Grounding the essay

Anyone can arrive at an interpretation of the world we live in. There is a plethora of self-help and fringe books out there, from the wild and wacky through the mystical and sentimental to the serious and profound. Some of them are scientifically sound others not. So there is no reason why my interpretation should be any better than anyone else’s, except that the view is mine and I find it more or less satisfactory.

I recognize that not everyone who might read this has my background and might not have read what I have read or thought about what I have thought about. Your results from the same exercise would be different because your background is different and your education and reading will be different. That does not make you right and me wrong – just different.

For reasons, which might become apparent, I want to ground my views in the best and most reliable information that is readily available to me. In part this gives me confidence that my ideas have some substance and validity and that I have avoided the more extreme and unreliable views. If you understand the confusion and low self-esteem of the Autistic Syndrome person, you will appreciate the importance of the grounding.

Grounding is fundamental in science. One always discusses theory and the relevant work of others before proceeding to present a study of one’s own, it is a way of cross-checking and validating one’s work and building on the work of others. Academics in all disciplines constantly refer to, quote and discuss each other’s work for much the same reasons.

To ground what I say and to provide hooks for anyone who might want to validate or take an idea further, I have put hyperlink references embeded in the text. In most cases the links are to articles in Wikipedia?, the online encyclopedia. These are open sources and reviewed by peers in each area so they are more reliable than some other sources. They have the benefit of being summaries of mainstream thought and science results. I began by using conventional footnotes. Then I found that the footnotes were becoming larger than the main text, so I moved them into separate documents in their own folder. Finally, when I realized how Wikipedia documents were constructed, I embeded the references in the text. In the computer version of the text, the hyperlinks show in blue and underlined, but in the paper version they may show simply as underlined. If you are on-line, the hyperlink will take you to the page on the appropriate site.

In Quakerism, grounding takes a slightly different form. Quakers subject their ideas, insights, experiences and leadings to the Light of the Spirit to test and validate them for Truth, right ordering, Gospel Order and consistency with the Will of God. The testing takes place in a Meeting for Worship, where several of many Friends gather in general worship or for the special purpose. It is similar to scientific and academic grounding in that several people gather to avoid individual error. It is different from other branches of Christian religion (and for all I know other religions) in that the testing is open (seeking new knowledge rather than closed in already revealed knowledge) through direct contact with God rather than through Scripture or priestly authority.


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