The Importance of… Methodicalness
by Anton Jarrod
In this sixth of seven articles concerning the development of the individual or community, I focus on the factor, importance and necessity of methodicalness. In ordinary life, or rather, the life that all are familiar with and with all that is commonplace, the value and importance of methodicalness in certain activities, practices and endeavours is both readily apparent and has been attested through trial and analysis. In the scientific community, the development of the scientific method has allowed humanity to come into contact with a more accurate knowledge and understanding of the realities that are apprehensible through the physical senses. By applying methodicalness to the practice of observation and experiment, as well as analysis and evaluation, a gradual and effective control over certain natural phenomena has helped humanity in its material development and brought it into contact with realities that were hitherto hidden from it. Indeed, in the scientific community, the value of method in achieving knowledge has perhaps emboldened its claims (sometimes) that science alone is the superior means to achieve knowledge about the self and the world.
In the popular imagination, it may seem that, compared to the scientific disciplines, there is a fundamental lack of methodicalness in those realities which are ordinarily understood with the term “religion”, and that because of this (amongst other things) access to knowledge about the self and the world are not offered by them, and the knowledge they would seem to offer cannot be tested or verified methodically, and thus must be inferior. However, this is not quite the case. In some respects, the word “religion” indicates “diligent practice”, and in other respects the traditional religions provide a wide range of practice and ritual which can only, from within a larger perspective, be understood to constitute a subjective science of spiritual realities that is methodical. However, through the separations of language, culture, time and space, and because of a great variety of other factors, the nature of this “spiritual science” is quite obscured, so much that there does not appear to be any homogeneity, singularity of method or purpose, that would be recognizable as so compared to that found in the disciplines related to the physical sciences.
It is not the intention here to provide an outline of comparative religion, or to suggest that all religions and practices are so similar that their differences are insignificant. Rather, focusing on the contemporary situation, and the individual’s or community’s relation to the new disclosure (see the Introductory Remarks), it is necessary for me to remark only on the importance and value of methodicalness to development, and that this methodicalness need not at all adhere to, or follow, or be dependent upon the particular form and detail from the tradition. Indeed, the individual or community that would develop itself does not necessarily need to acquaint itself with ancient practices that it may not entirely understand (and where only an intellectual development would result); it is not necessary to become a scholar in order to evolve one’s inherent capacities; rather, it is necessary to be methodical in oneself and in one’s approach to one’s own development to be methodical about it.
What does it mean to say? In many ways, it is less the framework or system of development that is important, and more the application of self to development, and whatever that means for the individual or community in question, and to wherever those entities are being led. In many ways, it does not matter whether one is following the precepts of one or another, or undertaking the practice or one or another, but rather one is following or undertaking in a methodical way. Whatever is the elected practice or system, it is the methodical application to it that will likely bring the results to which it is supposed to lead. Thus, in essence, it is the principal that is important (I may obtain an opportunity at a later date to say something more substantial about the relation between former non-standard disclosures, and the religions and traditions which have formed around them, and the current or subsequent disclosures).
Furthermore, in order to be methodical, the individual or community must develop the necessary discipline and other auxiliary requirements on which methodicalness depends. This is, of course, in addition to what is required from the practice or activity itself, which demands and implies a certain quality and presence of methodicalness. Thus, the entity in question must also develop the method that is to be applied, as if a new discipline or field of enquiry were being discovered for the first time.
In many ways, the developing individual or community is like a pioneering scientist discovering or investigating new phenomena. In order to make any progress, it must proceed methodically, carefully, and with the integrity of an honest seeker of truth, according to an order that is reasonable to it, and that is in accordance with the very capacities of apprehension in its repertoire and which, with these, it must seek development.