Studying a Subject

Reference: Course on Subject Clearing

When studying a subject your focus must be on spotting the anomalies and resolving them. The anomaly could arise because of a misunderstanding of the materials, or it could be present in the materials themselves. 

To avoid any misunderstanding, make sure that you do not go past a  a word that you do not fully understand the meaning of. Most of the time any difficulty can always be traced to a word that was misunderstood. Make full use of the dictionaries, glossaries, and any notes available. But, even after understanding the materials something does not make sense then you start investigating the key concepts for anomalies.

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KEEP NOTES

Note your thoughts and comments after a paragraph, or a reasonable section of study material. This is easy to do If you can copy your study materials to a word processor. For example, see: THE BHAGAVAD GITA: Chapter 2.

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WORD MEANINGS

If you find your mind going blank as you read a section, then find the first sentence which doesn’t make sense. Then find the first word in that sentence that seem to generate confusion. Here you have to be careful because the confusion may arise from a simple word, such as, “on”, “of”, or “in”. 

A word, especially a simple one, usually has more than one definition. Quickly check all the definitions of the word in question, and find the definition that makes most sense. Repeat this procedure until the whole section is understood. 

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COMMENTS

If the difficulty still persists, then look for an anomaly in that section. There could be missing information (discontinuity), which is usually the case. But there can also be a contradiction, or some arbitrary opinion that does not belong there. It may require further study of the subject before this anomaly can be resolved. So, make this anomaly a part of your comment at the end of that section.

The purpose of your notes and comments is to make any review of the material easier. Briefly note your understanding of the section, and write your comments, as if you are having a discussion with the author. Write it so that it is helpful when you review that section later.

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KEY WORDS LIST

The key words contain the key concepts dealt within the subject. They make up the vocabulary of that subject. You may note in your comment the key word being discussed in that section and the key thought related to that key word for later reference.

After you complete a chapter, review your notes and comments. List the key words in a separate document. With each key word, note down its definition and related key thoughts. Continue as above with your study of the subject section by section and chapter by chapter. Add new key words to your list as you come across them. 

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ANOMALIES IN CONCEPTS

It may be convenient to build up the Key Word List on an Excel worksheet, where you can easily rearrange their sequence to reflect the development of concepts in that subject. It is easy to see such a sequence in a subject, such as, mathematics: counting, numbers, digits, place values, addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, factors, fractions, etc. The main sequence may branch out requiring many Excel worksheets.

An examination of such sequences may reveal holes in the subject, which may explain some of the anomalies you have been running into; you may run into contradictions in how a concept is defined at different places (such as, the concept of God); and you may find arbitrary ideas inserted into the subject that do not contribute to its understanding.

Resolve such anomalies, one at a time, through careful examination and contemplation. You may have to study books on that subject by other authors to get more information. The contradictions may spur you look more deeply for hidden assumptions. You may have to cull out the irrelevant information and ideas. As your resolve the anomalies your understanding will start to increase as well as simplify.

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GLOSSARY

There will come a point when you are ready to start putting together your own glossary on the subject. This glossary shall contain your knowledge of the subject that is free of discontinuities, inconsistencies and disharmonies. It shall consist of key words arranged in alphabetical order. The key words shall be well defined, related key words shall be listed, and reference links to details elsewhere shall be provided. For example, see Glossary of SELF.

As you expand your knowledge by reading more books on the subject, your glossary of the subject shall also expand. This will be a work in progress. 

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FUNDAMENTALS

The priority should always be to clarify the fundamentals of the subject because the anomalies in the fundamentals affect the rest of the subject. Any anomaly at the fundamental level must be handled as a priority. 

As an example, in the subject of Physics, a unified theory is the main priority, which could make the fundamentals of Newtonian Physics, the Theory of Relativity, and the Quantum Mechanics consistent. This means that anomalies exist in our understanding at the fundamental level of physics

There are likely to be many contributors to a subject who may use different words for the same concept. This is the case with religions from different cultures. Group such words together to discover anomalies among concepts. Study of such anomalies may lead to the discovery of arbitrary beliefs that were advanced in the absence of accurate observations, or you may find erroneous notions that are taken for granted. This may reveal gaps in the subject itself. Develop your own understanding by resolving anomalies among the fundamentals of a subject.

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KNOWLEDGE

As you work through the the steps above for more subjects, you will have many realizations. You will discover many gaps in knowledge that are hidden under fixed beliefs and dubious explanations. This would be true especially for those subjects where anomalies abound.

As the gaps are revealed, real progress becomes possible. Make your knowledge as complete as possible through direct experience and experimentation.

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KNOWINGNESS

The journey of consciousness is from mystery to knowingness. Please see Meditation from Mystery to Knowing. The ultimate achievement may be expressed as The Static Viewpoint.

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