Paths To Knowledge (dot Science)

What is actually real in Objective Reality? How do you know? Now, prove it's real!

Learning to think for yourself means getting outside of your box of known knowns, known unknowns, unknown knows and unknown unknowns and explore the possibilities beyond the options

Posted by pwl on November 6, 2009

The Ontology of Being

“It’s to give people an opportunity to think for themselves… what happens is that most of us think that our very strongly held beliefs, you know those things we hold, our opinions, that are very strong, we think that that is thinking for ourselves but it isn’t really. The ability to think for yourself really means the ability to think something that you haven’t thought before. To think outside the allowable range of thoughts rather than just inside the allowable range of thoughts.” – Werner Erhard, TV Interview

Learn to think for yourself out side of your allowable range of thoughts and especially outside the cage of your beliefs and opinions.

The Known Knowns.
The Known Unknowns.
The Unknown Knowns.
The Unknown Unknowns.

“There are known knowns. These are things we know that we know. There are known unknowns. That is to say, there are things that we now know we don’t know. But there are also unknown unknowns. These are things we do not know we don’t know.” – quote popularized globally by Donald Rumsfeld in justification of mass murder; quote popularized by Werner Erhard in the 1970’s and 80’s to make the world a better place one person at a time.

During the 1970’s and 1980’s Werner Ehard’s est Training Program used this quote (or a variant thereof that covers all four possibilities, known knowns, known unknowns, unknown knowns, unknown unknowns) as a part of the course material. Landmark Education’s The Landmark Forum course also uses it. One point of using it is to help people see the limits of their knowledge and the edges of the metaphorical box they live in. Where are our blind spots when it comes to our knowledge or lack there of? What are the risks of ignorance? The exploration of these four domains would be extensive and take many hours of these courses.

Ontological Advertisement [:)]

Where does the house go?

The Ontology of Being, a perspective outside the box by xkcd. Remember to become an Organ Donner when you’re done with your organs! Make a difference after you’re dead! Well, make a difference before you’re dead too, but make your death count for someone else while you’re at it! [:)]

Werner on Common Sense.

“Creativity is a matter of seeing possibility beyond the options.” – Werner Erhard, Interview with Charley Rose


Our language, the way we speak, shows up in three different ways.

The first is “talking about.” In “talking about,” our commitment is to describe, report, or explain situations or events. Such talk, however, seems to have no impact on the thing it represents. For instance, talking about tennis in the clubhouse after the game doesn’t seem to affect anyone’s performance on the court.

Another kind of talking is that which evokes. Its commitment is distinct from using words to represent. Poetry, for example, never simply talks about something. Rather, it brings something present. Poetry can bring sadness into our immediate experience, or joy, or wonder; in the presence of such experience, we are moved.

While speaking that evokes seems to have more impact than speaking that represents, the “you” that it addresses is the same “you” that was present before. Neither evocative speaking nor representative speaking has the power to reach down into being and alter the possibilities that you have, or more importantly, to alter the possibility that you are.

There is, however, a kind of speaking that does alter being. It profoundly expresses what it is to be human. It speaks possibility itself, neither merely representing it nor even evoking it. Rather, it brings forth the possibility that it speaks, in the very act of speaking it. Such speaking has a direct and lasting impact; in the very act of speaking, it alters the course of events.


Although most of us seldom think about it, the kind of talking that reaches down into being and alters what is possible, deeply affects our lives. For example, the truth that all men are created equal did not exist before the creation and signing of the Declaration of Independence in 1776. At that time, there was no evidence for the equality of men. It was a truth brought forth in the declaration alone. In the act of speaking – in the authors’ willingness to give themselves over to the possibility, to stand fully for their creation – an equality that had before been impossible, was born. Two hundred years later, in the space of that declaration, we are still exploring the possibility of equality and discovering its implications as they extend to all humankind. Once you have heard what the Declaration of Independence had to say – not as a representation, not even just to be in the presence of it, but as a clearing for the possibility that it is – then what you can think and feel and see is altered. Your actions are altered. Who you are has taken on a new meaning.

The work of transformation springs from a commitment to this particular kind of being, this kind of speaking, listening, feeling and thinking. This is a distinct way of being with life. Transformation does not merely change our actions, does not merely give us new options from which to choose. Rather it uncovers the structures of being and interpretation on which we are grounded, often unaware of our grounding in them. This is the work of transformation: this revealing of ourselves to ourselves, which occurs in a profound way that alters the very possibility of being that we are: Inescapably. Decisively. Forever. ”

Werner Erhard, Heart, 1984.

Werner Erhard on Heidegger

“As if of it’s own accord, Heidegger says, it can take care that that undefinable something not only does not slip away but displays it’s gathering force ever more luminously in the dialog. That is the methodology of the [est] seminar. That is the methodology of transformation. Not a definition. Not a description. Not a narrative. Not a story. Not an understanding. Not information. But what ever it is that he is speaking about that says ‘displays it’s gathering force ever more luminously in the course of the dialog.’ And he doesn’t mean display as in something to look at but rather something to be.”

Werner Erhard Discusses Context

“One thing you’ve got absolute control over in your life… is the context of your life. … See It’s not what you think that affects the quality of your life it’s the space in which you think, [the context in which you think] it’s what you could think. If your box is this big you can’t think outside the box.” – Werner Erhard

Werner Erhard – A You and Me World.

Stephen Hawking and Werner Erhard’s Physics Conferences

Transformation: The Life & Legacy of Werner Erhard

Werner Erhard on the est Training

How to make the world work? Buckmister Fuller and Werner Erhard

Do your own thinking.

“What do my experiences teach me that need to be done which if not done will find society in great trouble. … You have to do your own thinking.” – Buckminster Fuller

Buckminster Fuller on “Integrity”

What is Science?

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8 Responses to “Learning to think for yourself means getting outside of your box of known knowns, known unknowns, unknown knows and unknown unknowns and explore the possibilities beyond the options”

  1. Interesting…
    But by knowing that we don’t know, we have taken a step to knowing it.
    And yes, I agree, people need to think outside the box that they have built for themselves.
    I think we would get along very very well my friend.

    –Kyran Luhrs, Founder of The Ivory Tower

  2. pwl said

    Hi Kyran,

    “Philosophy is my passion, and it is a quickly disappearing art. My goal in life is to bring it back into general society.” – Kyran Luhrs, The Ivory Tower.

    Indeed my friend!

    I’ve never met anyone else like the context paradigm sifting Werner Erhard. I was fortunate to spend time observing him lead the last four day Landmark Forum where he trained the fifty or so Forum Leaders to lead the newer one weekend three day format. Between the breaks when the five hundred or so participants in The Forum left the room Werner and the other forum leaders would talk. It was the most fascinating conversations that I’ve ever been part of and not just the parts about the design of the forum itself and why it worked and what didn’t work and how to fix it and what could be chopped out and what was essential for results, but the manner in which they conversed was rooted deeply in the philosophical methods of The Ontology of Being.

    All the best,


  3. Yes, I think that the main problem with society today is simply ignorance. No one wants to think about opposing points of view, no one wants to practice philosophy.
    I think that what the world needs today is another Renaissance, another period of scientific and philosophical growth, because society has grown stagnant.
    People are just shouting old ideas, and no one is listening to the new ones.
    I have a sort of a master plan to jump start another one.
    This is the first step.
    –Kyran Luhrs

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