Volume I Article I
When approaching any field of study, be it religious or secular, one must get rid of any predispositions he may have had. He must have an open mind and not be frayed by the general concepts and biases he once lived by. Only then, can he study the subject as purely as a child who learns the alphabet for the first time.
When a child learns the Alphabet, he is amazed, perplexed, challenged, captivated, and intrigued. “Why does A come first?” He may ask. A basic question challenging the fundamental understanding of what the Alphabet is. A question, that neither you nor I in our current capacity would even think to ask when reciting the Alphabet in our minds. An open mind leads to intrigue, and arouses questions previously hidden to us. Questioning, is how we accomplish learning.
Learning is a process humans go through unwillingly. We learn basic human actions. We learn to speak, to dress ourselves, feed ourselves, and eventually do everything we need to do to function. Concepts, however, work another way. A person can choose to remain ignorant from certain subjects. He can refuse to learn ideas and topics of which he wishes to refrain from. The only problem is when he begins to think that anything he is not privy to does not exist. In reality, nothing is further from the truth. That is the beauty of truth itself.
“You must accept the truth from whatever source it comes” – Maimonides.
Truth is the only concept in knowledge that is definite. World renowned astrophysicist, Neil deGrasse Tyson was quoted saying “The good thing about science, is that it is true whether you believe it or not.” Without getting into that particular argument, lets break down this statement and alter it a little. “The good part about the truth is that it is true whether it is known or not.” Ideas that are accepted today as true weren’t always. A commonly used example is that the Earth is round. Although not always believed, that fact always remained, that the world was indeed round all this time. Truth isn’t affected by the opinions of people. Truth remains, and it is for us to seek it out.
“The same is the case with those opinions of man to which he has been accustomed from his youth; he likes them, defends them, and shuns the opposite views.” - Maimonides
One of the greatest flaws of humans (for an intellectual pursuit) is our constant desire for security. We learn something in our youth and it is then forever engraved in our minds as not only true, but as a fundamental of life itself. We then grow up comfortable with life through these ideas, and defend them as if our whole world was held together by the actuality of a particular concept. Anything that challenges these concepts is viewed as an attack on our mind’s current state of security. If we grow comfortable with thoughts and ideas we would never progress. To honestly learn, one must be willing to understand that what he once held as true can no longer be. Abandoning what is false and moving on in life with what he has acquired to be true.
In order to study, we must have the proper minds for it. We have to think openly and freely. We have to allow our minds to see the hidden and question what we take for granted. We must understand truth, its permanents and its completion. We cannot be held down and held back but what we already believe, we must be progressive. Once we have all this, we can begin our journey in hopes to understand our desired topic of learning.