The Four Pathways
by Al Leone
What are The Four Pathways? To reveal the truth as it applies in the context of this website’s perspective, consider the individual words that form the composite. One definition for Path, courtesy of MSN Encarta, is “a route along which something moves.” Another is “a course of action or way of living.” Way can be defined as “a means, manner, or method of doing something,” as well as “a direction, e.g. left, right, up, or down.” When you combine these definitions and then categorize the route, means, manner, method and direction of doing as conditions of existence, a Pathway can be thought of as “a course of action or way of living to move from one condition of existence to another.” A relevant definition, especially if you allow movement to be transformational as well as positional, but it’s still not particularly illuminating.
Two other definitions for Way add clarity: “a journey or the route followed or to be followed,” and “progress or a path through life and its experiences or difficulties,” with the latter being the conditions of existence herein referenced. Our composite definition then becomes, “the course of action or way of living someone follows to progress through life and its experiences or difficulties.” This certainly seems to be taking us in the right direction, and the mention of four “directions” earlier in a definition gives us a clue as to why there may be Four Pathways.
Considering another definition for Way will bring us really close to home: “the customary practice of a person or group.” So, this journey through life’s experiences is one taken by each individual, but it occurs in a group context. Moreover, stipulating “Four” Pathways would indicate that at the fundamental evolutionary level there are four groupings within the collective of humanity to which this transformational journey would apply, one of which each individual would most associate with. Our final definition for The Four Pathways would then be, “the four fundamental courses of action or ways of living a person or group follows to progress through life and its experiences or difficulties.”
This provides us with a rather nice philosophic understanding of The Four Pathways. But does it have scientific merit? And what about limiting the number to four. Couldn’t there be three, five, or some other number?