This is an extremely important concept to keep in mind as you face similar situations throughout your life. In the school system it is not fair to you for emphasis to be placed on passing test and not on the substance of subjects from which you draw ideas that will assist in your life-shaping decision making. It is not justice that the law is what judges say it is. It is not justice for educators to impose their system of proof on those aspiring to introduce new information. Yet, expect to be asked somewhere in training or perhaps in interviews: what is your proof?
In general, Proof is the meeting of a standard (i.e. a model and a guide). A standard has little meaning without knowing who created it or the criteria used for meeting it. The concept started in ancient Africa. Believing that certainty and permanence should be the foundation of a standard, ancient Africans chose God for the spiritual world and mathematics for the earth world. Proof concerned reaching those standards in the most direct manner. For example, their proof of having lived a successful life in order to enter the afterlife was passing a test at death administered by the goddess Maat. Based upon the Man is the measure of all things teachings of the 5th century B.C. Greek Pythagoras, the standard for the Greeks became man himself, and not God. This meant that a Greek looked into his/her private feelings and self-interest in order to determine what is (humanly) right. Because the Greek city-states are the starting point of Western civilization, the standard and the proof for meeting that standard have come to be determined by rules agreed upon by some authority, regardless of what is (spiritually) right. In the USA, any one not strictly following that rigid rule pattern is declared wrong. This reminds me of the folktale Henny-Penny. Recall that, while in the cornyard, something hit her on the head. This caused her to conclude that the sky is falling. On the way to reporting this to the king, she told friends who in turn told other friends that the sky is falling. In the end, this misinformation caused the followers to have their heads chopped off.
As applied to your situation, you will be expected to provide proof based upon what some authority has written. Most authorities are like the followers of Henny-Penny and simply parrot that she said the sky is falling. The point is that Henny-Penny was the source of what the followers said and the source was wrong (because she was hit by an acorn that fell out of a tree and not by a piece of the sky). Nevertheless, most people requesting proof are satisfied with you quoting the Henny-Penny followers. Since they are in charge, give them what they want, the way they want it. But keep in mind that substance (principles relating to the truth) are what you need as proof in order to form your philosophy of life. This involves investigating the source to find out what really happened. Then collect information that supports the truth and elaborates on the truth. Wipe out what is not true. These are the things to look for throughout your school studies, your self-education, your training, and in your reflective thinking. This process requires thinking outside the box. Rely on your realistic insights, intuition, sixth sense, hunches, and common sense. To fit information into a harmonious unit necessitates rising above any negativity (like bad emotions, prejudices, or biases). Build All Your Decisions Out Of A Mental State Of Harmony, Goodness, And Truth.
Joseph A. Bailey, II, M.D
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