Thursday, December 27, 2007

Traditional Truth

Read the prior message in this series: Experiencing Truth

Tradition is the third branch of my developing epistemology, but this is where my analogy with the co-equal branches of the US Constitution breaks down. Tradition is not co-equal with logic and experience. Rather, it is subservient to the two pillars and essentially an extension of the pillar of experience.

I include tradition in my epistemology to avoid the cultural myopia and familiarity bias in my community of truth seekers. In the strictest sense, tradition extends experience through the lens of history. Tradition acknowledges we are "standing on the shoulders of giants" as Isaac Newton once said. In the introduction to this series I wrote, "Discovering truth is not a solo venture." Tradition differentiates between the verified experiences shared within my truth seeking community and the collective experiences recorded by the great minds of history that have traveled the path before us. Einstein stood on the shoulders of Newton, and he too acknowledged the importance of a comprehensive rather than reductionist view of reality.
I fully agree with you about the significance and educational value of methodology as well as history and philosophy of science. So many people today—and even professional scientists—seem to me like somebody who has seen thousands of trees but has never seen a forest. A knowledge of the historic and philosophical background gives that kind of independence from prejudices of his generation from which most scientists are suffering. This independence created by philosophical insight is—in my opinion—the mark of distinction between a mere artisan or specialist and a real seeker after truth. (Letter from Einstein to Robert Thornton, 7 December 1944, EA 61-574)
I'm very interested in feedback on my pursuit of truth, and I'd love to hear your story.  Comments here are welcomed and encouraged.  I can also be reached through Facebook if you're one of those social networking types, not that there's anything wrong with that. Social networking sites have their place, but the attention spans tend to be microscopic in that environment. I've toyed around with a website called TruthMapping, but so far I haven't met anyone who is a tenacious enough truth seeker to dialog with me in that forum.

If you took the time to read this entire series from the beginning, please let me know. I enjoy a good old fashioned email exchange, but I'm old school that way. At least with email you don't need a stamp.  Truth seeking isn't for the faint of heart or short attention span folks. It requires thinking, and thinking is hard work most people aren't willing to do these days. It's just easier to go watch TV or pass the time watching YouTube on your smartphone. I really wish more people were willing to wrestle with the Big Questions. That's why I created DiscoverTruth.com.

Participate in this series: What's Next? Let's talk about it!


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