Knowing, a Faculty

To know is "to perceive directly; grasp in the mind with clarity or certainty; to regard as true beyond doubt: to have a practical understanding, as through experience; be skilled in: to have fixed in the mind: to have experience of: to perceive as familiar; recognize: to be acquainted with: to be able to distinguish; recognize as distinct: to discern the character or nature of."

“When you claim to know something, you challenge principle,
which compels you to prove it.”

Knowing is an absolute principle; God is all-knowing, or omniscient. Knowing is both fact-based knowledge and intuition, which is our relative apprehension of divine Mind. Knowing is also an abstract principle of Mind, a law of being, and a mental and a spiritual faculty.

Knowledge is "acquaintance, familiarity gained by experience, intellectual acquaintance with or perception of, fact or truth, understanding, a mental apprehension, perception, intuition, or other cognition."

We define knowledge as information gained through observation, pondered, analyzed and fitted into the facts of one's life.

Edna Lister on Knowing and Knowledge

The undifferentiated Godhead is all-knowing, has all knowledge, not all consciousness, has all Love and all Wisdom without anyone to express it, without ability to express it. Manifestation of the one great Godhead brings us to the place where Love and Wisdom may be expressed consciously. Unconscious expression of Wisdom and Love means less than conscious expression. – Edna Lister, January 16, 1933.

A victorious life grows from knowing you are a victor, confident in your ability to create, to accomplish. – Edna Lister, The Life Victorious, September 28, 1934.

Knowledge is a state of knowing, a state of consciousness, a state of gathering outer facts, practical and theoretical. Sometimes you touch it, or it fades. You cannot tell what knowledge is if you do not know it; it just becomes indistinct. God is everywhere evenly present. Knowledge is right here, right now. You need go to no plane or place but the practical world of facts. If you seek knowledge in things or in people, they may mislead you. If you seek in books, your eyes are focused outside. The fountain of contact is within. – Edna Lister, Knowledge, November 14, 1934.

Philosophy is a rational comprehension of being, and a systematic interpretation of experience, embracing the theory of knowing, the theory of knowledge, and the theory of being. The theory of knowing treats of the laws of normal thinking or the science of thought, and is called logic. The theory of knowledge (epistemology) applies these laws to the problems of knowledge by analyzing the idea of knowledge, and aims to discover its general conditions and implications, the method. Epistemology is the theory of the grounds of knowledge. Thus, logic and epistemology are two different aspects of the same subject, knowing and knowledge. – Edna Lister, What Philosophy Includes, September 3, 1935.

You start with objective outer facts of experience, the facts of being, to formulate a theory of knowing, and a theory of being. You read about these facts, arrange them, use them, reformulate them, take them apart, and add more knowledge. You use mind as the instrument with which to reason. First you study the nature and normal laws of thinking. You then apply these laws to the general problem, that which you know, and that which you may know. Then you address conceptions of thought concerning the realities of existence. – Edna Lister, What Philosophy Includes, September 3, 1935.

Think before you act, consciously or unconsciously, using intuition and intellect. – Edna Lister, Philosophy as Theory, September 9, 1935.

True philosophy rests upon the fact that cognition, the action or faculty of knowing, or the knowing faculty of mind, conforms itself to things and not things to it. – Edna Lister, Philosophy, September 16, 1935.

The knowing self knows its own states, and their modifications. It also knows the objective things of the universe, and their relations, which its experience reveals. All knowledge consists in grasping the relationship of things and generalizing from them, from outer to inner by rationalizing. Knowledge is concerned with the general relationships of things, rather than with things themselves. – Edna Lister, Philosophy, September 16, 1935.

The "eye-minded" need the "show" before men, which they may see, feel and know via outer physical senses. Thus, they live life by the truth of appearances, not the truth of reality. – Edna Lister, February 25, 1941.

Trying is believing, but doing is knowing. – Edna Lister, The Chalice, July 6, 1941.

Further promotion on the Path of Ascension comes from conscious full knowledge of all laws given. – Edna Lister, October 25, 1944.

You can gain knowledge only by daily sacrifice in which you do not ask for self. – Edna Lister, October 26, 1944.

Your spiritual advance depends on your interpretation of law. – Edna Lister, October 30, 1944.

You must know law. You may think you know it. It's something else to know that you know it, which comes only with mastery of self. – Edna Lister, November 2, 1944.

No matter how much you know, standing and waiting causes a nervous strain. – Edna Lister, April 1, 1946.

Intuition is perfect hearing and doing of the law, hearing the voice and knowing. – Edna Lister, Fully Awakening to Understanding, October 27, 1946.

Just to read laws or commit them to memory is not study. You simply derive self-satisfaction in reading them, which gratifies the intellect. Until you know law from above, you have not begun. – Edna Lister, June 24, 1947.

What you have done today is of no value until you apply all you know to tomorrow's conquering. – Edna Lister, October 20, 1947.

The all-conquering path moves upward from creature to creator, from using the five physical senses to "knowing" comprehension. – Edna Lister, Getting or Letting, Self or Soul? June 27, 1948.

Intuitive consciousness is always looking above the worldly appearance, based on a "knowing" assurance and confidence in God and His right answers. – Edna Lister, Creative Imagination, May 1, 1949.

God-consciousness is a "knowing" that does not depend on hindsight. Here you may not know everything, but trust that God does. You move from belief to knowing; knowing and faith are one. – Edna Lister, The First Days, June 17, 1951.

Transfiguration is knowing, just knowing that God as love is. – Edna Lister, From Surrender to Ascension, January 15, 1954.

When you know truth, you believe it. You fall into a pit repeatedly when you just think you know it. – Edna Lister, July 23, 1955.

Abraham knew that God meant that Isaac's descendants would multiply as the stars of heaven. His knowing was a definite, positive, active faith, even when he was asked to sacrifice his beloved son. – Edna Lister, And It Came to Pass, August 28, 1955.

Apperception is a soul knowing, the mind's mystic eye of the soul in operation. – Edna Lister, The Beatitudes are Be-Attitudes, February 12, 1956.

When you break the sonic barrier of intellectual knowing, you reach comprehension. – Edna Lister, Inspiration, June 24, 1956.

No one can know truth intellectually. You must comprehend truth. When you hold a firm conviction of truth, you have ascended from a mere belief in to a knowing comprehension. – Edna Lister, Promises Given, May 4, 1958.

God has made law to hold the universes and bring us home. The whole process of Ascension is to know and live the laws as they are. – Edna Lister, November 10, 1958.

When belief and knowing fail, many people kick against the pricks and curse God, saying they had a beautiful faith but have been betrayed. – Edna Lister, Love Unquenchable, December 7, 1958.

Act as if each experience that comes to you has a law hidden in the wrappings. – Edna Lister, December 15, 1958.

The greater your knowledge of law, the greater your responsibility to become that law. – Edna Lister, May 4, 1959.

Many degrees of understanding lead to the faith of God. You can have an idea that something may happen, you can think something will happen, you can believe a thing may happen or you can know as God knows. – Edna Lister, Manifestation, May 24, 1959.

The principles of balance, harmony and equilibrium coordinate mind, imagination and emotions as perfect soul knowing, which is a blend of spiritual seeing and hearing. – Edna Lister, How Can I Help Myself? May 31, 1960.

Intuition is immediate mental apprehension without the intervention of any reasoning process. It is absolute soul knowing without suspicion or rationalization. – Edna Lister, Is it Right to Ask for Myself? June 14, 1960.

Law is a vibration you tune in, reach for and move up in consciousness on when you recognize that it is greater than you are, and accept it as part of the whole. You cannot apply any greater degree of law than you can accept. You are that law when you vibrate with it. Your mind knows first, the stomach takes longer to know, yet every cell in the body must know it. – Edna Lister, December 11, 1960.

Know that from everlasting to everlasting, no one is greater in the kingdom than the one who says, "Lord, here am I. Use me." – Edna Lister, January 12, 1961.

Some people haven't a lick of sense, and don't know when they enter darkness. – Edna Lister, January 12, 1961.

All revelation is the unfolding of knowing, the unknown becoming the known. – Edna Lister, Identity, Your Hope of Glory, April 29, 1962.

Do not be a know-it-all. – Edna Lister, March 24, 1963.

You know who you are and where you are going when you truly desire to achieve. – Edna Lister, July 8, 1963.

Jesus was all-knowing; he knew each one's history at a glance and made a just appraisal of all who contacted him. – Edna Lister, The Sword, Your Flaming Scepter of Power, April 19, 1964.

Only by the faculty of knowing can you discern that God is the Primal Reality. – Edna Lister, The Spirit and Mystery of God as Unity, Duality, Trinity, November 17, 1964.

Just to know law is starvation unless you apply it to the point of becoming law. – Edna Lister, April 22, 1965.

Your great difficulty has been that you don't know when you slide until the world rolls over you. – Edna Lister, June 27, 1966.

Move up into soul consciousness, to spiritual seeing and hearing, which when combined, form knowing. You must apply your faculties to know. – Edna Lister, Laws for Divine Living, February 19, 1970.

When you claim to know something, you challenge all principle, which compels you to prove it. – Edna Lister, Faith Complete Now, November 15, 1970.

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Epistemology: The Theory of Knowing

This Edna Lister lecture outline is dated, October 21, 1935, Buffalo, New York.

The "knowing" of consciousness itself originates in the influence of that which can be known upon that which can know. That which can know must exist before it can be influenced. Experience, which is formulated into knowledge, is not the product of consciousness alone. It is and must be the product of consciousness, and an external universe endlessly acting and reacting upon each other.

Knowing is the result of the co-activity of the knower and the knowable, or the subject and the object in dynamic correlation. This applies specifically to the objectives furnished by material things, but is just as true in the correlated activity of the knower and a rational object, the attributed qualities of being. The knower, using qualities of being, seeks a result, the experience, which can be formulated into knowledge.

This leads to a theory of knowledge. The knowledge, which comes through the experience of the co-action of the subject or knower — the object or that which is knowable — is actually a conversion of the unknown into the known. This is what learning means. The knowableness of the unknown points the way philosophically to the intelligibility of the infinite being as the explanation of all existence. The subject matter of all knowing is things and their relations, which are distinguishable, yet inseparable. That which is intelligible is relation.

Science disturbs the balance of the atom, and breaks it up. The atom's internal relations are still unknown in its completeness. Its external relations are known and understood as being molecules, cells, masses, compounds, showing the unit or individual, the many massed together. Science accepts the knower as a person in its efforts to set forth a single unit of consciousness.

Psychology deals with personal internal consciousness, as far as it may be known. A person's external relations are multitudinous in species, families, society, business, states, provinces, and nations, for example. The obvious indication is that each soul is an individual expression of the indivisible One.

In each case, that which is intelligible is its immanent relational constitution. It is therefore apparent that nothing could be intelligible if it did not exist, nothing could exist if it were not intelligible, and nothing could exist or be intelligible if it did not possess an immanent relational constitution. This is the ground form of all determinate existence.

We know the universe only in part, and what we know is by virtue of its known relations, internal and external. The scientific method by which this finite universe is constantly enlarging from the unknown into the known, hypothesizes an infinite external self-existent universe. That universe is knowable because it possesses an infinite and immanent rational constitution.

A step further compels us to infer a faculty of "relations" to account for and to perpetuate this immanent relational constitution, so that the infinitely intelligible universe is intelligibly infinite. One is the origin of the other. The universe is then conceived of as an infinite self-consciousness, expressing in material form, disclosing its nature and attributes through its immanent relational constitution. This self-consciousness, though infinitely removed in degree, is essentially identical in kind with the human consciousness.

This brings us in sight of the conception of the universe as the Infinite Life of God in time and space. We conceive of the universe as an infinite self-consciousness, infinitely intelligible, intelligibly infinite, expressing in material form and revealing its nature and attributes through its immanent relational constitution. This self-consciousness, though infinitely removed in degree, is essentially identical in kind with the human consciousness. This brings us in sight of the conception of the universe as the Infinite Life of God in time and space.

The contrast between the finite and the infinite existence as an organism is first that the finite must live by taking in, and second, by making its own that which is outside self. Death is the result of failure to do this. Physical life consists in the ability to take that which is not itself and convert it into itself. The infinite organism lives and does not die because it is continuously and eternally converting itself, as force, into itself, as form.

The infinite organism fills all space and all time, which is the basic ground for the forms of all being, finite or infinite. They are the blank forms of "possibility." The world "exists" presupposes time, while all material form presupposes space. Finite thought must find its object, while infinite thought creates its object by becoming that object.

Therefore, the universe is the self-creating organism of the Infinite Intelligence. It is an organism because it lives and grows, whereas a machine neither lives nor grows. An organism is an organized body with connected interdependent parts sharing common life. The suffix "-zation" means an organized body or system or society. To organize means to form into an organic whole. Organic means having organs or organized physical structure. A machine is an apparatus for applying mechanical power having several parts each with definite function. "Machine" also describes a person who acts mechanically and without intelligence or with unfailing regularity.

This infinite self-creating organism of the immeasurable intelligence fills all space and all time. Out of this conception of the universe as organism grows the provision for the many in the One. It includes all the facts of existence or being. It is the self-revelation of the infinite in the finite, of the eternal in the temporal. The whole of anything is equal to the sum of all its parts, therefore, the nature of the whole is in some measure present in all its parts. There is a fundamental spiritual identity between man and the universe in the point of essential nature. For example, free creativeness and free-will or executiveness are concomitants of all intellect.

Among other qualities, the infinite organism presents itself as a universe or as a moral law, whose inherent sanctity impresses itself on the many, and in man supremely. In this universe God is immanent. God is the intellect that knows, the power that works, the will that directs, the substance that becomes form, and the love that cares for its own, which describes the all-embracing Motherhood and Fatherhood of God. God transcends in the sense that He is not only immanent in the known, but also in the unknown. He is not outside Himself for He is the totality of all existence.

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New Testament on Knowing

Your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him. – Matthew 6:8.

Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them. – Matthew 7:16-20.

There is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; and hid, that shall not be known. – Matthew 10:26.

A good tree bringeth not forth corrupt fruit; neither doth a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. For every tree is known by his own fruit. – Luke 6:43-44.

Nothing is secret, that shall not be made manifest; neither any thing hid, that shall not be known and come abroad [to light]. – Luke 8:17.

Woe unto you, lawyers! For ye have taken away the key of knowledge: ye entered not in yourselves, and them that were entering in ye hindered. – Luke 11:52.

There is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; neither hid, that shall not be known. – Luke 12:2.

God knoweth your heart. – Luke 16:15.

Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. – Luke 23:34.

The Word was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. – John 1:10.

Jesus did not commit himself unto them, because he knew all men, and needed not that any should testify of man: for he knew what was in man. – John 2:24-25.

Jesus answered them, and said, My doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me. If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself. – John 7:16-17.

Jesus answered and said unto them, Though I bear record of myself, yet my record is true: for I know whence I came, and whither I go; but ye cannot tell whence I come, and whither I go. – John 8:14.

Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. – John 8:32.

I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine. – John 10:14. [The good shepherd knows his sheep, and is known by his own.]

My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. – John 10:27. [Your sheep hear your voice, and you know them, and they follow you.]

Whither I go ye know, and the way ye know. – John 14:4. [Where the Christ has gone, you know, and the Way you know (the Via Christa).]

The Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for [truth] dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. – John 14:17.

For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. – 1 Corinthians 2:11-12.

The natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man. For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ. – 1 Corinthians 2:14-16.

We know that we all have knowledge. Knowledge puffeth up, but charity [love] edifieth. – 1 Corinthians 8:1.

Manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal. For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit; to another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit; to another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues: But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will. – 1 Corinthians 12:7-11.

Though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing. – 1 Corinthians 13:2.

Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away. For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known. – 1 Corinthians 13:8-9,12.

God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. – 2 Corinthians 4:6.

That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; and to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God. – Ephesians 3:17-19.

[The Logos] gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ. – Ephesians 4:11-13.

For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior; who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. – 1 Timothy 2:3-4.

This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, truce-breakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, traitors, heady, high-minded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. For of this sort are ... ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. – 2 Timothy 3:1-7.

Giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; and to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; and to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins. – 2 Peter 1:5-9.

And hereby we do know that we know him [Christ], if we keep his commandments. He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him. – 1 John 2:3-5.

If our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things. – 1 John 3:20.

We are of God: he that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us. Hereby know we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error. Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love. – 1 John 4:6-8.

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Old Testament on Knowing

[God] knoweth the secrets of the heart. – Psalm 44:21.

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction. – Proverbs 1:7.

How long, ye simple ones, will ye love simplicity? and the scorners delight in their scorning, and fools hate knowledge? Turn you at my reproof: behold, I will pour out my spirit unto you, I will make known my words unto you. – Proverbs 1:22-23.

Incline thine ear unto wisdom, and apply thine heart to understanding; yea, if thou criest after knowledge, and liftest up thy voice for understanding; if thou seekest her as silver, and searchest for her as for hid treasures; then shalt thou understand the fear of the Lord, and find the knowledge of God. For the Lord gives wisdom: out of his mouth comes knowledge and understanding. – Proverbs 2:2-6.

Then shalt thou understand righteousness, and judgment, and equity; yea, every good path. When wisdom enters into thine heart, and knowledge is pleasant unto thy soul – Proverbs 2:9-10.

The Lord by wisdom hath founded the earth; by understanding hath he established the heavens. By his knowledge the depths are broken up, and the clouds drop down the dew. – Proverbs 3:19-20.

I wisdom dwell with prudence, and find out knowledge of witty inventions. – Proverbs 8:12. [Wisdom dwells with prudence and finds knowledge and discretion.]

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding. – Proverbs 9:10.

He that hath knowledge spares his words: and a man of understanding is of an excellent [calm] spirit. – Proverbs 17:27.

Smite a scorner, and the simple will beware: and reprove one that hath understanding, and he will understand knowledge. – Proverbs 19:25.

Cease, my son, to hear the instruction that causes to err from the words of knowledge. – Proverbs 19:27. [Cease listening to instruction, and you will stray from the words of knowledge.]

When the scorner is punished, the simple is made wise: and when the wise is instructed, he receives knowledge. – Proverbs 21:11.

Wisdom is a defense, and money is a defense: but the excellency of knowledge is, that wisdom giveth life to them that have it. – Ecclesiastes 7:12.

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Knowing in Other Sacred Writings

Wisdom is privy to the mysteries of the knowledge of God, and a lover of His works. – Wisdom of Solomon 8:4.

Do not claim knowledge that you do not have. – Wisdom of Ben Sirach 33:25.

Do not refrain to speak when you can do good, and do not hide your wisdom in her beauty; for by speech, wisdom shall be known, and learning by the word of the tongue. – Wisdom of Ben Sirach 4:23-24.

Wisdom, knowledge, and understanding of the law are of the Lord: love, and the way of good works, are from Him. – Wisdom of Ben Sirach 11:15.

The knowledge of the commandments of the Lord is the doctrine of life: and they who do things that please Him shall receive the fruit of the tree of immortality. – Wisdom of Ben Sirach 19:19.

A man of understanding knows when he slips. – Wisdom of Ben Sirach 21:7.

The inner parts of a fool are like a broken vessel, and he will hold no knowledge as long as he lives. – Wisdom of Ben Sirach 21:14.

Wisdom makes the doctrine of knowledge appear as the light. – Wisdom of Ben Sirach 24:27.

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Edna Miriam Lister
1884 –1971
The original Pioneering Mystic
minister, teacher, and author

Edna Lister

Etymology of knowing: Greek gignoskein, "to know, think, judge," with gnosis, "knowledge, inquiry," and gnomon, "judge, interpreter." Latin (g)noscere, cognoscere, "to get to know."

Knowing is an absolute principle.

Knowing is an abstract principle.

Knowing is a law of being.

Knowing is a mental and spiritual faculty


The Compact Edition of The Oxford English Dictionary: 2 volumes. E.S.C. Weiner, editor. Oxford University Press, 1971.

The Holy Bible. King James Version (KJV).

The Nag Hammadi Library. James M. Robinson, editor. San Francisco: Harper and Row, 1981.

Recommended Reading

Steup, Matthias and Neta, Ram, "Epistemology", The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. (Summer 2020 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.).

A.E. Taylor's paper, Knowing and Believing, presented before the Aristotelian Society in 1928.

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