“The old believe everything; the middle aged suspect everything: the young know everything.”
- Oscar Wilde
I would like to discuss a few things around Truth, perspective, opinion and paradigms.
Having just gone through a discussion on the Skeptical Druid(http://www.druidry.org/board/dhp/viewtopic.php?f=48&t=36052
I wanted to follow on with some ideas, but felt this forum was more appropriate.
The above quote by Oscar Wilde resonates with me here, and it's neither proven science nor anything supernatural, it's just one person's voice. One person's wisdom if you think it so. To me wisdom is the central goal of Druidry, and this works for me regardless of whether the world is considered concrete or mystical, or both, or neither, or something altogether different.
Science may consider the world concrete, i.e. materialism. It may require empirical evidence before it will conclude a rational truth or scientific law. Note here I am including Science as a point of view, in the sense of a paradigm, or lens to view the world through, with it's knowledge and practical effects just like any other worldview - be it a religion, philosophy, art, tradition, personal opinion, etc.
The supernatural, in the sense of otherworldly, non- or semi-concrete things, is by definition not possible to be measured as a concrete phenomena. Many materialists will dismiss it as non-existent, fantasy, or 'make-believe' (the last one is a good one to ruminate upon
). The non-concrete does not fit within the scientific scope of truth because it cannot be measured - 'there is no proof, no evidence' is often the response. So it is often reduced to non-existence - non-truth simply because it does not fit the worldview (or at least it one day may come to the light of science, which is more fair I think). The same happens in many other paradigms - so I need not just target certain viewpoints within science.
Often rather than people moving beyond their paradigm and utilising other paradigms to understand that wider world, they seem to close to it - it does not fit into 'their' world - even intellectually - let alone experientially. Thus from the beginning it seems to be misunderstood, misrepresented, and portrayed in an erroneous light - hardly the approach of a being who is truly learned. This can be the case for the science and the supernatural, or for any other paradigm that does not encompass the entire universe in it's scope.
I reflect in this way: Just because I am convinced of something does not mean it is true (even if it is true, I would never assume it to be 100% true and solid enough to make me closed to alternative points of view). Even being convicted to the point of starting to slam any opposition to validate myself won't help a thing. The fact that other people are not convinced should make me question my point of view in an open minded way (or am I to consider myself the most intelligent here?...
But usually as humans we do the opposite and defend our territory. If my view is A, and yours is B, rather than attempt A + B, we may want to keep it at A and reduce B to zero (in our eyes), never growing beyond ourselves to learn more varied points of view. I find it hard to understand the value in this habit of closed mindedness... Knowing A, and knowing B, I will know more will I not? Knowing Science, and knowing Religion, will I not know more... or are they both too contradictory to serve each other? To me that possibility points to them both having little worth beyond their own musings.
To the ultimate level, if we are not able to encompass and genuinely respect and understand every single point of view
(yes it's an eternal journey through many cycles), how can we claim one point of view (our own personal favourite) to be the greatest? If I were to suppose another person's viewpoint were more ignorant, I become smarter than them in my eyes, but not wiser, because I have closed off living inquiry into things - the mind becomes stagnant and one-sided - the quest for truth becomes stagnation of opinion.
To me having an open-mind to every point of view in order to understand them for what they are is part of wisdom, given you are not deceived into unethical or ignorant ways through them - clarity and strong integrity and ethics is important. The problem seems to be that too many worldviews have opinions upon other worldviews that are not supportive of this open learning.
Walking this talk is not easy though - yet the path to wisdom was never meant to be easy.