Tapestry Institute
  Integrated Ways of Knowing

"And the end of all our exploring Will be to arrive where we started And to know the place for the first time."  Read more ...
-- T.S. Eliot

"There is no logical way to the discovery of these elementary laws. There is only the way of intuition . . ."  Read more...
-- Albert Einstein

"I remember perfectly well the intense satisfaction and delight with which I had listened, by the hour, to Bach's fugues . . . "  Read more ...
-- Thomas Huxley

If it seems to you like all the ways of knowing must be intellectual because they are "done by the brain", you are looking at humans through a particularly Western lens that sees systems as being controlled by a hierarchical pyramid of authority in which the single power at
the top -- president of a corporation, brain of a body, or nucleus of a cell -- ultimately controls all the sublevels. There is a tight connection between knowing and control in this world view, expressed by the adage "knowledge is power." Science fiction stories in which human beings are bodiless brains, or in which brain transplants move an entire personality into a body that serves merely as a housing for the brain, are mythic expressions of this worldview.

The very fact that the writers of such science fiction may be consciously unaware of the myth they're expressing demonstrates that this way of knowing occurs at some other level. You might argue that intuition and the subconscious reside in the neural tissues of the brain, but that still does not explain the visceral power of story. As Arthur Frank writes in "The Wounded Storyteller (p. 23, italics mine), "To think about a story is to reduce it to content and then analyze that content. Thinking with stories takes the story as already complete; there is no going beyond it. To think with a story is to experience it affecting one's own life and to find in that effect a certain truth of one's life." Sometimes those truths simply seep into us in ways we cannot even pinpoint, much less process intellectually.

Western science is often seen as definitive of "real" knowing, and certainly as the epitome of intellectual knowing. However, such a view ignores science's long-standing reliance on experiential data collected by the body's senses as its starting point. Some of the quotes by famous scientists on this and several other pages show you that there are mythic and even spiritual components of scientific knowing as well. It is the integration of all the ways of knowing about a thing that seems to give the truly great scientists their power of understanding. So, too, for all of us.

To explore an example of integrated knowing first-hand, visit Integrated Learning about Tornadoes. Note:  The Tornado link takes you to an older Tapestry webpage that has not yet been reformatted because of its high image content.  Use the return button on your browser to return to this page when you have finished exploring the example.

East Intellectual Ways of Knowing and Learning
Example: Intellectual ways of knowing about Tornadoes
South Experiential Ways of Knowing and Learning
Example: Experiential ways of knowing about Tornadoes
West Spiritual Ways of Knowing and Learning
Example: Spiritual ways of knowing about Tornadoes
North Mythic Ways of Knowing and Learning
Example: Mythic ways of knowing about Tornadoes
Center Integrated Ways of Knowing and Learning
Example: Integrated ways of knowing about Tornadoes



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