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Diamond Approach

Glossary of Spiritual Wisdom

From the teachings of A.H. Almaas

What is Logic?

Diamond Approach Teachings About: Logic

Cognitive Development of Logic is Important for Spiritual Maturation

An aspect of this cognitive development is that the soul learns how to use reason and logic. This is the application, in the process of thinking, of abstract rules to our concepts. These rules help guarantee that our conclusions do not contradict basic knowledge, direct observation. We will see in chapter 20 that these rules of logic reflect invariant patterns in basic knowledge as it unfolds through the dynamism of Being. This cognitive development is clearly important and useful for the experience, life, and development of the soul. We already know how it is useful in our ordinary life, and its usefulness is amply demonstrated in the development of science and technology. In fact, most of the achievements of modern Western civilization are direct consequences of this cognitive development. However, this achievement is also necessary for the eventual spiritual maturation of the soul. The cognitive achievements contribute to our capacity for discrimination and reason, and our ability to relate and synthesize in general. We ordinarily apply this capacity for discrimination and synthesis only to our ordinary knowledge. However, there is no reason why we could or should not apply it to our basic knowledge itself. We only need to be in touch with the ground of this knowledge, essential presence, to do that. In fact, we believe this is the next stage of our cognitive development. Our cognitive achievements can be seen not only as the creation and expansion of ordinary knowledge, but basically as the development of our intellect to new heights of discrimination and synthesis that can now be integrated with basic knowledge on a higher level of understanding.

Diamond Approach Inquiry Does Not Dissociate Rationality and Spirituality

Recognizing how thought, reason, and logic on the one hand, and mystical revelations and spiritual transcendence on the other, are both related to basic knowledge can help us move toward a new integration of knowledge. We have the possibility of recognizing the ground that unifies mystical perception with rational thought, a unification that is not simply an addition or sequential application, but a coemergent operation. Some Greek philosophy and Christian philosophy in the West, and various Eastern philosophers, have appreciated this unified nature of the various dimensions of consciousness composing our soul. Yet it is clear that modern thought has developed in the context of emphasizing abstract thought as increasingly removed from direct experience, allowing new heights in the abstracted operation of reason. The integration of this thought with a return to attention on basic knowledge, on the understanding of actual present experience of self and world, will take this understanding of unity to a higher level of integration on the evolutionary spiral. This integration of the cognitive faculty allows us to approach our experience and perception with rationality and reason functioning as part of basic knowledge to inquire into the various forms that knowledge manifests. Since reason reflects objective patterns of the field of knowledge, this kind of inquiry can penetrate these forms and disclose how they conform to these general principles of basic knowledge. And since reason here is not dissociated from its ground, the presence of consciousness, it becomes a tremendous aid in investigating experience and perception and leading us toward new and more harmonious knowledge. Applying rational thought to direct experience can become a more balanced and complete method of scientific investigation. Our particular method of inquiry, the Diamond Approach, is one such development. This method of inquiry unifies reason with its ground of basic knowledge to explore the inner experience of the soul, both psychological and spiritual. And since this method originates in a dimension of knowing in which reason and pure consciousness are not dissociated, the approach does not dissociate rationality and spirituality.




Dimension of Knowing that Supports Both Spiritual and Logical Knowing

Is there a more fundamental dimension of knowing, a real dimension that can support both science and spirituality? We will argue in this book that there is, and will begin our exploration with an unquestionable fact about the human soul, the fact that we have a capacity for knowing, any knowing. More precisely, we need to begin with ourselves, our body and mind and all their capacities of awareness and knowing. At least at the beginning, we have only ourselves as the agents of knowing, the organs of perception, and the locus of the revelation of truth. By investigating ourselves, questioning how we are aware and conscious, exploring how we perceive and know, wondering how we can discern truth from falsehood, we can begin to study the organ of awareness employed by all ways of knowing, the spiritual/mystical mode and the logical/scientific.

Logic and Reason Are Compatible with Direct Experience

The functioning of this thinking capacity evolves various rules and principles that we call logic and reason. Although knowledge is not static, but is always in a state of change and transformation, these transformations are not chaotic or haphazard; they follow fundamental patterns that reflect the self-organizing intelligence of the soul. In fact, as we will see in later chapters, they reflect basic patterns of Reality, including Being and universe and their relationship to the soul. The recognition and abstraction of such fundamental invariant patterns develop into our rules and principles of logic and reason. We leave a more complete treatment of this interesting subject to chapter 20, but it is important to realize that logic and reason are not contrary to direct experience; they arise from and reflect its inherent patterns. The difficulty tends to arise when they become estranged from their source and ground, and are applied in an abstracted and rigid way. When the patterns of our thought are not informed by basic knowledge, they can stray from Reality.

Mystical and Logical Knowing Were Originally Connected in Western Thought

Our Western spiritual understanding has grown distant from its roots; Plato’s and Pythagoras’s spiritual training required the utmost rigor of logic and precision of discrimination. Pythagoras taught spirituality through instruction in mathematics, and Plato instituted mathematics as part of the curriculum of his academy. Logical debates were part of Plato’s spiritual training, a practice inspired by Socrates. The originators of our Western thought conceived of mystical experience and logical discrimination as two sides of the same capacity for knowing. The contemporary assumptions are radically otherwise; the major thrust of thought now is that mystical experience and logical thought are not only divergent but also incompatible.

The Nous Can Use Logic to Unfold Spiritual Potentials

The essential intellect or nous operates not only with the enhanced intellectual capacities of discrimination and synthesis, but even though it is essential presence it can operate in conjunction with the soul’s normal intellect, with its logic, reason, and ordinary knowledge. Here, instead of ordinary knowledge obscuring our basic knowledge, the nous uses it to reveal and unfold the infinite potentials of basic knowledge. The essential nous can also operate in conjunction with reason and logic, applied to spiritual experience in all its dimensions and subtlety.

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