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73 - Principles, Practices, & Principalities

Updated: Oct 15, 2023

How do you know what you know?

Why do you know what you know?

Why do you care about what you think is good, true, and right?

This is what is commonly called the category of Epistemology: namely, how do we arrive at truth. Though modern, scientific mindedness has tried to establish truth separate from personal preference and perspective, the truth of why we believe what we believe is as important as what we believe.

Belief is more than fact. It's the process of why we started pursuing any avenue of understanding to begin with. The "why" is as important as the "what." Truth is not a static, sterile set of ideas separate from the life we live. Truth is about the passion of ideas that matter to us, because we need to know, because our lives depend on it. That's the best kind of truth. The best truths are embodied. They matter because they matter to us. While we may want to know what is right and true, we can't detach that from our human experience. Part of human experience is not just thinking, but feeling and being. Knowing truth is a full-bodied, embodied, whole person pursuit.

Thats what this tripartite model attempts to flesh out.

We could say that the first part, "principles," is the most sterile, abstract, and objective part of the truth process. It's good to have time-tested truths grounded in ideas not subject to the whims of emotion and petty ego. We need a fixed star to guide us on our journey, as Henry David Thoreau once put it. Thats why the scientific method was developed, as a way of grounding truth in a process absent of human hubris. But, that doesn't mean the point and pursuit of truth is impersonal.

Truth we don't live out isn't really true. What we don't practice, we don't really believe. I can believe I can fly all I want, but if I don't jump off the cliff, I don't believe it enough to see if it's truth. Practices ground us in the ability to test our ideas, in order to turn theories into beliefs. Belief is developed as I attempt to test out my ideas, to see if and how they work. As I practice them, they get better refined and defined.

But the center in all truth has to do with relationship. In this way truth is not sterile, or something that happens in absence of community. What I believe, I practice, and what I practice affects others. All truth that is real effects the way I live, which effects the world around me. Does it matter that I understand the scientific process of the sound spectrum as much as how it works, and how to work with it. I live in a world of sight and sound. I don't have to understand all the classic or quantum mechanical aspects of that world in order to be in it, and be a good part of it.

In all truth, there is a flow between principles, practices, and principalities, which equals a process that effects who I am in the world, and who I am becoming. What we think, feel, and sense physically all play into that process. This is a whole person, full bodied approach to truth.

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