Scientology/Reasoning and Understanding
Hi Laurie, When you know something is true and you explain this truth to someone and even use reasoning in your explanation, why would a person not only not understand, but try and argue their own point which happens to be false? This can be frustrating for both individuals concerned. What would be the solution?
There's an interesting quote from Ron on this subject: The last few words of Factor 28 read: "...certainty, not data, is knowledge." In his brief essay or homily PERSONAL INTEGRITY, Ron says:
"What is true for you is what you have observed yourself. And when you lose that, you have lost everything.
"What is personal integrity? Personal integrity is knowing what you know. What you know is what you know and to have the courage to know and say what you have observed. And that is integrity and there is no other integrity."
Ideally, one knows what one knows DIRECTLY - through personal observation and experience. There is other "knowledge," however, which are things we know ABOUT, rather than actually know, because we learn them from other sources, never having observed or experienced what we "know." In such a case we have to do two things: First, evaluate the sources of our data for accuracy and reliability, and Second, test the learned data for ourselves to see if it turns out to be true. Then we can be "certain," and it becomes more than data, ie, knowledge. Unfortunately, certain data does not lend itself to objective testing by the recipient - either because it deals with things too distant or of too broad a scope for a person to directly address, or because it deals in things which cannot be sensed, or because it consists of untestable claims - such as the existence or nature of God, or a prediction of the future - which cannot, in the present, be tested. In such a case we are left only with knowledge we HAVE tested, and our "powers of logic" - which in some cases, are called "logic" but consist of gut feelings about what could or could not be true, or about what "makes sense."
Plus, the decision to be certain can be made without objectively testing knowledge. One can receive false data, decide to be certain of it, and thereafter "know" that data is true, even if it is not. This sort of false data, data which is accepted unverified, unevaluated, unexamined, untested, blocks the ability of the person to learn new, true data that contradicts their pre-existing "knowledge." This is SO true, that once a person "knows" something, you can present them with proof positive that their knowledge is false, and their reaction will be to reject the proof and hold on to the old knowledge. The non-Scientology term for this is "confirmation bias." Data which tends to confirm what we already believe is accepted as valid, and data which tends to contradict what we already believe is rejected as false.
There is a process in Scientology called "false data stripping" which is designed to overcome the inability to learn which comes from the "knowledge" of false data. Short of performing this procedure with a person, I'm not really sure how you can replace a false understanding with a true one. The person has to be willing to come to the discussion with a desire to learn new things, and with a willingness to abandon old viewpoints formerly held sacred. Such is a rare approach, undertaken by a rare person.
Where I see the above acted out most graphically is on various internet discussion boards where the subject matter is guns, gun regulation, and gun rights. Each side is utterly convinced of their own "knowledge" on the subject, and data which contradicts what they already "know," cannot be considered - because, being contrary to what they "know," it must perforce be false. Factually, each side of the discussion has true data which the other side could learn if it were not priorly excluded by false data already possessed in its place. Thus, no consensus and no truth can be arrived at. The basic lie underlying this failure to communicate is the lie that one side or the other is "right" and the other is "wrong." Aspects of both sides of the argument are right. Others are wrong. In religion, politics and debates over guns, the cardinal sin is admitting that even a particle of your data, your cognitive process, or your conclusions is, however slightly, wrong.
SOMETIMES you can overcome the compulsion to be right in a debate opponent by admitting error yourself. Having "won" a part of the argument, and having seen you be "wrong" and survive it, it becomes less important, or necessary, for the person to themselves be right on every remaining point. This does not always work.
I wish I had better news.