an understanding of reality.
Science(experimental approach to the physical universe)
Philosophy(the abstract mind)
Rationalism/Scepticism (not accepting realities that are not immediately evident)
Religion (faith in divine revelation and social tradition)
Mysticism (experiences based on spiritual techniques)
Esotericism(intuitive speculation on cosmological world-views)
Occultism(using psycho-physical technigues to access hidden realities)
Gnosis (innate wisdom and understanding)

With any one of these alternatives, there are innumerable such possible metaphysical paradigms and world views, or ways of thinking about or understanding the nature of Reality.  And of course each person thinks that their chosen opinion is the right one.  But even the most treasured explanations have many shortcomings and internal contradictions.  So why should one be preferred over the others?  Why be a Christian rather than a Sceptic, or vice-versa?

We can conclude that use of a method does not guarantee that the understanding will be a correct one.  Each simply constitutes a different paradigm or meta-paradigm, some better, some worse.



Science in itself is simply an experimental method for understanding physical reality.  It works by offering hypotheses that can be falsified.  It is a superb methodology for understanding the physical universe, but not really very good for appreciating non-physical things.



Philosophy is a way to understand reality using the rational intellect alone.  There are many different philosophical explanations - here are only a few.

Religious (theological) explanations


Mystical & Yogic explanations

Mysticism and Yoga

Esoteric & Occult explanations



Sometimes one or more of these techniques are used together (e.g. philosophy and science, or science and religion, or science and mysticism).   Hence we have interdisciplinary approaches.

Triple Point - where science, religion, and philosophy meet Triple Point - Science, Religion and Philosophy

Laws of Wisdom LAWS OF WISDOM - A Holistic Synthesis of Science and Religion - by R. C. L., J.D.- examines key laws from religions, esoteric traditions, psychology, and science.  Sources include Carl Jung, Sigmund Freud, Richard Wilhelm, Jean Houston, Charles Tart, Arnold Keyserling, Black Elk, Benoit Mandelbrot, and others.  The author, an experienced lawyer and researcher in these areas, applies the insights of legal analysis and clear thinking.

on-line essay The Struggle between Christian Theism, Metaphysical Naturalism  and Relativism: how to proceed in science? by Jitse M. van der Meer  - a rather celebral (abstractly intellectual) on-line essay (at least I though so), but worth including because of the title alone  ;-)

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page by M.Alan Kazlev
page uploaded 31 May 1998, last modified 18 June 2004, html on 29 Aug 2009