The Issues of Life
HENRY NELSON WIEMAN
Chaper VII: Life and Scientific Method
THERE is an established method by which we test the truth of any proposed belief. Manifestly, the only way that truth can ever be attained is by testing our beliefs by the right method and thus ascertaining which of them are true and which are false. If we do not verify our accepted beliefs, discarding those which cannot be verified, it is plain that we cannot know what the truth is. For to know the truth means to know what beliefs are true and what false. We can cherigh theories that have not been verified, but we must not accept them as beliefs until the weight of evidence, gathered by some reliable method, points to their truth. If we do not follow this rule it is plain that we shall deceive ourselves with fabrications. When we speak of verified beliefs we mean beliefs that are supported by sufficient evidence to justify us in accepting them and living by means of them.
THEORY AND BELIEF
It is very important, however, that we have a vast system of theory which is not verified and not believed, but is held simply as theory. The
danger always is that such a system of theory will be accepted as belief. To accept it as belief is folly. But the great value of it as pure theory has been demonstrated by the history of human thought. No great discoveries are ever made, and no advance in human understanding, unless there is a system of theory ready to catch and give meaning to any novel observation or suggestion that may arise. Millions of people had seen apples fall to the ground, but Newton had a system of theory in mind, inherited from previous thinkers and further elaborated by himself.[Cf. A. N. Whitehead, The Function of Reason, pp. 50.] Because of this theory he caught a cosmic meaning in the apple which he could never have discovered without these speculative theories. The marvelous development of scientific knowledge and control of nature during the last three centuries is due to the fact that there had been previously developed an enormous system of theory, of which the mathematical systems on the one hand and the scholastic systems of thought on the other, together with the inheritance from Greece, were among the most important.
There are two things which block all progress and make it impossible to apply intelligence to the conduct of life. One is to accept a traditional system of theory as true before it has been verified. The other is to refuse to develop a system of theory unless it can be tested or otherwise ap-
plied to the practical conduct of life. Theories must be developed far beyond any observable use they may have, but they must not be believed until evidence supporting them has been gathered by the right method. The evil of accepting these speculative systems of theory as though they constituted metaphysical reality is the,constant warning of John Dewey. But his emphasis upon this evil has led him to make statements that seemed to ignore the indispensable value of such speculative systems when they are treated purely as theory and not as constituting or describing any other sort of reality.
Many theories in the form of speculative systems have had to wait for centuries before they could be used to increase our knowledge or serve any practical end. But after hundreds or thousands of years there comes at last the time when without these theories certain discoveries of crucial importance could never have been made. Some problem arises which cannot be solved unless such theories are known to the people concerned. It is not so much that these predeveloped theories can be directly applied to the problem. Rather, they serve to guide the mind in its working so that it hits upon the theory which the specific problem requires. Without the guidance of the speculative system the mind would simply flounder and get nowhere.
In order to seek knowledge or any other good
thing intelligently, two things are needed. One is the guiding idea variously called the hunch, the theory, the intuition, the insight, the suggestioni the clue, the lead. The other is a method by which to test and apply the idea so that it will yield knowledge or whatever else is sought. Of these two needs the more important, because most difficult to attain, Is the guiding idea. Without It nothing can be done except to flounder about. And yet there is no reliable method by which to make the mind yield up an illuminating Idea when it is needed. Sometimes the required idea comes to the mind and sometimes it does not, and there is no sure way of making it come. Some minds, however, seem to produce such ideas much more readily and abundantly thanothers. An individual having such a mind is called a genius. We call him genius because we do not know how to make
mind function that way. A man either has that kind of a mind or he has -not, and that is all there is to it. Yet these guiding, illuminating ideas are the most precious creations of the human mind, for without them we can get nowhere.
Because these original ideas are so precious we must conserve them. We must conserve them even when we see no use for them. That is the reason speculative systems of theory are so valuable. They conserve original and illuminating ideas so that they can be perpetuated and ac-
cumulated through the centuries and thus provide each generation with an arsenal of theoretical weapons which can be drawn upon in time of need. A mere jumble of original ideas is of no importance. An insane man can produce that. The ideas must be systematized according to the principles of reason. Hence a traditional and growing system of theory is of supreme value. But, like everything of great value, when it is misused it becomes one of the greatest of evils. The misuse of such a system of theory consists in believing it to be true without subjecting it to the only method by which the truth of a theory can be ascertained.
We have said that the creation of novel and valuable ideas by the mind is a mark of genius, because it cannot be cultivated or acquired. But that is not altogether true. While some minds seem to be much more highly endowed than others in this respect, something can be done about it. Any man can improve his mind somewhat in this respect. Two things can be done. We have already suggested them. One is to master as much as possible some traditional system of theory. When the mind is under the control of such a system of theory, it is much more likely to bring forth helpful suggestions in time of need, provided, of course, that the system of theory which dominates the mind has any relevance at all to the problem. A very simple illustration of this is the case of mathematics. The
multiplication table is a system of theory. He who has mastered it will be able to think of many helpful suggestions in a pinch which a man not acquainted with it could never imagine.
The second thing that can be done to promote the creative imagination so that guiding suggestions will arise in the mind in the face of difficult problems is that method of solving problems which was described in the first chapter and which was called worshipful problem-solving.
WHAT IS SCIENTIFIC METHOD?
But what we wish chiefly to discuss here is not the method of cultivating the creative imagination, but, rather, the method of testing the guiding idea after the creative imagination has produced it. This method has no satisfactory title. It is sometimes called the scientific method or again the experimental method. Some call it the method -of reason and others the empirical method, although the rational and empirical methods are sometimes so interpreted as to be put in contrast to one another.
The chief objection to calling it the scientific method is that many people immediately think of the techniques of physics and chemistry whenever reference is made to scientific method. When they hear anyone speak of scientific method, they automatically utter the words "test tube" and "physical laboratory." Of course one can limit scientific method to the techniques
of these particular sciences and exclude all the other sciences. There is no law against using the word in that restricted sense. But it is very plain that the method by which any idea must be tested to ascertain what measure of truth it has, cannot be limited to the techniques of these two sciences. If this is the only proper use of the term "scientific method" we must get some other word to designate the basic principles of method by which any belief or theory whatsoever must be tested.
The objection to "experimental method" is similar. Experiment connotes to many minds the very restricted experiments which must be performed under laboratory conditions. That would exclude, for example, the method by which we learn how to tie a bow tie while peering into a mirror. Yet one certainly must experiment if he is to learn with any intelligence how to tie his cravat while facing a mirror. So likewise with innumerable other problems of everyday life and of extraordinary life. Yet if one insists that experimental method applies only to the techniques of certain special sciences, then there is nothing far it but to abandon the term and invent another to refer to the method we have in mind.
The objection to calling this method the method of reason is that reason means to many people the building up of propositions with logical consistency, but without any attempt to test them by observation through the senses or
by physical operations of any sort. But the method by which truth is reached in any department of life, in the sciences, in moral conduct, in religion, in social relations of friendship or anywhere else, most emphatically is not purely a matter of armchair speculation. Meditation and logical consistency most certainly are necessary, but they are not sufficient. The actual doing of things, and observation of what happens when things are done, are likewise indispensable. Where such behavior and such observation are lacking there can be no knowledge, for without them it is impossible to distinguish between those ideas that are true and those that are not. And this applies to all discovery of values and orders -of value quite as much as it applies to physics and chemistry. Gandhi, for example, is this day trying to bring to light that order of highest value in which human life can have any part. But he could never throw any light upon the problem of values to be sought and attained in human life if he did not do something. It is true that there is a division of labor in this matter, some men taking over more of the active side of the undertaking and others more the thinking side. But there must be both if there is to be any truth or any intelligence in the search for any good thing which possibility and existence may have to offer.
This method by which all good things must be sought when they are sought intelligently, which
we can leave unnamed in order not to offend or cause misunderstanding, but which has been called the scientific method, the experimental method, and the method of reason-this method can be analyzed into four steps.
(1) Forming an idea of what course of action will produce specified consequences by observing various consequences that have issued from specified conditions. This first step is the most difficult of all. It is here that the greatest genius is displayed, not only in religion, but in the sciences and in every branch of life where aiscovery is demanded. The great religious personalities of history are they who have made most illuminating suggestions concerning what course of action will lead to the highest values. It might be said that all genius consists in hitting on these suggestions, whether in religion or government or science or art or wherever it be. The life and teachings of Jesus constitute such a suggestion.
(2) Ascertain as accurately as possible just what are the conditions under which this course of action can be profitably followed to produce the desired and anticipated consequences.
(3) Find or create these conditions, perform the course of action, and observe what happens.
(4) Develop by logical inference what further to expect in the light of what has been observed to happen and test these inferences just as the original idea was tested, namely, by steps one,
two, and three just described. These further operations and observations should include negative cases, that is, cases in which the absence of certain conditions brings about the absence of specified consequences.
There is one prerequisite, however, which must always be observed in trying to apply this method. He who applies the method should be one who is most familiar with the field in which the investigation is made. He who searches out that phase of the order leading to greatest value which appears in politics should be an experienced politician. He who would do the same in business must be an experienced business man. He who would apply it to the problems of love and marriage, children and the home, must be struggling with such problems. So in every walk of life.
EXPERIENCE IS NOT KNOWLEDGE
Why cannot this method be called the empirical method? Certainly that is as good a name for it as any and there are many who so refer to it. But the chief reason why we must be on our guard in calling it the empirical method is because this leads to the most disastrous, misunderstanding of all. The great confusion and misunderstanding that has arisen through the use of this term is all the more dangerous because it, is hidden. The hidden evil is revealed when people who object strenuously to applying the scientific
or experimental or rational method to moral and spiritual interests are quite ready to accept what they call the "empirical method." But the reason they are willing to accept it Is because they mean something wholly different from the method designated by the other terms mentioned.
The empirical method, when used in religious circles, has frequently meant the method described and defended by Canon Streeter in his Reality as the way to achieve knowledge of the realm of value and especially of matters that concern religion. But this is something totally different from the fourfold method we have described. It is based on the assumption that the quality of my experience reveals the nature of the thing I am experiencing. This is not correct. The fact that I experience a certain quality is no evidence at all that the quality I experience pertains to what I think it pertains to. Whether the quality I experience is the quality of "Reality" must be ascertained by the proper method, but the mere fact that I have the experience proves nothing at all. If I experience ecstasy when I hold a gold brick in my hand, the quality of my experience is no evidence at all that the brick is genuine gold. If I have been taught from earliest infancy to react to the figure of Jesus with awe and reverence and even ecstasy, the quality of my experience is no evidence that Jesus, reveals the uttermost nature of "Reality."
Often the "empirical method" as defended by exponents of religion has rested on the claim that when we experience anything we have knowledge of it sImply because we experience it. But experience does not yield knowledge at all unless it Is subjected to the right method. The method of getting knowledge, therefore, must not be identified merely with experiencing the matter in question. The method is not the experience. The method is the way we deal with the experience. If I experience good health, I do not therefore know what good health is. The doctor may know far more about what good health is, than I, although he may be a sickly man while I am exuberantly healthy. Furthermore, he never has that Immediate and intimate experience of my good health which I have, even though he may have intimate experience of his own health. But this intimate experience of mine gives no knowledge at all unless it is subjected to the right method.
One may reply that my Intimate experience of good health certainly gives me one kind of knowledge that the doctor and no one else can have of my own personal good health. This esoteric knowledge of my own good health which I alone can have, so it is claimed, Is the knowledge of how it feels. But even this is a mistake. I do not know how my own good health feels unless I apply that method by which all knowledge is gained. My intimate experience of my own
health gives me no advantage at all unless I make use of this same method which all may use. I have access to experience which no one else has, therefore, if I apply the right method, I may obtain knowledge of my own health that no one else can gain. But the mere fact that I am experiencing my health as no one else can experience it, will never give me this knowledge unless I use this method. For example, suppose a man has had excellent health all his life. He does not on that account know how good health feels, for he may never have distinguished from all his other feelings that one particular kind of feeling which represents good health and therefore does not know the distinctive quality of experience which is the feeling of health. Nevertheless, he has the feeling. It is an undiscriminated part or quality of his total experience, like a man's color blindness, of which he may be wholly ignorant. A healthy man will sometimes think he is sick, which proves our point. When he examines his feelings, he may be unable to distinguish from his total mass of feelings that particular feeling which is the feeling of health. It may be found by the right method, but until a man has been sick he has no standard of comparison by which to discriminate the particular feeling of good health.
The significance of this illustration of the feeling of health is that it reveals the fallacy of all claims that knowledge springs from expe-
rience without regard to any method other than having the experience. Stupidity is an experience, but the man who experiences stupidity may not know nearly so much about it as a man who is not stupid. Insanity is an experience, but the insane man does not necessarily know what insanity is nor even know that he is experiencing it. The good man experiences goodness? but he may not know that he is having the experience of being a good man because he may not know his own goodness. An evil man experiences his own evil, but he may think he is good. A strong man often does not know his own strength nor a weak man his weakness. Hence a man may experience what he does not know.
Experience does not yield knowledge although no knowledge can be had without experience. Experience is to knowledge as soil is to food. We can never have any food except by deriving it from the soil, directly or indirectly. We can never have any knowledge except by deriving it from experience, directly or indirectly. But the man who thinks all he needs to nourish him is soil will starve to death, and the man who thinks that all he needs for correct knowledge is experience will surely be engulfed in illusions. Illusions are just as much experience as anything else, but they do not yield knowledge unless the right method is applied to them. The right method, we believe, is the fourfold method described above.
SCIENTIFIC METHOD IN RELIGION
Religion has no way of attaining knowledge of God or of anything else save the method we have been describing, whether one calls it scientific or gives it some other name. There is no "religious experience" which can give knowledge to the man that has such experience unless he subjects it to this same method. There is no esoteric religious method of getting knowledge.
Some of the critics of religion, and perhaps even more of its defenders, have said that if religion has no peculiar access to knowledge of reality other than that which the scientific method provides, it becomes superfluous. It has no unique contribution to ofter. The sciences can do the work that it has claimed to do much better than it has ever done. Therefore it is sawing away the only limb that supports it when it gives up any claim to knowledge over and above what can be gotten by the scientific method. Such an assertion we deny.
To make such a claim as that is as foolish as to say that since morality is now making use of the scientific method as once it did not, morality has become superfluous and can be abandoned, the sciences taking the place of morality. Or one might say that since political activity is now trying to apply the scientific method as once it did not, all political organization becomes superfluous. It ceases to have any unique function
to fulfill in life. Or it can be said that education is using the scientific method, or beginning to try to do so, but that when it does, it will cease to have any distinctive work to do. The fallacy is manifest. There are many different functions of human living, all equally essential. When a function of life begins to employ the scientific method, it does not thereby cease to exist as a distinctive function. It has simply begun to use a more efficient method for testing the truth of the beliefs which it must use in doing its own distinctive work.
Furthermore, it is an error to think that morality and religion, politics, education, and the other major interests of life never made use of the method described until recent times. To be sure, this method when used in other times may never have been called scientific until the sciences arose. Also it may never have been clearly defined and distinguished from mistaken methods. But in so far as any reliable knowledge was ever attained, long before the special sciences arose, this method was employed in morality, religion, education, politics, and elsewhere. It was doubtless applied in a slipshod manner, and it was mixed with much that was mistaken or purely superfluous. Doubtless today, since this method has been defined and is recognized as the only right method, all these interests use it more rigorously and exclusively than ever before. But it has been used in some
crude fashion since men first began to acquire any knowledge at all.
If religion is limited to the method described for all the knowledge it can get, does it follow that he who is deeply religious can know nothing save what others likewise know? No, that does not follow. The fact that the religious man must use the same method as the unreligious man does not at all imply that the knowledge which the religious man has is limited to the same boundaries as the knowledge of the unreligious man. The use of the method described in no way prescribes the kind of knowledge that is gotten by means of it. It only shows the way to get any kind of knowledge whatsoever. But the kind of knowledge we get depends on what we investigate. And what we investigate is determined by what arouses our interest. He who uses this method in physics will not discover the same facts as he who uses it in chemistry. He who uses it in biology,or polities or friendship or education will in each case get different knowledge from the others, because he is investigating diff erent data. So, also, when this method is used under the control of the religious interest, it will bring to light facts which cannot be found in other fields of investigation. He who uses this method -to search out the order that includes and leads to the greatest values will certainly discover facts, if he discovers anything at all, which will be very different from what another
discovers who applies the same method to totally different matters.
The religious man has access to phases of experience which the unreligious. man can never know, not because he uses a different method of gaining knowledge, but because he has an interest which makes him receptive and responsive to phases of existence and possibility for which the unreligious man has no sensitivity. This r6le of personal attitude in gaining access to data relevant to some problem is not peculiar to religion. A friend will gain knowledge about the person for whom he has affection which another cannot gain, because he will detect and elicit data which the other cannot detect and cannot elicit. A man who is interested in flowers will discover facts about them which a man not interested will not discover. A man interested in dogs or horses or chemical reactions has access to data which another without that interest can never reach. This is partly because his attention is focused in the required direction as the other's is not. It is also because he will do things toward the object of interest which the other man would never do, and thus elicit reactions which reveal the nature of the flower or chemical compound or dog or friend or whatever may be that aspect of reality under consideration.
This peculiar access to knowledge of reality which the interested man has and the uninter-
ested has not, is not merely due to high proficiency in operating the special technique which that aspect of reality may require. Mere technical expertness is not enough. Neither is it due solely to curiosity. One may have intense curiosity, but if he does not find delight in doing the things which elicit the revealing reactions from the subject matter under consideration, he will not gain the knowledge which another would gain concerning it. A man may be very curious about chemistry, but if he does not find the chief joy of his life in fooling with chemical compounds, he will not gain the knowledge of chemistry which another will gain who does find greatest joy in that. So also the man who loves dogs or flowers will gain what might be called an esoteric knowledge of them if the ruling passion of his life consists in reacting to them. That does not mean that mere delight In dealing with an object will give knowledge of it if one does not employ the method by which alone knowledge can be attained. All the ecstasy in the world which one may experience in dealing with an object will give him no knowledge of it, but may, rather, intensify his illusions concerning it, if he does not use the method which yields knowledge. But the method which yields knowledge will yield a depth and range of knowledge, an esoteric knowledge, in the hands of him who is passionately devoted to the object under consideration, which cannot be gotten by another
using the same method who does not have this attitude of intense interest.
All this applies to the object of religious nything else. Mere devotion as much as to a passionate devotion will yield no knowledge at all and may lead to fantastic illusions. But when passionate devotion is combined with the most rigorous use of the very best methods of eliciting and detecting relevant data, of verifying theories and correcting errors, then the religious man will acquire knowledge of that order of existence and possibility to which he is devoted that another man cannot acquire. Therefore the religious individual or group, providing the rightful method Of seeking knowledge is used, will attain a depth and scope of knowledge concerning the object of devotion which is wholly out of the reach of any other. Also, in addition to knowledge, they will gain a wealth of experience of this object which is not knowledge, but is equally precious. In case of the best religion, which we have called high religion, this object is tfiat order of existence and possibility which provides the highest values which can be actualized relative to existent conditions.
THE KNOWLEDGE OF GOD
It must not be thought that this knowledge of God, because it must be sought and achieved by the method described, is necessarily limited to men of unusual intellectual attainments. All
knowledge is attained by this method, but all knowledge is not limited to unusual people. The commonest sort of people have knowledge of dogs and flowers and their own children which they get by this method, although they do not necessarily call it scientific or distinguish it as a special method of any sort. Knowledge with the specialized sciences can be brought to light only by a very complex and highly artificial technique. Hence only experts can employ it. But there is other knowledge equally precious and rare which is difficult not because of an elaborate technique that is demanded, but because of an attitude and interest which are uncommon. Without this interest and attitude the relevant data cannot be elicited and detected. There are data concerning trees and flowers and children and men and women which can be gotten only when the searcher has a very intense and special kind of interest.
There are, in fact, three kinds of knowledge which can be gotten by meansof this method we are considering, which one may refuse to call the scientific method, but which ought to have some name. These three kinds of knowledge are distinguished by the kind of data to which the method is applied. It is this difference in data~ by the way, which also distinguishes the several sciences even when they all make use of the same basic principles of method. These three kinds of knowledge are: (1) the knowledge which goes
to make up the several sciences; (2) the knowledge called common sense; (3) the most rare and precious knowledge which simple folk seek and find by reason of their loving devotion to the object under investigation. Let us illustrate these three kinds of knowledge by a special case.
Here is a small boy. We can gather knowledge about him by means of the several sciences. The physicist, either professional or amateur, can tell us his size and weight, the electrical reactions of his body, and many other valuable bits of information. The biologist can describe him as a system of biological functions. The psychologist, according to the school of psychology to which he belongs, will give us some more specialized knowledge concerning abstract aspects of the boy. Finally, the sociologist will tell us the sociological principles exemplified in the boy's conduct with respect to the "gang," his home, the school, and so forth.
But all this knowledge, however valuable, is not sufficient to enable anyone to take proper care of the child. If he were never fed until scientifically accurate knowledge had been obtained each time concerning just what kind and quality of food he most neededon this particular occasion; if he were never warmed or sheltered until all relevant knowledge of the sciences involved had been in each case gathered; if he were -not pulled from in front of the automobile until all physical principles had been firmly estab-
lished concerning the necessary stresses and strains, the boy would die.
There is a kind of common-sense knowledge indispensable to the care of a child, and every good nurse is master of it. It is gathered by developing asystem, of ideas through noting conditions and consequences. When certain conditions arise, anyone equipped with this system of ideas which we call common sense knows what the child needs and will act accordingly. Anyone at all good in caring for a child will have developed such a system of guiding ideas according to the fourfold method previously described which, for lack of a better name, we call the scientific method. He will have done it even though he may never know that scientific method is the name for it. But one thing is certain: the old notion that the "intuition of mother instinct" is sufficient, is a fallacy. If the mother or any other trusts to "intuitions" and "inspirations" without regard to the conditions, and the consequences which ensue, the child will surely die. Many a child has thus been slaughtered in love.
But there is another kind of knowledgeof the child which is -neither that of the sciences nor that of common sense. For common sense the child is an urchin to be fed and clothed and spanked as needed. But to the eyes of love he is a personality with whom to establish a profound community through communication and mutual understanding. How is this knowledge called
community or mutual understanding to be attained? By going into raptures over the child? By being filled with emotion? Do we get it by "inner experience"? Do we need simply to follow the dictates of the heart without regard to the data of observation? No, indeed. There are parents who love in this blind and fatuous manner and think that "deep experiences" give them knowledge of the mind of the child. But they are mistaken. Their love is blind. They do not achieve any mutual understanding with the personality of the child. They do not elicit his personality. They only know an idealized figure, a construction of their own fond imagination. Many a stranger more,observant than they could tell them things about the mind of that child which they have never dreamed and which it is urgently important that they know. Yet they never come to know. Why? Because they do not employ the method previously described by which all knowledge must be sought and found. They trust to their "Intuitions" and to their "deep inner experience," to the dictates of the heart unchecked by attentive and tender and never-failing observation of conditions and consequences.
How does the wise and observant and loving mother come to know the mind of her child? By the same method, used by the scientist and the nurse, of common sense-by observing conditions, acting experimentally (which includes
speaking) and observing the consequences. How, then, is her knowledge so different from theirs? Because she has access to different data. She looks at the child through the eyes of love. Her whole personality is tuned and set to respond to the slightest stimulus emanating from the child. She catches the slightest change in the tone of his voice. The swiftest tensing of the muscles of his face strikes her soul. A gleam, a movement, a touch of the hand, a stir of the body--they all are hers. And then--she ponders these many things in her heart. She ponders these many things until at last the personality of her child grows upon her.
She has noted what reactions occur when she says or does certain things under certain conditions. She has made her inferences and then acted or spoken further and noted the further consequences. Furthermore, the child directs his reactions to her. He opens up to her as a flower to the sun. She has access, we say, to data which no other can have. These data will teach her nothing if she rherely receives them as stimuli for arousing her emotions and giving her a "deep" inner experience. These experiences may be very delightful, even ecstatic. They may give her joy and peace and deep contentment with her lot. But she will never know the personality of her child, and will probably ruin him, heart, mind, and body, unless she notes what causes him to react this way rather than
that, and what follows further after these initial reactions. If she does not use the method described, she will never attain that community of mind which is the most precious knowledge of the child, although she may experience raptures within her own soul, the while her child goes to the devil.
Here, then, we have the three kinds of knowledge-that of the sciences, that of common sense, and that of love. All must be obtained by the same basic principles of method. They differ because of the difference in data with which they deal. Physics has its peculiar data and so do biology and sociology. Common sense has still other data. But the loving heart finds vast richness of concrete data which are quite inaccessible to the sciences and to common sense. Out of these data it may build itself a mansion of knowledge in which two personalities may, dwell together in mutual understanding. But it cannot do this if it does not use the right method, no matter how great the love, no matter how richly concrete the data, no matter how exalted the inner experience.
These three kinds of knowledge, that of the special sciences, that of common sense and that of loving devotion, must be obtained by the same basic principles of method, we have said. This method consists in acting experimentally upon certain interconnections of events until we have established a system of connections between
events so that we can act in such a way as to get certain desired consequences. But in the sciences this method has achieved a triumphant fulfillment far beyond anything found at the levels of common sense and devotion. That is to say, we have applied the method in the sciences in such a way as to establish a system of connections vastly greater in scope, accuracy and communicability than has ever been done at the levels of common sense and devotion. By communicability we mean that the system of operations can be taught to others.
Why have we not developed such scope, accuracy, and communicability at the devotional level? There are several reasons. One is that the devotional level has such rich, qualitative fullness of experience, such richness of value, that the complexity has thus far baffled our infant science. Consequently, we have no system of operations which can guide us in cultivating a friendship that can compare with the accuracy, scope, and communicability of the system which guides us in building a bridge. Another obstacle has been the refusal of men to admit that this experimental or scientific method can be applied at this level. If men can be induced to recognize that at this level of richest experienced values the same basic principles of operational method must be applied as in physics, with whatever modification may be required by the different data involved, then the way will be open to in-
crease indefinitely, the accuracy, scope, and communicability of the operations by which we seek and find these richest values of life.
Scientific method in religion means precisely the endeavor to develop such a system of operations by means of experimental efforts. There is not much hope of doing this as long as certain traditional misconceptions distort the judgment and divert the energies of religious people. These misconceptions pertain to religion, to science, toscientific method, to value, to knowledge and how itis obtained, to reality, to God. There is crying need for thinkers who are competent to clear away these misconceptions and thus set free from enslavement, and release into this great enterprise, the intelligence and total resources of religious and potentially religious people. Only if these misconceptions are cleared away is it possible to undertake with some hope of success the great search of man for that order of existence and possibility by which alone we can ever hope to increase and to secure to the utmost the richest values of life.
We can make bridges with marvelous skill. But we still bungle our attempts at friendships, creative association, education, wsthetic appreciation, political organization, and economic justice. To find God, as we are using the term, is to find that order, as yet in great part an undiscovered possibility in the realm of essence, which will enable us, when we rightly adjust to
it--to achieve these richest values in greater measure and regularity than now. God is not merely possibility. He is also partly existential. The order of God includes certain possibilities and certain features of existence.
In the meantime, while scientific method in religion lags, simple and devoted souls discover what others cannot see, not because of any magic, not because of anything supernatural, not because of some organ of the soul peculiar to themselves, not because of some strange kind of intuition, but simply because they are sensitized by love and note what happens under certain conditions when they do and say certain things. They perceive through the same identical senses through which we perceive. Furthermore, they perceive and get their data through the external senses, not through any kind of internal sense, except, of course, the ordinary kin.Tsthetic and other interoceptive organs of the human organism, the same as we. Having hearts more quick than the rest, they discern what others do not. But there is no magic in this save the magic of loving devotion. Their way of knowing is the way of all flesh. They are very simple and very naive and merely open their eyes to all the world as a child might do if he were sufficiently mature, and had a heart of love. They are very, very simple, these saints, almost absurdly simple. They are generally considered fools, for they seek that
which in the light of our established order of existence is folly. They are not necessarily equipped with great learning nor with great intellects.
Observation of the conditions and consequences: of the ever-repeated attempts of men through the ages to find the good life which is supremely good seems to make one fact plain. This supreme good can be attained only as men share their experiences, their visions, their techniques, their materials, their insights, their discoveries. Only through communication, through the stimulating interchange of ideas and inventions and through deep community of heart and mind do the Orient gates unlock to spacious days that dawn. It is this that saints and sages see with simple and devoted hearts. We must develop a system of operations to achieve it more widely and enduringly.