There are many "ways of knowing," but there are more systematic ways
and less systematic ways. The more systematic ways involve the confident
expectation that in well-defined situations well-defined observations can,
be made. The belief that Nature is orderly has grown upon us since Chal
dean shepherds watched the stars and Stonehenge architects pointed their
shafts at the returning sun. Among the family of the ways of knowing --
the poetic, the prophetic, the mystic, the heuristic -- the ways of science
have grown upon us since Galileo and Harvey, since Newton and Darwin,
Planck and Einstein. And in every sphere of knowledge called scientific
the generalized realities, the scientific laws to which a uniform and explicit
method has given rise, become the firm foundation for a society ever more
insistent regarding the ultimate regularity of the events among which man
must thread his way to an inscrutable future. He may indeed create chaos,
but the laws of Nature thus misapplied are nevertheless laws before which
he must tremble. If there is to be a benign application of science, it must
depend upon discovery and utilization of the orderliness of Nature.
Now repetition is not the only hallmark of science. There are unique events in the history of the stars and the history of life on this planet and, of course, in the history of each of us as individual human beings. The uniqueness must be honored and its internal structure and external
Reprinted from the Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research, volume 65 ( 1971), pp. 3-16, by permission of the editor and author.
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Publication information: Book title: Philosophy and Parapsychology. Contributors: Jan Ludwig - Editor. Publisher: Prometheus Books. Place of publication: Buffalo, NY. Publication year: 1978. Page number: 270.