Category Archives: adult learning

Creative Fire

In this second volume of The Sparks of Randomness, The Atheism of Scripture, Henri Atlan pursues his investigation of human life, which he grounds in a distinctive intermingling of the biological and cognitive sciences and traditions of Jewish thought. The Atheism of Scripture offers up a paradox: its audacious thesis is that the Word or revealed scripture can be better understood without God. It must be decrypted or analyzed atheistically, that is, not as divine revelation, but in and of itself.

The Sparks of Randomness, Volume 1: Spermatic Knowledge (Cultural Memory in the Present) Amazon

What does it mean to be the being observer?

[General Complexity] draws its epistemological implications from the point of view of the subject who knows: complexity would compose a “new paradigm” (Morin, 1977) or “new alliance” (Prigogine and Stengers, 1979), which is potentially transdisciplinar. Therefore it gives a theoretical account of the properties of self-organization and autonomy of the physical, biological, and social systems from the perspective of the process of their observation. Complexity would express the extent of ignorance of an observer who is unaware of the information of the observed system itself (Atlan, 1979) and the process of “construction” (von Foerster, 1981) of an external object that is unattainable by the cognitive system of a subject. It is characterized more by their own “operational closure” and “internal consistency” (Varela, 1979) than by the faithful representation of the external reality. This approach, going back to the historic Macy Conferences (1946-1953) on Cybernetics (Dupuy, 2000), was widely developed in the 70s since the transition from a “first-order cybernetics” or cybernetics of observed systems (Wiener, 1948) to a “second-order cybernetics” or “cybernetics of observing systems” (von Foerster, 1981). A. Malaina, 2015

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Thick Over Thin, Beyond the Need to Know, Deep Digging

Stephen Calhoun artist

twitter meme series via @sq1learning aiming to cause thinking/feeling

If one wants to get to the absolute bottom of something, presumably for many kinds of human somethings, the journey to reach the bottom will:

(1) take time
(Rule of thumb: if it seems like it will take too much time, you’re at the start of the right path)

[paradoxical dialectic #1]
(2) demand suspension of reactions
(3) cause encounters which elicit antipathy and sympathy

(4) require configuration of viable abductions at ‘ripe’ waystations (during the journey)

[paradoxical dialectic #2]
(5) be advantaged by one feeling through one’s self feeling through the subject
(6) be advantaged by enacted agency removed from the subject’s ideology/personal culture

(7) be advantaged by researcher’s understanding of the imposition provided by their own ideology

(8) be completed by the invocation and instantiation of negative capability

These dispositional elements support deliberate knowing (learning) and stand against the varieties of thin approaches, each of which is anchored in a singular routine to obtain, ‘not really needing to know much more than I can easily know without spending more time, and certainly not challenging myself to learn more–beyond where I habitually like to stop learning.’

(Substitute satisfyingly for habitually to capture the reflexive certainty, “know enough already, thank you!” Enough is equivalent to knowing all one needs to know.

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Silence, Healing

Heraclitus Throws Down

Failure does not matter in life. To a progressive person even a thousand failures do not matter. He keeps success before his view, and success is his even after a thousand failures. The greatest pity is when life comes to a standstill and does not move any further; a sensible person prefers death to such a life. (Pir Inayat Khan)

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Implicit Sacramental Fallacies (Re: Gregory Bateson on the Nature of the Sacred)

A linear concept of causality cannot adequately explain the interactions of a complex
system or Gestalt. The classical scientific paradigm is sufficient only for understanding
carefully isolated phenomena, where unidirectional cause and effect relationships occur
between interacting pairs, e.g., between one thing and another thing. – Lawrence Bale (Gregory Bateson, Cybernetics, and the Social/Behavioral Sciences)

Gregory Bateson: Am I using explanation in the same sense you are? I’m not sure. By explanation I would mean mapping a bunch of phenomena onto a tautology. The tautology being such that you cannot doubt the steps contained within it. The propositions you can doubt, but the steps you cannot. If P…then P…all right. This means that what is contained in the tautology is relations, only relations

Paul Ryan: Right.

Gregory Bateson: In order to explain, we build a tautology and map the things onto the tautology. And in order to strengthen our explanation we shall then go into what Peirce calls abduction and find other cases under that tautology.
(Metalogue: Gregory Bateson, Paul Ryan via earthscore.org)

In a computer, which works by cause and effect, with one transistor triggering another, the sequences of cause and effect are used to simulate logic. Thirty years ago, we used to ask: Can a computer simulate all the processes of logic? The answer was “yes,” but the question was surely wrong. We should have asked: Can logic simulate all sequences of cause and effect? The answer would have been: “no.” (Gregory bateson, Mind and Nature)

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Make Free Play Great Again

FreePlay-April 17-2016

Free Play’s ethic, as I understand it since 2002, is to integrate a wide variety of motivations to participate in our ongoing experiment. This does include integrating those who are primarily concerned with winning, and concerned with their own performance, but this ethic is not congruent with imposing one’s own competitive ethic on one another. Everybody gets to play and do their own thing as long as this doesn’t poison the very ethic under which we successfully integrate this great jumble and mash-up of aspirations.

This game is in no way, primarily or secondarily, about winning/losing. Free Play Softball is about spontaneously self-organizing to provide a deeply human opportunity for PLAY and PLEASURE and big hearted, freely enjoined, FUN.

Blue-Cap-1080

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Pareto Trap

Pareto-Trap

Years ago I offered to a musician I was working with (what struck me at the time) to be a commonsense insight: spend your time leveraging your fans who get it and much less time trying to convince every last person to like your music. We then discussed the powerful draw the unconverted have on the creative person’s aspiration to have their creations liked.

At the time, my sense of marketing music was attached to three ideas, (1) think globally, act locally, (2) thoroughly understand what any middleman does, and what is in it for them (3) Who gets it? Always be mindful of the 80/20 Rule.

The 80/20 Rule, the Pareto Efficiency, suggests that in any deployment of resources, such as personal time and energy, there are optimal, and, sub-optimal matchings. If one spends time on converting hard cases, that time is lost forever. But, it could be spent converting both easy cases and strong ‘leaners.’

(Although I don’t work in the music business anymore, I would add a fourth principle to my simple foundational set: (4) Any minute spent on “A” cannot be recovered to spend on [B]. Time is lost forever.)

A friend described the proliferation of dating dead ends and asked me how much a hard dating case should be indulged. She described a stereotypical kind of prospective romantic partner: afraid to diligently pursue deeper connection.

(her) When does one give up?

(me) As soon as you realize the person is combining fear and lack of self-awareness.

(her) This often pops up on the first date.

(me) Better you find out sooner, rather than later.

(her) Harsh suggestion!

(me) 80/20 Rule. After all, the optimal efficiency is realized when you are having a first date with a self-aware man who is fearless about partnering.

PARETO TRAP >my term :-)

The Pareto Trap, a construct of critical cognition, states that systemic feedback in some occasions of Pareto inefficiency will reinforce that the negative subject is all there is.

We only have customers with problems.

There are only scared man-child single men.

This follows from the inefficient deployment of cognitive resources that experientially accrue and come to bias the operative system self-awareness.

To break the Pareto Trap, in the dating example, means to spend less time with unlikely candidates; and, assuming such candidates represent a substantial majority, it may be most efficient to knock each out of contention for the sake of maximizing an encounter with a rarer, likely candidate.

(As several of my close friends know, at least this is an experiment one can do.)

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System Attractions – Seek simplicity, and distrust it. (A.N. Whitehead)

Complex Matrix

What follows is brief foray into a schematic phenomenology about what comes easy and what comes hard. Ha! Don’t bother googling schematic phenomenology!

Complex Matrix 2

This schema is a picture of my general meaning-making relationship to two joined aspects of any system. This schema summarizes this relationship, so, it represents a Hard Simplicity itself. The schema is simple because it summarizes complexity and leaves out a lot of detail, it is hard because it isn’t in the least bit self-evident. If it needs explanation, it is to a degree, hard,

Imagine there is an axle at the intersection of the axis, and, so the matrix itself can revolve. The schema captures the usual starting configuration for me in the ecology of a human system. By way of explanation, more information is needed. So: I’m a very forceful intuitive and I tend throw myself right into such a human system. That this system is by definition complicated, and that the full grain of its complexity is not revocable, means, in summary, that, often, this complexity is hard for me to see. The negative habit is: I do not, literally, at the beginning, naturally care enough,  to see the fine grain of complexity. Bull, meet china shop.

At the same time, I have natural access to proven tools which allow me to discover and integrate systems elements, operations and data. This personal process operates on the continuum marked between Simple-Hard and Simple-Easy. Simple-Easy is the most accessible, is easiest for me. But, it isn’t satisfying, so I knock at the door of Complex-Easy.

What could be easier than that, right? And yet, maintaining simplicity is not only difficult, it is often ill-advised. In virtually any context—business planning, software development, pizza making—the immature simplicity associated with first drafts, early prototypes, and initial versions tends to be unsatisfyingly empty. Such partial solutions are necessary starting points but inadequate as final products because they lack the essential qualities found in more mature versions. Keeping things simple impedes progress, which is why we add things to our designs. We make them more complicated in order to make them better. It is only when we go too far that an epic level of complexity makes the final product unusable.

And this is where things can get a little tricky. Just because there is such a thing as too simple and such a thing as too complex does not mean the best solution sits in a mythical sweet spot between simplistic and complicated, as if the territory in question could be represented by a single straight line. Reality is more complicated than that, and straight lines seldom make for interesting journeys. There are bends in the road we need to be aware of. If we overlook them we’ll either end up following the road to a bad part of town or jumping off the tracks entirely. Dan Ward, The Simplicity Cycle: Soda, Swordsmen, and Road Maps | Simplicity Manifesto pdf

Attention and practice allow me to rotate the Hard-Complex into the realm where my proven tools are effective. Still, I’m not able to effectively drive my meaning-making and understanding of the Hard-Complex into the brightest light where, and at which point, my most positive and practiced tools for systems awareness are always a snap to access.

Rotation is not metaphoric in this respect: the polarities of the schema reflect that attention is largely deployed, and its focal point guided toward, the direction of the single poles of these basic classes. Where one side comes into greater resolution, the other side recedes.

There is a reflexive third order cybernetic aspect too: self-observation verifies that this blind spot exists when I turn my attention toward the deep grain of my own self-system.

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Moral Perception

Paysage avec Orion aveugle cherchant le soleil - Nicolas Poussin -  1658

Paysage avec Orion aveugle cherchant le soleil – Nicolas Poussin – 1658

What can we learn from Buddhist moral psychology? Jay L. Garfield (excerpt from Engaging Buddhism: Why it Matters to Philosophy

It is hard to avoid the conclusion that perception itself is morally charged. If I see women as tools, or Latinos as fools, the damage is done. That perception involves the formation of intentions that are morally problematic on their face, and that lead to harms of all kinds. Perceiving in that way makes me a morally reduced person. If, on the other hand, I perceive people as opportunities to cooperate, or to provide benefit, I perceive in a way that involves the construction of morally salutary intentions, good on their face, and productive of human goods. For this reason, much Buddhist ethical discourse eschews the articulation of duties, rules or virtues, and aims at the transformation of our mode of perceptual engagement with the world. Moral cultivation, on this view, is the cultivation of a way of seeing, not in the first a instance a way of acting.

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Yet, We Converse With Each Other

Hexagram44
Hexagram 44
Your name or your person,
Which is dearer?
Your person or your goods,
Which is worth more?
Gain or loss,
Which is a greater bane?
That is why excessive meanness
Is sure to lead to great expense;
Too much store
Is sure to end in immense loss.
Know contentment
And you will suffer no disgrace;
Know when to stop
And you will meet with no danger.
You can then endure.

QUESTIONS

What is your personal ideology, and, how does it track back to its source in your personal culture?

Do we not construct somewhat congruent collections of best explanations?

Everybody lives in their own subjective world, or, not?

PROVISIONS

Every individual is dedicated in explicable and inexplicable ways to their favorite: dispositions, habits of thinking and feeling, heuristic tools, automatic responses, etc..

Individual comprehension of what are apparently objective features of the world are: variable, often warrantless, and, these comprehensions are, finally, usually subjective..

The common ground is not itself beyond the intersubjective field.

Each person over time develops, tests, refines, and deploys, their unique folk psychological ideology and toolset.

Often this bundle of suppositions and provisional abductions about, for example, how one’s own mind and other mind’s work, is utilized as the first->second order means to understand another person. It is deployed as if it is comprehensive and commensurate to the task of understanding this other person.

This normal attitude and approach is used by many people who are innocent of its origins (from within their personal culture, subjectivity.)

As a practical matter, eventually meeting the challenge posed by hoping to develop accurate interpersonal and intrapersonal construal requires the negotiation of each other’s self conception, self conception in contexts, language, concepts, suppositions, and, linkages and intrinsic networks, and, all the other potential features of subjective deep beingness. Hey, these considerations are truly, mine alone!

Hexagram 44. Don’t negate me bro for the sake of flattening me so that I may tumble along in your own 2D world. If I wanted to be in your world, I’d have to have been you.

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Touch Recognition

Stephen Calhoun, artist

Gemini’s Sense of Humor (2016) 38×44″

Around the middle of January I received an email from a stranger. This happens often. The question about such emails is: will it sort into the box labeled Serendipitous Contact, or, Internet Scammer?

This one ends up in the former box. Its author had been urged to visit my art web site by a friend from my Vermont chapter. In her email she wrote: I have not begun to plumb the depths of your site, but I am grateful to learn the word pareidolia. I create art and music that is pareidolic (word?) in process. Previously, I have just called it “clarifying the images”. Thanks for the new vocabulary. When I googled pareidolia, I also learned the word apophenia. Also a great phenomenon.

J.S. hipped me to the artist Remedios Varo. Fantastic!

via Wikiart

via Wikiart

She suggested I might correspond with her friend, Genese. She described her friend: She has a great mind, and the spirit of a wild sprite.

Pareidolia, Seeing Patterns, Making Meaning – Genese Grill

Here are two excerpts from longer, and essential, posts. Ms. Grill doesn’t publish posts often, but when she does, her consciousness lights up her subject matter.

AN APOLOGY FOR MEANING The artist, as the “creative subject” par excellence, re-vivifies stale images and ossified words, dissolving the fixed relations and drawn boundaries around entities and forging new meaningful connections between materiality and imagination, individual particularity and archetypal abstraction.

CORRESPONDENCE AND DIFFERENCE A sense of what is beautiful, evidently, is at least somewhat natural and universal. And the works of art or ritual made with this sense of what is beautiful still resonate with a mysterious significance, even if we today cannot fully understand or believe in the things that were sacred to the people who made them. Translation across time and cultures is needed for a more approximate comprehension of the objects, but something very powerful, something powerfully familiar is present even without a struggle. What we want is to maintain the strangeness, while approaching a comprehension. What we must avoid is to diminish difference in the interest of a complete and total correspondence.

I haven’t taken up L.S.’s suggestion. I will. The outreach recently coming my way through the serendipitous transmission has tipped a bit, and so it will be my own effort which brings it back in balance.

Why? Is the highest artistry given in the penetrating and receptive engagement of intracommunicating being?

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Art Meets Science & Spirituality in a Changing Economy

1990 Amsterdam

Published on Nov 26, 2013
Part 1: “FROM FRAGMENTATION TO WHOLENESS” This film features the Dalai Lama speaking on the nature of mind and on his personal feelings as leader of the Tibetans in exile, the physicist David Bohm, who explains his theory of the “implicate order”; and interviews with artist Robert Rauschenberg and Russian economist Stanislav Menshikov. Artists, scientists, spiritual leaders and economists gathered in Amsterdam in 1990 to explore the emerging paradigm of a holistic world view and the implications for a global economy. The five day confernce was inspired by the artists Joseph Beuys and Robert Filliou, and manifested by Louwrien Wijers, who called it a “mental sculpture.”
Part 1/5: “FROM FRAGMENTATION TO WHOLENESS” (Dalai Lama, David Bohm, Robert Rauschenberg)
Part 2/5: “THE CHAOTIC UNIVERSE” (Ilya Prigogine, John Cage, Huston Smith)
Part 3/5: “CRISIS OF PERCEPTION” (Francisco Varela, Mother Tessa Bielecki)
Part 4/5: “THE TRANSORMING WORLD” (Rupert Sheldrake, Sogyal Rinpoche, Lawrence Weiner)
Part 5/5: “THE SHIFTING PARADIGM” (Marina Abramovic, Fritjof Capra, Raimon Panikkar)
PLAYLIST “Art Meets Science & Spirituality in a Changing Economy”

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Cube-O-Probe: How to Work With a New Team

Cube-O-Probe

Classic four square CoP roll. The so-called heavenly quadrants are above the center, and the hellish quadrants are below.

This is a very clear and direct roll of the Cube-O-Probe, framed by the intention,

Give me crucial hints about working with the new team.

My reflections on it clarified for me the necessity of allowing the wise ones to have their say and impact, trusting their wisdom for the sake of my own development, understanding that the project aims for my own stability–but that it is not yet an obvious possibility–and, my sense that I need to mediate my own inquisitiveness.

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Co-Incidence? experiential learning Cycle and Adventist Theology

Kairos devo

As I understand it, the most simple definition of a contemporary Kairos moment is: the moment at which the inborn Christological consciousness is instantiated as an active essential commission.

In adventist theology, the two perfect instances of Kairos were the birth of Christ, and, his resurrection.

graph-of-time

(See: Myth, Faith, and History in the New Testament
Author(s): Paul L. Hammer
Journal of Bible and Religion, Vol. 29, No. 2 (Apr., 1961), pp. 113-118)

Kolb-Model

Meanwhile, it is notable that my colleague David A. Kolb’s constuctivist-cognitivist learning cycle echoes the schema of the Kairos moment.

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Nora Bateson: Between generations: gaps, links and learning

Università degli Studi di Milano – Bicocca

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Slow, Steady, and Permanent

Your half hour will be well spent in a close engagement with the thought of Mr. Varela.

Recovering Common Sense
The tacit assumption behind the varieties of cognitive realism (cognitivism, emergence, and the society of mind) has been that the world can be divided into regions of discrete elements and tasks. Cognition consists in problem solving, which must, if it is to be successful, respect the elements, properties, and relations within these pre-given regions.

This approach to cognition as problem solving works to some degree for task domains in which it is relatively easy to specify all possible states. Consider for example the game of chess. It is relatively easy to define the constituents of the “space of chess”: there are positions on the board, rules for movements, turns that are taken, and so on. The limits of this space are clearly defined; in fact, it is an almost crystalline world. It is not surprising, then, that chess playing by computer is an advanced art.

For less circumscribed or well-defined task domains, however, this approach has proved to be considerably less productive. Consider, for example, a mobile robot that is supposed to drive a car within a city. One can still single out in this “driving space” discrete items, such as wheels and windows, red lights, and other cars. But unlike the world of chessplaying, movement among objects is not a space that can be said to end neatly at some point. Should the robot pay attention to pedestrians or not? Should it take weather conditions into account? Or the country in which the city is located and its unique driving customs? Such a list of questions could go on forever. The driving world does not end at some point; it has the structure of ever-receding levels of detail that blend into a nonspecific back- ground. Indeed, successfully directed movement such as driving de- pends upon acquired motor skills and the continuous use of common sense or background know-how. (Chapter 8, The Embodied Mind)

Varela passed away in 2001. What would he think about self-driving cars, and self-navigating drones? On one hand, he would no doubt be impressed by the effective programming underlying the operational flexibility in such robotic machines. On the other hand he would have every reason to remind us about the inherent uncertainty in particular task domains.

Embodied Cognition Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy

Archive.org full text Francisco J. Varela, Evan T. Thompson, Eleanor Rosch The Embodied Mind Cognitive Science And Human Experience MIT Press (1993)

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Contexting

DIFFUSION from Kouhei Nakama on Vimeo.

Let the lover be disgraceful, crazy,
absentminded. Someone sober
will worry about things going badly.
Let the lover be.

version of Rumi by Coleman Barks

Years ago at a workshop South African composer and instrumentalist Abdullah Ibrahim asked the class,

What makes the music?

Nobody had a ready answer in a classroom full of musicians. Dr. Ibrahim went on to challenge the class about the nature of the so-called instrument. What is it, really?

I also recall Alan Watts asserting:

What the planet earth does is: people. It peoples.

For my own part, I’m all over the idea that what we do in making partial sense of what we are doing with where we are at, is neatly addressed by the conception of:

interfacing contexting


Stephen Nachmanovitch’s Youtube channel

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Mindscapes

Learning to Dance In Bali from Fabio Peres on Vimeo.

heterogenistics | Professor Magoroh Maruyama

Endogeneous research::Research done by “objective” researchers coming from the outside suffers from several problem such as epistemological, cultural and social prejudices, misunderstanding due to different background and experiences etc. Endogeneous reseach on the other hand is research conducted by “people on the inside” i.e. people with an understanding of the social and cultural codes that exist in the community studied.

Mindscapes::A structure of reasoning, cognition, perception, conceptualization. design, planning, and decision making that may vary from one individual, profession, culture or social group to another.

Mindscapes (Epistemological Types)

H-type I-type S-type G-type
homogenist heterogenist heterogenist heterogenist
hierarchial independent interactive interactive
classificational random pattern-maintaining pattern-generating
copetitive uniquing cooperative cogenerative
zero-sum negative-sum positive-sum positive-sum
opposition separation absorbtion outbreeding
one truth subjective poly-ocular poly-ocular
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Hey, I Felt That!

23 Emotions People Feel But Can't Explain

At first, I didn’t check out the origins of this list. It is, for me, a curious collection of folk psychological notions. It includes radically non-normative associations between a conjured term, and, several varieties of explanatory material. I looked up the last term and discovered the source, a literary project roosting on Tumblr.

The definitions include many that are aspirational, and this echoes Antonio Damasio below, when he says: “…exercising that prerogative” and goes on to describe the focal consciousness of concentrated human performance.

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Today, You Called

the-way-of-zen-cats

zen_dogballf

Bumper sticker: DOGS HAVE MASTERS, CATS HAVE STAFF

Alan Watts

KizzyOct2015

Kizzy, here she is.

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Up And Down

cartoon

Our focus on the person is at once a great accomplishment and a significant risk. It is a great accomplishment because it signifies our recognition of every human being’s free participation in transcendent truth and goodness. Yet, it is also a risk because focusing so intensely on ourselves invites existential derailment in so many ways. We are likely to misunderstand ourselves. We might try to turn away from the insecurity or responsibility of personal existence. And prone as we are to self-love, is it prudent for us to articulate transcendent truth and goodness through a celebration of ourselves? The empirical evidence is not always encouraging. Surveying what has become of our articulation of the person, we cannot help but ask: is the modern turn to the subject a deepening of the Christian insight into the transcendent meaning of existence, or is it a Promethean revolt against God and the order of being? – Steven McGuire, Voeglin View

Is the modern turn to the subject a deepening of the Christian insight into the transcendent meaning of existence, or is it a Promethean revolt against God and the order of being?

Both, and moreover a revolt evoked from the flux of the order of being too; so: both/and.

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