How We Know What We Know

There are two primary ways in which we come to know whatever we know. These two avenues often seem like a two-way highway with occasional entrance and exit ramps where we can rest, maybe even loiter for an hour or two, but then get back on the highway, always careful when we choose to pass other vehicles in our path (at least one hopes this is done with care).

The first of these two paths is Objective Avenue. It is a step-by-step manner of building our knowing, taking exit 1, then 2, then 3, and finally arriving at our destination 4, where we know what we set out to know, or understand. It is the process of Logic, where one thing leads to the next and is not distracted by the greenery and mountainous landscape of Feelings. Logic could be seen as a teeming metropolis, overcrowded, even exciting, always filled with further movement, and even more logic. Pure Logic can be a very heady business, but it definitely snubs all those other avenues where the main thoroughfare is Subjective Lane.

Subjective Lane is the second path to knowing, and as its name suggests, it is far more relaxed, meanders through, often loiters at points of interest, sometimes even failing to arrive at any hoped for destination. That’s because it is built on a mountain called Association, where we travel, guided only by the map of our senses: imagery, taste, touch, hearing, etc. But don’t let Subjective Lane fool you into thinking you’re on vacation. It is teeming with even more life than Objective Avenue, hidden behind such things as Memory Hill, Dreams of Another Life, Smells That Wrinkle the Nose, and all such places. It might be a lazy back country lane, but it often abruptly turns into a graveled surface that kicks up dust, and obliterates the ability to see clearly.

The trick is to know that both of these paths lead directly, or otherwise, to the place we call Knowing, or Understanding. That’s the place the majority of us truly want to be. These two paths are forever entwined, braided in and through one another, usually open to further suggestions from both. Have you ever heard someone say, “Well, I didn’t so much think it, as see it, feel it, you know?” There are those who believe that thinking and feeling are the same, interchangeable. They aren’t. One is a step-by-step thought process, the other is linked directly to our senses and the associations that those senses create when stimulated.

Both paths are essential because they utilize and inform one another. Sometimes they do that by arguing with one another, and can even get into a knock down, dragged out brawl, that leaves the individual exhausted and sorely in need of a rest from both. Other times, one knows a thing is true, can see the Logic of it all because one has Subjectively lived through an experience that validates, underlines the reality of that truth. The opposite is also real, there are those experiences that suddenly make us aware of the Logic within the situation, the ‘rightness’ of the thing itself.

Now for the reason behind this little travelogue. Language is a function of the Logic aspect of our brain. However, most times we don’t think in words, we see the thought in images provided by our Senses, Association. To interpret, and more important, to express it, we must use Language, thus Logic. And around and around she goes, constantly. If that were not so, we wouldn’t be breathing, reading this, or trying to understand it. We’d be dead, no more than roadkill.

When we write on a regular basis, we place ourselves within easy reach, and actually on both of those Avenues mentioned above. And both of those Avenues readily respond guiding us through major traffic jams, and delivering us to our appointed destination. Not each and every time, but each and every time brings us closer to where we want to be and definitely facilitates our eventually getting there. It could be seen as the difference between hitting red stop lights at each intersection, and getting the green light all the way through downtown traffic. Which do you prefer?

Most of us prefer one of those Avenues to the other, at the risk of losing a more fully comprehended understanding. Those who stick with Subjective Lane, risk getting tied up in knots and possible insanity. Those who perfer the Interstate action of Objective Avenue, risk becoming completely detached from the color, vibrancy, and smell of real life, drifting toward some form of parallel to it, but not ever really understanding it, or living it. Again, which do you prefer?

Do you diss your feelings? Say they aren’t important? Shake your head at anything logical because it doesn’t take real ‘life’ into account? Writing allows you to explore both while using both, even after putting down the pen, or shutting off the computer. It actually is a simple bridge between the two and often leads to a clearer map with well appointed markings for direction. Yes, we all make wrong turns at one time or another, but if you’ve been writing, you also have the ability to go back, read, and find out just where you made that right, instead of left turn, and put yourself back on the track called Knowing. It is always your choice.


About 1sojournal

Loves words and language. Dances on paper to her own inner music. Loves to share and keeps several blogs to facilitate that. They can be found here:
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