I had no idea facts and human truths were shifty little buggars until my brain was rewired. Before 2011 I took a fact or a universal truth to be a an undeniable knowing that a thing is right, foundational, and lasting whereas an opinion often shifts. Well apparently so do facts carved in stone. Needless to say this rocked the world I’d built in my head (memories, beliefs, truths, concepts) and pushed me to question everything I held near and dear through inquiry.
I discovered there are two types of knowledge, maybe more, and I was focused on the name or label of a thing. I was pretty good about studying, learning, and “knowing” about a thing.
Along comes mid-life and I learned that knowing the name of the thing is not a fact but a consensus.
I had no clue that in order to live without suffering I had to focus on knowing a thing and not the name of a thing. Looking backwards I can now see that A Course in Miracles was all about knowing the thing and not just the name.
And from where did this gift or inspiration about the types of knowledge flow? Mostly Grace, I feel, along with a casserole of extensive reading across a broad area of the sciences and humanities, along with satsangs, my Grandmother, Nature, dear friends, loved ones and my cats. I did not know that I did not know.
William M. Dixon, a British professor of literature in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries wrote: “The facts of the present won’t sit still for a portrait. They are constantly vibrating, full of clutter, and confusion.”
Dixon says there is an order to all our changing knowledge and his book, The Half-Life of Facts offers a guide to the vibrations and scientific patterns within the facts we encounter and the people identifying with facts.