Friday, July 8, 2016

UPG and Rational Thought

During the early days of the Germanic Heathen/Asatru re-constructionist movement, circa the 1970's, the term Unverifiable Personal Gnosis, a.k.a. UPG was coined.  It also appeared in one or two books about Wicca.   UPG's can happen when meditating, asleep and dreaming, or just plain everyday daydreaming while picking one's nose.  UPG can be related to those flashes of inspiration and what Christianity would dub as an epiphany.  Christianity wants you to believe  what Emperor Constantine saw in the sky before a battle was "real":  their God wrote a message in the sky - use this sign and you will win the fight.  In the Multiverse, that stuff does  not happen.  It's more likely that Constantine had an alcoholic induced nightmare, a UPG, or if we may say it, an epiphany.  Joan of Arc too, had her UPG's:  she truly believed that her Jesus was talking to her.  While France benefited from her experience, she burned at the stake for it.  That said, UPG is personal and unverified knowledge or possibly just plain wishful thinking, sometimes labeled as MUS (made up shit).  The emphasis must be put on the personal; it deals with a personal experience, regardless of how mystical, that leads to an untested hypothesis.  Is it possible, to "test" a UPG?  Personally I find that highly doubtful.  Let's take a look.  

Deductive and Inductive reasoning are a part of rational thought.  Deductive reasoning gathers up events that are true (can be proven true) and forms a conclusion.  Use this example:  Terry called in sick to work today.  Today Terry's boss took the entire staff out for lunch.  Since Terry was not at work, he missed the free meal.  Too bad for Terry.  

Inductive reasoning gathers up things that are understood/assumed to be true and then arrives at a very specific conclusion.  This type of reasoning is often used in forecasts (like the weather) and human behavior.  However, many times these specifics are merely broad generalizations and are not always accurate (like the weather forecasts and what society deems deviant human behavior based on what is acceptable or not at the moment).  An example:  Terry's dog Jack, an English Setter, was born without his right eye.  Therefore, all English Setters named Jack are born without their right eye.  Another example:  The God of Christianity wrote the Bible.  In the Bible God tells "his people" that he created a special place for non-believers called Hell.  Therefore, if you do not believe in the Christian God, you are going to his special place (not just UPG but MUS).    

UPG's do not stand a chance against Deductive reasoning.  It is possible that if a UPG is measured with Inductive reasoning, it may enjoy a brief "shade" of truth.  However, that "shade of truth" evaporates like morning dew in the hot Texas sun; it may be nothing more than a broad generalization, not provable let alone factual, but enjoyed by a few who find it useful.  

UPG along with MUS have been used concurrently for millennia.  In times of distress, some guy has a "vision."  That vision is then "interpreted" and a good dose of MUS is added to make it easier for the general public to swallow.  I could write 10,000  words (that would just scratch the surface) detailing the last two sentences but I fear it would be a wasted effort.  There should be no Cliffs Notes for this stuff.  Does that mean UPG should be ignored?  

The short line to that question is no.  UPG's are individually and personally unique.  When genuinely experienced, they offer the person a view of something tailored for that individual.  It is gnosis from an unverified source filtered through that particular person's brain - period; it is for that person, not humanity in general.  There is no harm when folks compare their UPG's.  The harm comes when people add MUS to their UPG and decide the message is for everyone.  

                                                     Copyright @2016 Terry Unger

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