By George A. Boyd © 2020
Q: It seems both reason and intuition have the capacity to generate error. Can you shed some light on this?
A: Let us tease apart the verification processes of reason and intuition:
Reason arrives at tentative, consensual truth through a process of analysis and critique, and testing.
- It starts with facts, data, or evidence.
- It generates a hypothesis to explain the fact.
- It tests the hypothesis to determine whether it is true or not.
It observes, measures, weighs, detects, tests, and sets criteria for the statistical probability that the hypothesis is likely true.
- This estimate of the likelihood that something is true can range from five out of 100 in social science to one in 100 billion in physics.
Empirical verification is a step-by-step algorithmic process, which is subject to peer review, analysis, and critique.
Intuition reveals truths that dwell in the sphere of the Soul’s consciousness.
- It uses the faculty of discernment (Vijnana) to locate the object in the inner mandala of the Soul’s consciousness and recognizes it and labels it.
- It employs the faculty of contemplation (Dhyana) to gather information about the object of meditation through observation, reflection, comparison, and identifying analogies or correspondences.
- It is founded upon the Soul’s consciousness, which is the anchor of spiritual law and the foundation of inner Truth (Dharma).
Finding the ground of intuitive truth enables you to identify the stable markers of Subplanes, Planes, and Divisions of the Continuum, and to locate your spiritual essence in inner space.
Intuitive discovery or revelation is a heuristic process, which explores meaning, realizes possibilities, makes associations with other ideas, finds correspondences, and examines the changes that transformation produces.
When this rational and intuitive process goes awry, it gives rise to two forms of distortion:
Conspiracy theories – In this distortion of your rational process, you make assertions without validated facts, you create a hypothesis to explain your assertion, and you believe this hypothesis is the truth without subjecting it to tests. This arises from a failure to conduct empirical verification.
Delusion – In this distortion of intuitive discovery, you assume something is true in error. You use discernment to incorrectly confirm your erroneous belief. You only admit information that supports your belief, and you deny, ignore, or attack information that is contrary to your belief.
Disciples need to correct both types of distortion, and identify what is true behind conspiracy theory and delusion.
You can ask questions like these to examine these patterns:
Is this an intuitive or empirical truth?
How do I know this is true? How can I verify this?
What are the consequences of holding this belief?
- How does it affect my behavior?
- How does it shape my emotional reactions and attitudes?
- How does it color my perception and worldview?
- How does it alter my beliefs?
- How does it influence my values?
- How does it sway my choices?
When I make these choices, how does it impact my life, my relationships, and my career?
The Gentle Art of Spin
Q: What is the process through which truth is perverted so it gives rise to conspiracy theories and delusion?
A: This is both an active process and a passive process:
In the active process, you choose to lie and deceive others. Criminals, con-men, and dictators utilize the active process to control others and make them do what they want.
In the passive process, you start with a logical error and then you begin to justify and defend it. The passive process is generated when you receive incorrect information and you believe it is true. This can result from exposure to those who are telling you lies and you believe them; it can also stem from having incomplete information and making faulty conclusions based on this limited data.
These active and passive “truth cycles” are described below:
The Active Process
In the active process, truth is progressively eclipsed. The dichotomy is between choosing to tell the whole truth as opposed to the choice to lie.
- The downward cycle for the active process moves from omission to misstating the facts to active distortion to feeling initial anxiety and guilt to rationalization to outright denial.
- The upward cycle for the active process moves from breaking denial, stopping rationalization, to finding the source of anxiety and guilt to correcting distortion to stating the correct facts to revealing what was omitted.
The Passive Process
In the passive process, rationality is perverted into delusion through warping of information.
- The downward cycle for the passive process moves from making a logical error to covering up this error to accepting false information to making judgments based on this false information to precipitating a change in mindset to a descent into paranoid thinking.
- The upward “recovery” cycle for the passive process includes taking responsibility for what you can control to examining your mindsets and rejecting erroneous beliefs and perceptions to rejecting incorrect judgments and founding subsequent judgments on correct information to identifying and rejecting false information and finding correct information to admitting your errors to identifying the source of logical error and correcting it.
To deconstruct a rational or empirical belief, reflect upon:
- What is the evidence for this contention?
- What is your belief about the evidence (hypothesis)?
- How do you prove this is true?
If there is no evidence, it does not exist in the physical universe.
To deconstruct an intuitive belief, reflect on:
- In what nodal point is this truth anchored?
- What is your criterion for assuming this is true? [Is this a mathematical proof? Is this a sensory proof? Is this an emotional or experiential proof based on faith or conviction? Is this a proof based on authority or scripture? Is this a revealed (revelatory) truth? Is this a proof based on analogy or correspondence like Gematria, numerology, astrology, or tarot? Is this a proof based on symbolic or linguistic analysis?]
- How can you verify that truth is reliable?
Truth has many facets. What is true depends upon the means through which you derive it or arrive at it.
Notice how this process of spin can move both ways: you can descend into error; you can correct yourself. You may wish to apply this process of truth recovery to deconstruct your false beliefs.