In order to know something, our knowledge must be either experiential or theoretical. Although in reality it is a fine mixture of both.

To use an example, in many translations of the Bible, sexual relations were referred to as the act of “knowing” one another. This act of knowing was experiential and intimate; not the grasping knowledge of textbooks and facts. Experiential knowledge is an ongoing relationship with life. In many ways this is preferable to theoretical knowledge, which simplifies reality in order to better predict its patterns, and control outcomes.

In a sense it is impossible to truly know anything, in the sense of acquiring theoretical knowledge which accurately describes the full complexity of human experience. No matter how many words are devised, the experience of a feeling or sensation (which is all there really is) into words for another person will only be an act of relating two separate life experiences. The experience itself is always individual and intangible.

Not knowing is just as important as knowing. Since only with an attitude of humility and openness to personal experience can we truly learn anything of value. No other knowledge can exist separate from experience; conventional knowledge is always contained within the realm of our experience. 

Experience contains even abstract descriptions of things which we do not experience directly. This is because those who truly know distinguish the experience of receiving a description by means of language from experiencing the actual phenomena directly and personally. Most intellectual knowledge is devoid of essence, containing only mappings of a thing.

Beliefs can exist without being considered knowledge. They are necessary building blocks which play a large role in determining the possible courses our lives will take. Some hold beliefs tighter than others. But holding beliefs lightly is the most beneficial stance one can take, as it accommodates personal growth and makes it easier to flow with life.

When forming beliefs try to listen to as many perspectives as you can. Truth is less a matter of authoritative sources than it is a matter of listening and judging. There are some things one can and should take on faith. But those things one must especially hold to with humility, recognizing that which was obtained by trust, as opposed to rigorous investigation.

Reason is not opposed to intuition, as is often assumed. But rather the mind gathers and filters information subconsciously which is then assembled and/or assimilated into a theoretical framework by the use of reason. But the final judgments regarding what is accurate and what is inaccurate are made without conscious appeal to logic, but rather an inward conviction based on one’s experience and nature.

This understanding that we do not choose our beliefs consciously, despite having a degree of control over what information and experiences we seek, is a necessary step to realizing intellectual and mental freedom. It is also a step towards the realization of universal compassion.

Once this fact is known: that all which appears reasonable and rational is not completely so, one is liberated to embrace the inner mystery of intuition. This mystery is the fountain of the mystical, and the ground upon which all imagination and wonder is founded.

Intuition is the wisdom formed by feeling and instinct – a gift of knowing without reasoning… Belief is ignited by hope and supported by facts and evidence – it builds alignment and creates confidence. Belief is what sets energy in motion and creates the success that breeds more success.

Angela Ahrendts

Thank you for reading, I would love to hear from you in the comments.
This article is published by the author, Zach Van Houten, under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0). Follow link and read before republishing on another medium.

Featured image retrieved 09/14/17 from https://pixabay.com/en/laptop-apple-keyboard-technology-2592458/ . Used under Creative Commons CC0 license.

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