The Way of Knowing

"The good life is inspired by love and guided by knowledge."

–Bertrand Russell


The last post was devoted to identifying the two powers of intellect-cognition and imagination. In this installment, I will cover the function of cognition–The Way of Knowing– from the perspective of the Visionmaker.


The Way of Knowing harnesses the pragmatic and practical aspects of the cognitive mind. These aspects were developed by early man in encounters with the natural world, especially through the agency of survival. Through the survival instinct, humankind developed the capacity to learn what works and what doesn't work in encounters with the natural world.


Cognition helped in providing food and shelter, avoiding peril and in tool development and manufacture. Even today, in our "civilized world," the survival instinct spurs humankind towards being better, faster and smarter. Cognition, through the discipline of learning, assists us to apply knowledge gained to encounters with uncertainty and unfamiliar experience.


The Way of Knowing includes eight apptitudes:


1. Awareness-the capacity to be watchful, gather information and remain present and alert.


2. Attention-the ability to focus the intellect and to concentrate over a period of time.


3. Probing-to search or explore something in order to expand one's knowledge or understanding.


4. Understanding-the capacity to percieve, interpret, assign meaning and apply knowledge.


5. Reasoning-the power to form conclusions, judgments or to infer through logic.


6. Analysis-the ability to separate something into constituent parts as a means of determining its esential features and their relationships.


7. Judgment-the ability to make a decision, or form an opinion objectively, authoratively and wisely, especially in matters affecting action, good sense or discretion.


8. Memory-the capacity to retain and recall facts, events, impressions and experiences and to apply recall to new experiences.


"Knowledge is power" goes the 16th century proverb. As a result of the survival instinct and the rise of cognition, human beings have placed a high value on acquiring knowledge and in developing the skill of logical reasoning.


Equally high value should go to imagination, known in Visionmaking as The Way of Dreaming. It will be the subject of the next post.


© Patrick O’Neill 2010. All rights reserved

Posted on March 16, 2010 and filed under Insight, Original Vision.