Simple. You determine for yourself.
The problem with this is, the individual mind is notoriously unreliable. We have inherent cognitive biases, desires,
cultural norms, biases, or taboos, foibles in our perceptual faculties, etc. that often interfere with our ability to accurately perceive and integrate the facts of reality (physical or "spiritual," assuming the latter sort of facts exist). This is why our most important "truth-pursuing" mechanisms are cooperative enterprises. Peer review and replication of experiments/observations by multiple teams in science, the jury-trial system in criminal courts, the market system in the making of collective economic decisions,
the free press and the internet in the distribution of news and information, all represent instances where we do not leave the determination of what's true to a single person.
Diverse individuals and groups tend to have diverse biases, etc.,
and can serve to fact-check each other, especially if the "truth-pursuing" enterprise in question is deliberately set up to encourage it.
In the case of alleged spiritual truth, it is trivially easy to point to different claimants with incompatible views. The Apostle Paul's claims of mystically-apprehended spiritual truth are not compatible with those of Hafiz of Persia or Terrance McKenna, and vice versa. Since individuals "determining for themselves" produce such a wide range of incompatible "results," if we want to approach knowledge of what's actually true
in the realm of "spirituality," we need to develop methods of testing, validation, and falsification of "spiritual" ideas.
Let me just ask this question, have you ever loved someone? You may say yes. Do you need to prove this to yourself using some mathematical method? If I say, well I don't think you truly do, prove it, and you cannot, then it is not true? Of course not, there's a part of you, beyond any logical reasoning, that knows this is true. Therefore, my point being, truth doesn't just have to reside in the realm of the objective and physical, it is found within the self.
Being in love with someone whose existence is not in doubt is not at all the same thing as claiming to have experienced the presence of invisible, incorporeal beings and/or undetectable "alternate realities."
It doesn't matter if I can't experience exactly what you did or measure it, that doesn't make it less true. You could say it's not objective, fine, but spirituality isn't concerned only with the objective.
If someone claims to introduce you to their beloved spouse, and they show you another person, you can adopt a high-probability assessment that this person is, in fact, their beloved spouse, even if your experience of that person is different than theirs. However, if someone claims to introduce you to their beloved spouse, and they gesture to empty air beside them, I think it's likely you would be a lot more dubious about the validity of their experience of an invisible, intangible spouse.
The whole eastern religious tradition is based upon 'know thyself', they start with the self, then outward. Why limit one's understanding of truth to only physical terms?
That question is not legitimate until it is demonstrated that it is possible to have understanding
of truth in "spiritual" or other non-physical terms. We may be inherently
limited in our understanding of truth to only physical terms by the nature of reality itself. There is considerable evidence for this position. The fact that "spiritual" people have, over a course of thousands of years, failed to converge on a single, coherent understanding of "spiritual truth" is one. If we go back a few thousand years, each culture had its very own cosmology. For some, the Earth rested on the back of four elephants, who in turn stood on the back of a gigantic turtle. For others, it was a set of layered realities joined together by a World-Tree. For the Biblical Hebrews, it was a flat disc surmounted by a domed firmament and immersed in water. And so on. Yet, through the process of scientific discovery, scientists from a wide range of cultures have set aside culture-specific cosmologies to agree on modern Big Bang cosmology. "Spirituality" is still at the "turtles" stage of mutually incompatible culture-specific "spiritual" viewpoints.
Of course, people can do whatever they want, but it is a path of self-limitation in my experience focusing on pure physical terms.
This presupposes that "spiritual" people are less limited or unlimited in some way, possessing something that materialists lack. Is this a testable claim? If "spiritual" people could levitate, or cast magic spells that worked, there would be no contention with your position. Unfortunately, whatever advantage(s) "spiritual" people may possess are not readily apparent. So, to put it another way, what do you have that we don't, and how can we know that you have it?
But, it can almost become an obsession to only focus on the objective or physical, it seems, as some ultimate measure of reality here, doesn't it?
No, it's not an "obsession." It is just that, as far as we can tell, the human species is actually limited to the objective or physical
when it comes to trying to find out what's actually true and real.
Maybe this isn't so. But if you're a Slan
, you ought to be able to demonstrate some sort of reality for your extrasensory perceptions/less-limited-than-us-ness/whatever. BTW, I neither perceive your comment as an insult nor intend insult in return. I have no problem with the idea that there are more things in heaven and earth than are dreamt of in my philosophy. I just want to do my best to see to it that there aren't more things in my philosophy than are dreamt of in heaven and earth. Hence, the Rationalist Art of epistemic hygiene.