Education and the Search for Knowledge of Reality:

                                                   Complete Knowledge, True Knowledge or 'Truth'

The search for truth requires independence of mind which safeguards originality - the tool with which new discoveries are made. Independence of mind and originality must be allowed expression and thus 'dissent' must be valued" (Jerome Bruner)

theme:  The human capacity for learning is a result of millions of years of evolutionary process. As a product of human evolution, the learning process is based on the need to acquire information and understanding... knowledge of the realities of the world... true knowldedge or 'truth'. The truth finding process depends on insights which are reliable because they involve the interplay of empirical observation or 'data' and experiential understanding or 'theory'.  Truth doesn't have to be demonstrated... or proven. Truth is there and nothing can change that. Not believing that something is true does not make the truth go away. Truth is ineluctable...  inescapable. Truth is the authority but to be motivated to search for truth, the mind must not be closed. If the mind is closed it is easy to mistake authority for the truth and it is difficult to unlearn a lie.  If people are conditioned to accept authority as 'truth' and if they feel comfortable with their sense of security in 'knowing the truth', then when they are challenged with the real truth their sense of security is compromised and they feel threatened. In a process of 'cognitive dissonance' they react with resistance and self-jusification and refuse to accept the 'new' truth.  If on the other hand, the mind is open and free, authority is not mistaken for truth and questions are asked instead using the intelligence of moral or 'spiritual' insight... 'intuition'.  Motivation for the pursuit of truth is a function of engagement of psychological and moral or 'spiritual' development resulting in personality integration which is characterised by holistic perception and complete cognition. Hence the importance of education for freedom to  grow through learning... to cultivate intuitive intelligence or  'creative intelligence'  i.e. education of the personality as a whole or 'holistic education'. Holistic education involves intellectual independence 'independence of mind' as having the freedom and the courage to question authority in order to pursue the 'truth'. Truth as knowledge of reality is fundamental to accurate evaluation and creative decision-making required for effective adaptability and survival.

"A mature truth told to immature minds ceases, in those minds, to be that same mature truth. Immature minds take from it only what immature minds can assimilate. In the end, even though they may give it lip-service and may raise institutions in its name, they turn the mature truth into an applied immaturity. This fate of psychological depreciation has been the fate of all our greatest human truths. Uttered by mature minds, and for the puprose of maturing minds, they have been received, for the most part, by less mature minds - and have thus been only partially comprehended. Being only partially comprehended, they have found expression in ways that have perpetuated as much misunderstanding as understanding, as much error as truth". (Overstreet, H.A. The Mature Mind. New York: W.W. Norton & Co. Inc. 1949)
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morality is living in truth...

                        traditional paradigm: classical science and notion of 'scientific objectivity'...  

  science as 'truth finding'...  

               completeness of cognition is a function of awareness or 'consciousness'...  incomplete cognition...

               biological function of knowledge of reality or 'truth'.

                   function of contemplation in search for truth...  

           quotations

 Traditional paradigm... classical or orthodox reductionist science later became known as 'reductionism' or ‘scientism’ :  In the seventeenth century it was the Church and the State which determined a priori what the knowledge of reality or 'truth' should be. This changed with the Scientific Revolution when astronomers and physicists  asserted their freedom to make observations and  then determine for themselves what was really the 'truth'. The basic assumption of classical science was that the mental and physical realms of existence are completely separate. In the traditional paradigm of classical or 'orthodox' science the picture of the truth of reality was that it was perfect, complete and hidden but unobtainable.  It was an old and widely held notion that emotions are  the enemy and detrimental to the acquisition of knowledge  because they disrupt accurate  perception and good judgment and are therefore exclusive of truth.  Physics-centred theory produced the concept of ‘scientific objectivity’ as the  mode of knowing required for an impersonal 'value-free' science without the disruptive efect of emotions. They devised the 'scientific method' as a rational method of analysing observations and forming conclusions . The assumptions of reductionism can be successfully applied to the study of objects which are not related to human aspirations and motivations. It is possible to feel uninvolved, detached and neutral when studying rocks, heat, electrical currents and so on. The factor of human motivation cannot be ignored when it comes to the study of the social sciences and human affairs. The concept of scientific objectivity  as the 'spectacles of perception'  of classical science create distortions  of perception and have a crippling effect when applied uncritically when it comes to the study of the human personality or 'human nature'.  

 .. Truth and human nature... biological function of knowledge of reality or 'truth'.Knowledge which is true is 'truth'. Knowledge which is untrue is 'untruth'. It is the true knowledge of reality or 'truth' which is of survival value to the human organism . As a biological social organism, the human individual has an instinctive interest in understanding the realities of its environment... depends for survival on comprehension of the realities of the physical environment, the social environment and the inner workings of the human personality or  'human nature'. In its instinctive dependence on an intense  interest in reality, the human organism is affected and stimulated emotionally as well as intellectually. Combining both intellectual and emotional powers, love and reason, the organism instinctively attempts to comprehend the world...  by combining both intellectual and emotional powers...  this is 'intrinsic motivation'. Curiosity  is rooted in the instinct of self preservation i.e.. Intrinsic motivation involves perception of  a reality... a phenomenon...  in its relation to a totality at the same time as its uniqueness.... as an interconnecting unity …a totality. Intrinsically motivated perception is 'holistic' and the holistic perception of reality results in holistic learning and knowledge of reality or 'truth'. Truth is the foundation for accurate evaluation and intelligent decision-making required for effective adaptability to environmental conditions and the problems of living.

 The human process of 'truth-finding' or 'science' is the activity of inquiry as the primary tool for following up and testing conclusions suggested by the facts and events of life.   The truth-finding process in the paradigm of holistic science is based on the assumption that everything experienced - both physical and mental - is part of an interconnecting unity. This is the unitary approach of  the science of interconnectedness or wholeness i.e. 'holistic science'.  In the unitary view, reductionist causes appear to describe why things behave the way they do only when part of the whole can be sufficiently isolated from the rest that it appears unconnected. Truth as knowledge of reality is like an alloy. Holistic science involves the functions of emotion and cognition operating together so that knowledge of reality or 'truth' is a transaction between perceiver and perceived, a mutual product or alloy. The observer partly creates the reality or 'truth'. The observer's unconscious motivational forces which operate in the perception of reality. With observer expectation, the act of observation itself shapes, changes, intrudes into the condition of 'being observed'. Consequently the knowledge of reality produces  a view of reality, a worldview or  'paradigm'. As a view of reality a paradigm is like a map for negotiating the terrain of life. If the map is accurate and ‘true’, one knows where one is, one knows where one wants to go, and one generally knows how to get there. If the map is inaccurate and false, one probably gets lost. The validity of the map of reality depends on one’s ability for critical thought. The only way to be certain that one's map of reality is valid is to expose it to the criticism of others.   Dedication to true knowledge of reality or 'truth' means a willingness to be personally challenged... to challenge one’s own perceptions  as well as those of others. The more willing one is to accept the personal challenge, the more clearly one sees the reality of the world. The more clearly one sees the world, the better equipped one is to deal with it. The less clearly one sees the world, the more befuddled the mind becomes by falsehood, misperceptions, and illusions and the less able one is to deal with it... the less able one is to distinguish between what is true and what is not 'true' and to determine correct courses of action and make wise decisions.

 The ability to distinguish between 'truth' and 'untruth' depends on whether cognition is 'complete' or 'incomplete'.  Whether cognition is complete or incomplete depends on whether or not one is aware or 'critically conscious'. Critical consciousness is a function of personality integration... level of consciousness is a function of the stage of personal development one has reched... 'sociocognitive stage'.  Complete cognition is a function of personality integration...  awareness or 'consciousness'.  Complete integration of the personality is the basis for complete cognition or 'being-cognition' and 'being-love'. From being-cognition and being-love comes freedom from fear. Freedom from fear facilitates the capacity to take complete responsibility for oneself and to know where one's responsibilities lie and where they don't.  With freedom from fear comes the joy of life. Life's meaning which is provided by death is overcoming the fear of divisiveness and uniting in a spirit of compassion or 'love'. This is the central wisdom of spiritual evolution... and of religion in its true sense.  

Truth as spiritual truth... religious truth or 'The Truth'... is the natural force of fellowship or 'love' as spiritual love... 'agape'...  which allows for human cooperation and collaboration required for survival of the human species as a social species. Jesus, an integrated personality: "I am the Truth" means "I am Love"..  Love is our human nature... our social nature... our essential or 'divine' nature. The spiritually evolved person is an extraordinarily loving person who is competent in the service of others. With great power... they suffer dreadfully.  Spiritual evolution to a life of higher consciousness means more suffering but more joy. Discipline is the means of human spiritual evolution... the force behind discipline is love and the capacity to exercise attention by listening. A major and essential task in the process of one's spiritual development is the continuous work of bringing one's conscious self-concept into progressively greater congruence with the reality of the ego-transcendant self the 'Truth'... 'true self' or  Sself...  being awareness  which requires constant self-examination and contemplation or 'meditation'. Meditation is essential for finding the 'truth' upon which survival  ultimately depends.  

Function of contemplation or 'meditation'... From the holistic perspective there are two ways to connect with reality. One is through physical sense data - the objective aspect of the truth-finding process which is the basis of classical scienceorthodox science or 'scientism'; ; the other is through the deep intuitive 'inner knowing' of observer participation - the subjective aspect of the truth-finding process.... contemplation or 'meditation'.... contemplative knowledge or 'intimate knowledge'. 

Morality is 'living in truth'... The integrated personality... the 'moral being' lives in ‘truth’...  generates security and understanding which leads to compassion or 'love'... leads a life of total honesty with total freedom just to 'be'... lives in the open. Openness is a source of illumination and clarification involving the use of language which reflects the cognitive processes so that thinking is externalized...  truth is made in the interpersonal relation - in the critical discourse of dialogue. The function of dialogue is to examine how accurately one's perception of reality reflects the true knowledge of reality. Exercising one's courage to communicate with others frees one from fear. Openness and freedom are the conditions for personal spiritual growth. Growth of the human spirit means giving up the self or   'ego' ...establishing and maintaining  meaningful relationships... loving at the level of Being ... enjoying actualisation for itself... seeing it as it is... not judging,  exploiting,  desiring  to improve or in any other way projecting one's own values onto others ... not wanting to interfere with the actualisation and freedom of others. This means more concrete experiencing and witnessing and less dissecting, abstracting, simplifying, organizing, and manipulating. Leaving the 'what is' alone to be itself also implies a holistic, global attitude. 

Incomplete integration of the personality is the basis for incomplete cognition. Incomplete cognition of the non-integrated personality who lives in ‘untruth’ generates insecurity and misunderstanding which leads to fear and hatred. The personality is not fully integrated when the individual actively clings to an outmoded view of reality or 'worldview' developed in childhood as a result of the lack of wholeness in the conditioning influences of the social environment. The acquired view of reality is inappropriately transferred into adulthood in a process of 'transference'. The result is incomplete cognition in which the individual sees the surface features of environmental phenomena  but is unable to penetrate below the surface to the essentials...  unable to visualize what is not yet apparent... recognizes things as they appear to be and perceives reality as the sum total of what has already materialized but is unable to penetrate below the surface to the essentials.  Incomplete cognition is seeing the details but not the whole, seeing the trees but not the forest. The individual who is unable to enliven perception from within combines the known factors which are already in existence and infers their operation in the future by calculating with the imagination. The product of incomplete cognition is not truth but 'untruth'.

 Implications for education:  The study of education and educational theory depends on the humanistic approach to the human  process of truth-finding...  or 'science' as a human activity which involves  involves the functions of emotion and cognition operating together synergistically.

Holistic education is education for personality integration, spiritual development, for holistic perception and complete cognition required for successful adaptation to changing realities or 'truths'... to the truth of changing reality i.e. 'adaptability'. Effective adaptability depends on holistic perception and complete cognition or ability to understand reality or ‘truth’ .

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 Quotations

 "...old and widely held notion that emotions are only disrupting, that they are the enemy of true perception and good judgement, that they are the opposite of sagacity and are and must be mutually excluding of truth. A humanistic approach to science generates a different attitude, i.e. that emotion can be synergic with cognition, and a help in truth-finding." (Maslow Farther Reaches of Human Nature. New York: Viking 1971 p.112)

"The meaning of all religious practice: the individual, through prolonged psychological disciplines, gives up completely all attachment to his personal limitations, idiosyncracies, hopes and fears, no longer resists the self-annihilation that is preqrequisite to rebirth in the realization of truth, and so becomes ripe at last for the great at-one-ment. His personal ambitions being totally dissolved, he no longer tries to live, but willingly relaxes to whatever may come to pass in him; he becomes that is to say, an anonymity." (Campbell The Hero with a Thousand Faces. Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press 1972)

 "The term 'scientific objectivity' has, in effect, been preempted by the physics-centered theorists of science and bent to the use of their mechanomorphic 'Weltanschauung'. It was certainly necessary for astronomers and physicists to assert their freedom to see what was before their eyes rather than having truth determined a priori by the church or state. This is the kernel of sense in the concept 'value-free science'. But is this generalization, uncritically accepted today by many, that has crippled so many human and social scientists.....classically 'scientific objectivity' has been most successfully achieved when its objects were most distant from human aspiratons, hopes, and wishes. It is easy to feel uninvolved, detached, clear-eyed, and neutral if one is studying the nature of rocks, or heat, or electrical currents. One doesn't identify with a moon. One doesn't 'care' about it as one does about one's child. It is easy to take the laissez-faire attitude with oxygen or hydrogen and to have non-interfering curiosity, to be Taoistically receptive, to let things be themselves. To be blunt about it, it is easy to be neurtally objective, fair, and just when you don't care about the outcome, when you can't identify or sympathize, when you neither love or hate...if you love something or someone enough at the level of Being, then you can enjoy its actualization of itself, which means that you will not want to interfere with it, since you love it as it is in itself. ...you will be able to see it as it is...you will (not ) be prone to judge tuse it improve it or in any other way project your own values onto it. This also tends to mean more concerete experiencing and witnessing; less abstracting, simplifying, organizing, or intellectual manipulation. Leaving it alone to be itself also implies a more holistic, global attitude and less active dissecting. ... This is possible in Being-Cognition and Being -Love.. difficult to put into words" (Maslow, A. The Psychology of Science: A Reconaissance. New York and London: Harper and Row 1966 ???page 114-118) (See also Nameche, G. "Two Pictures of Man," Journal of Humanistic Psychology. I 1961, 70-88)

  "The making of truth in the interpersonal relation: The picture of truth and of reality that we have inherited from the classical science of the impersonal is that it is 'out there' perfect, complete, hidden but uncoverable. In the earlier versions the observer simply observed. In later versions it was understood that the observer had spectacles that distorted but which could never be removed. Most recently physicists and psychologists have learned that the act of observation is itself a shaper, a changer, an intruder into the phenomenon being observed. In a word, the observer partly creates the reality, i.e. the 'truth'. Reality seems to be a kind of alloy of the perceiver and the perceived, a sort of mutual product, a transaction. For instance, see the many researches with reference and with the effects of observer-expectation, to mention only two well-known lines of experimentation. I mean here more than the 'personal equation' of the astronomer or even Heisenberg's principle of indeterminacy. I refer rather to the impossibility of finding out what, for example, a preliterate culture would 'really' be like, undistorted by the observing ethnologist." (Abraham Maslow The Psychology of Science: A Reconaissance. New York and London: Harper and Row, 1966. p. 110)

"For adjustment to the environment, one must learn to control and evaluate perceptions, and to extract information necessary for survival. For intellectual and spiritual growth, one must be prepared to change one's ideas in the face of new evidence... People cannot be expected to be confidently adaptable at such a basic level unless they have the security of a stable self-image... a reasoned and realistic awareness of their own powers and their individual worth, tempered by an equal respect for the worth of others."  (David Purpel, 1989. The Moral and Spiritual Crisis in Education: A Curriculum for Justice and Compassion in Education. Masschusetts, Bergin and Garvey Publishers, Inc.p.57) or (N. Goble, 'The Changing Role of the Teacher', The Function of Teaching, Paris: UNESCO 1977, page 57)

 "...old and widely held notion that emotions are only disrupting, that they are the enemy of true perception and good judgement, that they are the opposite of sagacity and are and must be mutually excluding of truth. A humanistic approach to science generates a different attitude, i.e. that emotion can be synergic with cognition, and a help in truth-finding." (Maslow Farther Reaches of Human Nature. New York: Viking 1971 p.112)

 "Truth is central to science" (Bronowski, Ascent of Man)

  "The fact that we are shifting from a Cartesian view of the universe, in which the accent has been on parts and elements, to a configuration view, with emphasis on wholes and patterns, challenges every single dividing line between areas of study and knowledge." (Peter Drucker. The Age of Discontinuity. New York: Harper and Row 1969)                                                                                                  

 "Science and knowledge are not a finished enterprise. Science is essentially a self-correcting activity... scientists are people who correct the picture of the moment with another one as a natural evolution toward a 'true' picture of the world". (Bronowski, J. Imagination. 122)

"The meaning of all religious practice: the individual, through prolonged psychological disciplines, gives up completely all attachment to his personal limitations, idiosyncracies, hopes and fears, no longer resists the self-annihilation that is preqrequisite to rebirth in the realization of truth, and so becomes ripe at last for the great at-one-ment. His personal ambitions being totally dissolved, he no longer tries to live, but willingly relaxes to whatever may come to pass in him; he becomes that is to say, an anonymity." (Campbell The Hero with a Thousand Faces. Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press 1972)

"Throughout human history, great insights are degraded by minds too immature to understand them and put them into mature practice. One obvious example is the universal degradation of the idea of One God as the source of truth rather than a multiplicity of gods leading to confusion.The concept of God was degenerated into a mystery beyond man's comprehension... " (Abraham Maslow)

"Progress comes only when accepted values are challenged." (Bronowski )

"Dissent is an instrument of intellectual evolution." (Robert Hartman 'The Science of Value' In Malslow A.H. (ed) New Knowledge in Human Values New York: Harper, 1959)