Archive for July 9th, 2008

Obtaining Knowledge

July 9, 2008

There are traditionaly two primary, accepted, avenues of obtaining knowledge.  One is rationalism, where we seek to grasp the truths about reality through reason. The other is empiricism, where we seek to obtain knowledge through experience of the material realm.  I would like to suggest a third avenue, that of nonmaterial experiencialism. This would complement, not replace, the other approaches to knowledge obtainment. Simply put, nonmaterial experiencialsim is when someone has an experience that is not rooted in the material realm.  Of course, to accept this, one would have to believe in the reality of the nonmaterial. 

The most common expression of this sort of knowledge obtainment would be divine revelation.  Most of the religions of the world have ways in which a supreme power can communicate truth to adherents in a way that is experiential, but not material.  These revelations may come in the form of dreams, visions, or bursts of inspiration.  They may come unsought, or they may be precipitated by prayer, fasting, meditation, sacred drugs, or other techniques.

From the nonreligious perspective, there are those who believe that the use of hallucinogenic drugs provides a window into another reality.  A new, and different version of truth encounter.

This third avenue of truth seeking can be of major benefit, especially to people of faith.  However, seeking to obtain knowledge through nonmaterial experiencialism can be incredibly dangerous and misleading.  Drugs can destroy the body and the mind, and in seeking spiritual enlightenment you had better be careful of the spiritual source.  Experiences that are not grounded in the material realm may be God inspired, demonically inspired, or nothing more than the delusions of a sick mind.  It is not something to play with, but it is appropriate to try to understand and articulate this unique approach to obtaining knowledge of the truth.