Different Ways Of Knowing
We human beings have many ways of knowing what we need to know in order to get through our lives. One way of knowing things is to engage in a course of study in an academic environment. Another way of knowing things is simply to go through the experiences that come our way, making a conscious effort to learn from them. A third way in which people gain knowledge is through the vehicle of intuition, a gift some have more than others, but which can be developed in anyone. No one way of knowing things is better than another way, and they can all be useful at different points in our lives.
Most of us naturally gravitate toward one way of knowing over others, and this tends to be clear early in our lives. For the most part, we live in a culture that values a logical, mental approach to knowing things, so those with intuitive gifts may have been shamed, undervalued, or misunderstood in our ways. Many of us are working our way out of this incorrect value judgment, recognizing that our intuition, far from being wrong or untrustworthy, is a great gift. For those of us who conduct our learning in the thick of our life experiences, we may also have to make an extra effort to remind ourselves that our particular intelligence—often called common sense–while not always officially rewarded, has its own special genius.
Even though, in a given time or place, certain types of intelligence tend to be valued more than others, no way of knowing is inherently better than another. Once we understand this, we can value our own intelligence, as well as the different intelligences of the people we encounter. Sometimes, just understanding that we are coming at the same issue in different ways helps us to avoid an unnecessary conflict. When we value all ways of knowing equally, we benefit not only from what we have learned, and how we have learned it, but from all the other forms of intelligence we are open to honoring.