So, what is inductive reasoning?
Haanel defines inductive reasoning in the first three points.
- Inductive reasoning is the process of the objective mind by which we compare a number of separate instances with one another until we see the common factor that gives rise to them all.
- Induction proceeds by comparison of facts. It is this method of studying nature which has resulted in the discovery of a reign of law which has marked an epoch in human progress.
- It is the dividing line between superstition and intelligence. It has eliminated the elements of uncertainty and caprice from men’s lives and substituted law, reason, and certitude.
All of us practice inductive reasoning naturally, to one degree or another. It’s what we do as human beings with our intelligence, our consciousness, our gift of reason. We look at the things around us and, as we “figure them out,” we draw conclusions to tie things together, to make observations that will serve us in future endeavours.
Let’s look at the examples Haanel used.
8. It is our privilege to become conscious of the principle and act in accordance with it. Cuvier sees a tooth belonging to an extinct race of animals. This tooth wants a body for the performance of its function and it defines the peculiar body it stands in need of with such precision that Cuvier is able to reconstruct the frame of this animal.
9. Perturbations are observed in the motions of Uranus. Leverrier needs another star at a certain place to keep the solar system in order and Neptune appears in the place and hour appointed.
When the naturalist Georges Cuvier would find a bone or a fossil, he would use his creative imagination to take the facts he has at his disposal to form an image of what the entire animal would look like. He doesn’t use fantasy or wild guesses, he relies on his knowledge of the subject — zoology — and the facts he has. He uses his reason. He thinks. He thus delivers to us a vision of the world heretofore unknown.
The same process and methods apply to Urbain Le Verrier, who discovered the planet Neptune.
Do you also see how you do that perhaps every day?
You see facts. You see things around you. You then make observations and predictions based on what you see. No matter how simple your subject matter is, you do this! The aim is to now do this with a lofty goal in mind.
Imagine, what would it be like if you could use this power of inductive reasoning to attain any goal?
Because that’s what you can do with this.
So, what’s the first step?
Let’s let Haanel provide us with that.
16. Here we find a method, the spirit of which is to believe that what is sought has been accomplished in order to accomplish it: a method bequeathed upon us by the same Plato who, outside of this sphere, could never find how the ideas became realities.
17. This conception is also elaborated by Swedenborg in his doctrine of correspondences; and a still greater teacher has said, “What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.” (Mark XI, 24 R. V.) The difference of the tenses in this passage is remarkable.
18. We are first to believe that our desire has already been fulfilled, its accomplishment will then follow. This is a concise direction for making use of the creative power of thought by impressing on the Universal subjective mind the particular thing which we desire as an already existing fact.
19. We are thus thinking on the plane of the absolute and eliminating all consideration of conditions or limitation and are planting a seed which, if left undisturbed, will finally germinate into existing fact.
You must build your goal mentally. You must build your vision. Remember, this is not fantasy nor is it an idle daydream! You must build a goal that is more than self-serving. Whatever that goal is, though, you must thoroughly build it in your mind.
Once that is accomplished, you are then to believe — to have faith — that it is already fulfilled.
Why is that important? That belief will push you forward. It will give to you the impetus to make your plans and then execute them. That faith in the unknown will transform into faith in yourself: faith in your abilities, your reasoning, your knowledge.
What if you have nothing with which to start or you don’t yet have the knowledge to make what you’ve envisioned.
Just get started somewhere — anywhere.
As you progress towards your goal, as you have faith in its accomplishment, as you work and think, you will find the things, people, and events you require to make your vision possible.
It won’t happen overnight and it also won’t necessarily be an easy journey.
But with faith and persistence as your two best friends by your side, you will get to where you want to go.
Find yourself somewhere instead of anywhere…