The Evolution of a Slyman

Aspect of Reason

What Are We Capable Of? – A Question Worthy Of Asking!


Illumination

So many of us are seeking answers.  We turn to science, religion, philosophy, and our own experiences for some kind of understanding or comfort.  We seek an explanation, a foundation to build our world-view upon, a paradigm or system with which to navigate reality.  Answers are what we are after, and answers are what are offered in abundance by both the well-meaning and well-informed as well as the clueless or hucksters of the world.

  I wonder, if instead of answers, we should seek questions.  I wonder if we are asking the right questions.
  We call the achievement of discovery or knowledge “enlightenment”.  We become more “brilliant”, and display our “brilliance” when we apply our knowledge in some manner.  Those in the know are considered “illuminated”.  That sounds like a worth-while goal, to be “illuminated”… to be more “luminous”.  When I observe the objects in nature that are luminous, they appear to be their own source of illumination.  Their brilliance comes from within.  The Sun is the most luminous object in our sky, and is most certainly its own source of light.  The Moon, by comparison, reflects this illumination.  It is reliant on the Sun for its brilliance.
 This is how I see the process of seeking answers.  It is seeking to be like the Moon, reflecting the brilliance of other, more luminous objects we are close to.  Seeking answers means that we lack our own brilliance, our own illumination.  It seems to me that our effort lies beyond merely seeking answers, but rather in formulating the right questions… and then developing those answers for ourselves.  Self-Evolution must involve some manner of developing our own brilliance, of becoming luminous rather than merely enlightened.
 We speak also of paths, referring to a philosophical route to enlightenment of some sort.  A path leads us somewhere, at least in theory.  That is key, that any path only leads the person “walking” it to a place in theory.  Who’s theory is it?  It is the theory of those who have walked the path before, who are illuminating that path for others.  However, can we really walk the same path?  A path is a natural, organic thing.  It changes with time, and is unique to each person upon it.  Each person brings with them their own illumination, distorting the path itself according to their own Individual quirks and perspectives.  Each step they take along the path is unique to them.
 While a person may be shown a path, and even guided on a path, to walk the path blindly… blinded by the brilliance of another rather than seeing with your own illumination, profits the seeker nothing.  The path must be walked with intent, and must be illuminated by one’s own brilliance.  The illuminated on the path become points of light in the distance, guiding those behind with their brilliance while also serving as an example of the illumination required to truly make that philosophical journey.
 What then, are some questions we might ask?  These are some of mine.
 Who am I?
 No, really who am I?
 Does my behavior support my definition of self?
 Am I me, or someone else’s definition of me?
 Am I consistent in who I am?
 Do I do anything?
 What do I want to do?
 How do I do it?
 Why do I do it?
 Is this “real”?
 If it is not “real”, what can it be?
 What is “real”?
 Why?
 Ultimately, illumination is relative.  There are those who are not illuminated.  Worse, there are those so dim that they do not even reflect the brilliance around them, they draw it in and dim others.  Those that make the choice to recognize are slightly more illuminated.  Those that engage in the Process of being illuminated are even more so.  From there, illumination grows.
 I strive to ask the right questions.  I strive to be illuminating.

A Basis In History

Work on a recent section of my up and coming book led me to doing some research on the methods historians use for verifying accuracy. This was important in my research because so many “traditions” roam abroad with unsupported claims of ancient roots. I’m sharing this with you fine folks because it may help you decide which systems are worth working in and which are not. After all if the system is based in lies, you can only expect any claims of potential gain are also based in lies. Given the short lifespan we have and the fact that most of us were not born into this pursuit, time is precious.

Time brings us to our first point of measure when dealing in authenticating a system as ancient. Olden-Jørgensen and Thurén state that the closer the evidence examined is to the event it claims to describe, the more likely it is that we can trust the evidence given.

In the case of physical evidence (i.e. a plate, stone, or any other tangible item) this is more than obvious. As an example let us just pretend someone has found a spear which they claim was used by early Mesopotamian hunters. After undergoing the process of carbon dating it is revealed that this spear could not be any older than the end of the Roman Empire. We can confidently conclude that it is highly unlikely that this spear existed in it’s “claimed” time period.

What about narrative evidence? Can the same type of measure be given? It certainly can! However a greater degree of difficulty is presented in this type of verification and so a number of procedures have been proposed. Bernheim and Langlois & Seignobos proposed a 7 step system and Garraghan gives 6 steps. It would seem there are many options available to establishing a method of verification. In this light I’ve sought a common field of variables and comprised my own list.

* Proximity of Origin

* Greater Value of Testimony

* Tendency of Bias

* Detail vs General Analysis

* Reference Verification

* Plausibility Verification

* Linear Relativity

* Statisical Relativity

* Analogical Function

As to not entirely bore you fine folks with exasperating detailed descriptions, I will sum each up with a brief sentence or two.

Proximity of Origin – The length of time between the actual occurrence and it’s testimony. It is completely different when dealing with a narrative account from someone who was present during the occurrence versus someone who is trying to reconstruct it a hundred years later.

Greater Value of Testimony – Are there a large number of separate accounts from separate individuals? Do they all agree on ALL the points in consideration?

Tendency of Bias – Is there a set of circumstances which would cause the petitioner of the testimony to be biased to the occurrence? If so, what is the likelihood of the petitioner maintaining a neutral presentation?

Detail Vs General Analysis – Are ALL accounts detailed? If not is there a larger percentage that are detailed or general?

Reference Verification – Can the data presented be verified by sources of authority? How much empirical evidence can be gathered to support the reference.

Plausibility Verification – Is it reasonable to have occurred? Are the existing external conditions for its plausibility present?

Linear Relativity – Does the sequence of events leading up to and continuing afterward present its situation as relative? For instance the claim that Jesus was born between the time of Washington’s Presidency and Adam’s Presidency is clearly retarded.

Statistical Relativity – This deals more with gray areas (situations in which there is conflicting data) and can be utilized by comparison of higher statistical probability. This is obviously using hard science to measure the likelihood of the occurrence.

Analogical Function – When dealing with things of metaphor, one must measure the application of the metaphor during it’s historical period. Obviously the Xtian’s metaphor for “Feeding the Five Thousand” has nothing to do with biological cloning of fish and bread.

As it stands now this is my method. In contrast prior to my committal of this to my book, I’d like you folks to examine it or try it out and help me refine this.