by Leonard Swidler, PhD
The uniquely human quest for “reality” and “truth” is at the heart of Leonard Swidler’s exploration of our existence in Authentic Humanity. Travelers and thinkers interested in our interpretation of both the temporal and the spiritual will find this book both informative and provocative. We continually ask: is something real because it is real or because we interpret it as real? And what is truth? Is it strictly fact-based, logical, or is it more? Do we agree on certain truths or is everything subject to individual interpretation?
As Swidler notes, “all knowledge is interpreted knowledge.” We “know” what we know because we conclude meaning and significance based on our experience, our collective awareness, and our shared agreement on what something means, what something is, and what is true or false. This shared conclusion is especially relevant today when our quest for meaning, truth, and purpose seems ever more distant but takes center stage in many things we do. Is ongoing human conflict the result of misinterpretation or poor dialogue or communication about these “findings?”
Our potential knowledge is unlimited in that we clearly don’t know everything, yet individual and collective conclusions about reality and our dialogue about it can be transformative in so many ways. We compare notes with each other and through this interaction come to a mutual understanding of “the truth” through shared dialogue.
What is known is therefore limited by our “receptors,” our interpretation of what is. And yet we wrestle continually with the interpretation. Is what we see or know all that there is? Or is there much more that we are not tuned into, cannot see, or lack the ability to fully understand?
Dr. Swidler presents a classic interpretation of human perception through his usual methodical and historically based examination of what is known to be true and the many ways we dialogue to communicate our findings of that truth, our personal take on what we see, hear and feel. It is not just about a collective awareness of reality or the truth but, importantly, about how we communicate, or dialogue, those findings to each other. Swidler’s provocative and accessible book follows in the tradition of his acclaimed biblical and historical research but adds a modern twist of acknowledging the place of technology in the modern world.
Authentic Humanity illustrates the multiple levels of human dialogue from the foundation of “understanding” the cosmos through critical thinking and deliberative analysis to intuitive thinking and imagination to human spiritual awareness. It offers an overview of what Swidler calls “mans sara incorpore san” (a healthy mind in a healthy body). It synthesizes what it means to be authentically human.
This book provides a framework for the thinking process of our uniquely human tendency to analyze everything. This book will:
• Help explore the concept of reality and individual interpretation
• Highlight why dialogue between all of us about perception can provide valued perspectives on our existence
• Provide an enhanced understanding of the human thinking process
• Help the reader comprehend our need to dialogue, explore and explain to share our perceptions
• Help reveal what constitutes “authentic humanity.”