Advanced Outreaches in Tower Work

This topic contains 15 replies, has 5 voices, and was last updated by  Philip McShane 10 months, 3 weeks ago.

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  • #613

    Philip McShane

    The title of this topic, by including the word “Tower,” makes it evident that we are having a shot at entering a functional specialty (F1–F8) or perhaps the “fruit” (Method, 355) area called C9. Most of us are fairly bewildered by this identification problem, so I suggest that contributions that are indefinite might at least have an initial tag to indicate what might be called “puzzled hope.” Simply tag your contribution at the beginning in a loose manner, e.g., F3, or maybe F7, or C9. Other contributors might help focus the specialty.

    Note that those who reply have a problem of tagging appropriately. Reply-contributions in the area of dispute is formalized at the end of Method page 250 in what I call Lonergan’s 1833 Overture, so the tag would include F4.

    A context for understanding this topic is provided in “Communications and Metaphysics as Science,” chapter 16 of The Allure of the Compelling Genius of History (Axial Publishing, 2015), 187-97.

  • #645

    Philip McShane

    It is optimal, in any discipline, if the goal of the enterprise is, at least vaguely, at best in full heuristics, intimated intimately to the beginners. This I found to be true in my days of lecturing physics: one could talk there, at least implicitly, of the norms of the climb to a Standard Model. So, here I risk beginning with a unifying hint that relates not only to this part of the Forum but to the other parts, reaching for beginners’ searchings of Lonergan’s beginnings in Method 3-4, in economics, in local situations. The problem we have is to have a better hint of the “third way . . . difficult and laborious” (Method, 4).

    The hint is there, indeed, in the final short section of Method: “may they all be one” (367). Further, the hint is there in Insight’s Epilogue’s puzzle: “it may be asked in what department of theology the historical aspect of the development may be treated” (Insight, 765). His searching answer there is the problem of centering a treatise on the mystical body. The mystical body is a developing finitude: its appreciation is a sublation of a philosophy of history. That development, like the sunflower’s development, is a sequence of stumbling genetic operations (useful here is a venture into my Cantower 2, with its Christological bent, “Sunflowers Speak to Us of Growing”). What is relevant in theology is for it to be centered in the advanced grip on the advance that is the Son Flowering. Where, in the laborious third way, is that central advancing grip to be advanced, “that they may be one”? Briefly, it is in the task named in Method 250: Comparison. What do botanists compare today’s best shot at understanding the sunflower? They compare it to the best integral front-line grip of the sunflower’s genetic dynamics. (I slide past here the problem of layers of genetics in the genetic meta-analysis of the genetic reality). So, in our future theology’s turn to a mature scientific genetic genuflection to Jesus, there is to emerge in mature theologians, in first year students struggle to glimpse “The Church” (the old first year course, in my day titled, “De Ecclesia”), in the heartland of the laity, a gripping grip on the “joy and zeal” (Insight, 722, the final two words of that ‘repentance’ page) of finitude’s elements lifted – in the Spirit, to the Father – by the causalities of Christ’s humanity towards the everlasting neurodynamics of a minding Jesus. Perhaps an early expression of that gripping grip, in Cantower 2’s poem, would give some sense of a distant community of Christians “groaning” (Romans 8:19) with the cosmos for the blossoming of “the greatest of all works” (The Triune God: Systematics, CWL 12, 491).

    “Sun, flowers, Son-flowered,
    Speak to us of growth
    Seed cauled, cribbed,
    Kabod yet confined,
    Crossed with dark earth,
    Rill open-ends a trill
    Annotaste of Throat.”

  • #1068

    Philip McShane

    This post is entered in all zones of the Forum, for I wish to draw attention to the urgent need for a precise “effective intervention” (Phenomenology and Logic, CWL 18, 306) in the committedly—though ignorantly, especially in brain-washed students—decadent and destructive flow of Lonergan studies.

    I have identified the three first paragraphs (call them T1, A, and T2) of Method (3–4) as placing the entire book in the full and shocking context of the two Times (T1 and T2) of the temporal subject (The Triune God: Systematics, CWL 12, 403–409) with the Axial period between. Now you have an initial meaning for the three paragraphs. [The second, “A”, paragraph raises massive questions of psychological disorientations weaved round the emergence of language, breeding and breathing in talk of language that sucks us and soaks us and suckers us molecularly into truncation: A for Axial, or might I use my wife’s new word, Assholy—there’s a nice view of Whitsons “Convergence” problem!]. Lonergan is writing to Axial people, as a molecularly evolutionary sport who edged into T2 and reached a decently full “distinguishing of the successive stages of the greatest of works” (The Triune God: Systematics, CWL 12, 491).

    His disciples, who for the most part missed the meaning of the first page (3) of Method, are locked into an “Axiadermatosic disciplines” approach and have little clue about Lonergan’s brilliant pointing to the positive Anthropocene Age grounded in a new global science of humanity. Do we all know, even vaguely, what the two end words of Method page 3 mean? If not, we should be battling here towards their meaning. So, for example, economics is at present an academic discipline, fucked-up and fucking up everything else.

    In all our areas, then, this is a key naming that needs a struggle beyond initial meanings. The struggle should focus on the disgustingly missing effort of Lonergan students—60 years on—to be honest about Insight 17.3. Might we struggle here, or by e-mails, AND make an effective intervention in Lonergan studies by airing our disgust to any Lonerganesque context we can reach? [P.S. Feel free to send this post to Lonerganesque acquaintances.]

  • #1131

    Philip McShane

    This week I was asked by a European professor familiar with Lonergan’s work if I might give a sketch of the cycle of functional collaboration to help nudge forward the process. At first I mused over the request as paralleling a joke Lonergan told in Easter week of 1961 about Einstein being asked to explain relativity in simple non-equation language. Yet, here I am now, viewing the question as worth answering. Yes, there are partial sketches available already: the book, Seeding Global Collaboration (edited by Patrick Brown and James Duffy, Axial Publishing, 2016); Divyadaan: Journal of Philosophy & Education 28/2 (2017). But might I give an illustration, somewhat in the fashion of a Scientific American article, on a recent advance in the Standard Model? Well, let me give it a shot.

    First I would ask you to imagine that there is a standard model controlling the cycling: a shared contemporary theology symbolized by my W3 and the trio FS + GS + UV. Let us suppose that it is the fruit of Lonergan’s efforts represented by his Collected Works. Now think of beginning in the first specialty: instead of, say, the problem surrounding the Higgs particle that is considered worth pushing further, we have that same attitude, “worth pushing further,” of this specialty Research [The character of the specialty was treated by me in the length of a full volume (Journal of Macrodynamic Analysis, 9 (2016): imagine this being done for each of the specialties and thus providing the ethos of what I am about to sketch] expressed in the claim “Lonergan’s puzzle about the treatise on the mystical body (Insight, 763–64) is worth considering.” A research group would spin freshly round that treatise as it weaved its way shadowly through humanity’s search for its identity. In particular, it would sift through Lonergan scholarship’s recent efforts to tackle Lonergan’s puzzle. There are in fact various effort e.g. in ecclesiology, but one effort attracts attention: the one put forth in McShane’s The Road to Religious Reality (Axial Publishing, 2012). The publishing date sows a seed of suspicion: six years later it has still not been weaved into puzzlings of progress regarding the standard model. The suspicion is that present work is not in a global science of theology but in isolated schools that dodge global interest: what Lonergan described to me in Dublin, Easter, 1961, as “big frogs in little ponds”.

    At all events, the functional specialists in research have done their job when they pass on an ordering of the data on the issue [again, I skim along here, leaving you to imagine that the ordering and the passing on is done wisely, as in a relay race or in automobile structuring].

    What goes on in the next group, the relevant interpretation group? It is a matter of contextualizing the suggestions of McShane fully by a lift into the present standard model. So, for instance, that model has a weak spot in the zone of eschatology. Does McShane’s view of the treatise on the mystical body as identifiable with the core of Comparison (Method, 250) bring in post-pilgrim perspectives on that central element in a theology of finitude? The Interpreting community finds the relevant hints in McShane’s article, “Insight and the Trivialization of History,” in the first volume of Divyadaan: Journal of Philosophy & Education 28/1 (2017), on page 126 [notice that this finding might have occurred in the first specialty, but still there is the next step to which I turn]. There are, alas, only hints. Should I add them in here, even though you might prefer to skip on in a first reading, to my next challenge, the big stumbling block of scientific interpretation? Why not? Here you are, a passage from that page 126 that ends with “neurochemistry of memory”:

    Various Beginnings, BL text from Rome. (see beginning of my The Everlasting Joy of Being Human, Axial Publishing, 2013) 2002 Cantower project + Rahner‘s lecture (Theological Studies 2000, 3–15: lack of eschatology. See Cantower 33, note 24.). Your beginning now perhaps, questions of terminal value and enlightenment and happiness within broad cosmic destiny. Paul Davies Last Three Minutes. Terminal values: MIT 51. Relate to Insight 18, 1.3. Relate to CWL 10 TED, source of MIT 48 spread. Relate to contemplative climb HOW 13, and of course, HOW 11. Back to Cantower project, to Cantowers round 117. On to Contra Gentiles IV, 83-88, re Thomas messing with old cosmology; [I leave you to think out (i) 83, no food, O.K.; sex? Think out neurodynamics; (ii) the judgment stuff and the punishment stuff, towards a rescuing of all]: on to 97, however: door-opening, ‘the entire bodily creation will be changed’, + ‘no plants or animals’. CG IV, 97 {5}, which leads on to end note 86, p. 125 of The Everlasting Joy of Being Human. [Neurodynamics of memories of pets to be handled.] Cosmic negentropy and neurodynamics of the resurrected Jesus, ‘that he might fill all things’ Eph 4: 10, quoted in CG IV, 87 re ‘place’: articles that follow need note 13, page 13 of CWL 18). And add energy = material prima. Two useful numbers 1080 and 1025, recalling Eddington number of cosmic protons: 1.5 by 1079; then number in brain. More re neurodynamics and chemo-needs of ‘isolated’ brain, e.g. oxygen, spinal fluid, etc. [Google: “is it possible to keep a brain alive detached from its body?” : but the question needs a much broader context]. Crown of the positive Anthropocene. “With these eyes” (Job 19:26-7), CG IV 84 {14} but put in the broad context of the previous brackets: full contemplative achievement of ‘so it comes about’ (Insight 537, 11 lines from end): existential dimension of ‘seen’ street molecules e.g. in autos, tied in with Insight 722, end lines, sublated into Notional Act of Clasping, etc. [enlarging bottom of W3 and also meaning of ‘+’ at top of W3]. The destiny of these molecules of mine. Kim Noble pointer: 50+ year old woman/painter with 100+ personalities. Jesus: 100 billion+ persons in the Eschaton’s neurodynamics. Again, memory problem, e.g., re Old Jerusalem included in New Jerusalem, e.g., the remembering of the donkey of Palm Sunday. The integrally-minded in the non-Noah’s ark (cf. CWL 18) of divine minding: but Trinitarian. The core holding contemplative climb up through the 26 places in chapter 19 + on through q. 27 Summa. Relate to ‘God not an object,’ [MIT 342] and connect to ‘originating values and terminal values can coincide’ (MIT 51). The whole perspective gives a mighty lift to the ‘characterization’ of the historical causality of Christ (see Allure, 244, note 36: add note 44 on page 246, an everlasting ‘Hello’), to St. Paul’s and St. Patrick’s perspective on Christ’s presence, to Crowe’s efforts in History of the Word, to Sacrament of the Present Moment stuff. Also think of the new twist on ‘this is my body.’ Finally back to re-read Insight 544, line 13: ‘the universe can bring forth its own unity in the concentrated form of a single intelligent view.’ Think all out in the contemplatext of you being one of the secondary intelligibles of the 14th place, [Insight 683], you being thus practically Thought of lovingly, in the Subjectivities of God, as thinking here-now the full Eschaton that includes the positive opposite of God, energy, as meshed with God through Incarnation, Sonflower-blossomed.

    I am talking here of the tower reach, functional prayerful cycling, but there seems increasingly [e.g. science + fictions like Voyager etc.] a pastoral-outreach culture-context. The whole thing gives a quite new and rich perspective on Romans 8’s groaning cosmos. All the molecules etc since the big bang yearning for, bent on being in, the minding of the Second Person and that Person + 100 billion persons in a final dynamic of Agonbite of InWithTo. [But now the contemplative problem of HOW 13 weaving into common sense: this seems to me to be the central problem of present culture, in and out of the Tower of Theology: adult growth in Kataphatic contemplation: see the appendices in Allure.] Can give a popular better grip on ‘where we are all going,’ a grip on the sensed world, an optimism about the ‘salvaging’—Christoffering, [recall Christoffel tensor stuff: Lindsay and Margenau, 362] of physic-chemical. Pet problem and ‘garden’ context have to be handled: need for virtual reality stuff and neurochemistry of memory.

    “The problem of interpretation can best be introduced” (Insight, 585). LOL: thus Lonergan begins that dark climb to Insight 609–10. Briefly, the hints just given have to be lifted into the best “level of the times” genetic heuristic of finitude. Here I just must skip on: your climbing effort involves you moving into my website series, Interpretation. The second specialty, “difficult and laborious” (Method, 4) weaves the hint creatively into the story of meanings, realized or not. Then there is the baton exchange to those who deal with the effective meanings but in the fullest context of history’s “terminal value” (Method, 48). Keep in mind the leaning of this entire enterprize, in the full sense of “what might this be?”

    I am skimming along over the shock of discontinuity of meaning that occurs to the specialists in the first three specialties. So, for instance, there has been little progress in the 750 years since Thomas had a shot at eschatology, and now the members of the first three specialties find themselves plunged into e.g. neurodynamics, its potential for multiple personalities and for the glory of disembodied sexual intimacies. So, Assembly is equally shocking to the elders living, moving and having their being in the meaning of Method 250. Those elders, of course, are not just Christian theologians: but best skip that concrete complexity of convergence and excellence here. What is important is that all are caught in the high challenge of an up-to-date W3. And they are caught in this case, in a paradigm shifting of Comparison’s core. So the climb through lines 18–33 becomes difficult and embarrassing (Method, 299, line 9). From physics to psychology there is an unusual stunning of the dialectic community “when positions are developed and counterpositions are reversed” (ibid., line 33).

    That stunning foundational shift is handing on to the foundational community, whose task is the double duty of recycling and fantasy, but here the fantasy is an awesome task. [I had best refer you here to the conclusion of Terry Quinn’s article “Searching for a Philosophy of History” in Divyadaan 29 (2018).] The awesome task involves a considerable foundational lift in its heuristic topology—recall the intertwining hierarchic eight situation rooms—of the operations of the following three specialties, and indeed in the poise of C9 in all zones and religions in global culture. It lifts into a strange luminosity of neuromolecularity, if you like, the task so quietly specified at the end of the thirteenth place of Insight’s chapter 20 (p. 722, end): “good will wills the order of the universe, and it does so with that order’s dynamic joy and zeal.” All, then, come, in the positive Anthropocene age—a Bell-curve business of all swept slowly into a global positive haute vulgarization of a fresh luminosity about the cosmic sowing of what—to read quite differently the beginning and follow-through of the tale of the first paragraph of The Allure of the Compelling Genius of History, chapter one, “Sow What”:

    The emergence of humanity is the evolutionary achievement of sowing what among the cosmic molecules. The sown what infests the clustered molecular patterns behind and above your eyes, between your ears, lifting areas—named by humans like Brocca and Wernicke—towards patterned noise-making that in English is marked by “so what?”

  • #1132

    William Zanardi

    Last week I wondered whether the heavy reliance on citations that you criticized might still survive in the first two functional specialties. My second thought was that saying “this is worth recycling” presupposes some front-line position is in place and that the speaker sees the new material as either refining it or posing a serious challenge to it. In either case there is to be a new measure of the relevance of citations that is missing in academic discourse today. Any third thoughts on this?

  • #1133

    Philip McShane

    It helps, I think, to think of present work in particle physics, with its standard model. Obvious is the data-sifting that occurs at, so to speak, ground level: the tracks of present experiments and their related ‘formulaic’ treatments are observed. “Observed”: the minding context is the up-to-date view, including its questions. [Perhaps you might be more at home with (a) football and its coaching; (b) dance performance and pushes forward in the zone: anything that helps].

    Now FS 1 (and FS 8) as I have envisaged them for a decade, [see, for example, my “Arriving in Cosmopolis”] has to have a much larger population than the other specialties. The full observing is to be the broadest tuning in to ups and downs of progress. So, e.g., you have to add to data-sifting, in your fantasy, siftings in interpretation, history, etc. So, there is a screening of irrelevant name-carryings [related to the name-droppings of academic disciplines] right from the start of FS cycling.

    After a pause here it seems best to leave that as a suggestion for vigorous fantasy—helped perhaps my the series I refer to below. We are simply not used to such efforts of fantasy: indeed present scholarship is, might I say, feebly fantastic (or fantastically feeble?!). So I would ask us all to think fantastically of the double challenge. There is the main challenge, one—it seems to me—solidly dodged in Lonerganism—of climbing as a community to the relevant parts of Lonergan’s standard model. [Need I mention again the absence of any effort AT ALL to grip and implement the meaning of that paragraph Insight 609–10?]. There is the secondary challenge, which weaves us into the first, of facing into imagining and puttering into serious functional research. In my previous note two days ago, I mentioned my own efforts and pointings in that area: instead of the few pages of Method chapter 6 there is the full volume of the Journal of Macrodynamic Analysis vol. 9 (2016). That volume is in fact only the beginnings of the previous effort to get some seriousness into the Lonergan community about the dodging of the massive global needs. The Volume contains 9 [FuSe 1–9] essays of the series, FuSe, which I terminated after 31 essays: there was no group momentum. FuSe Zero, the first essay was “A Simple Appeal for Functional Collaboration.” Should I repeat that appeal? I suspect that I will be long dead before Lonerganism either stops its bluffing or simply fades back into decadent Thomism—coloured of course with the bird-droppings of dropped contemporary names!

  • #1134

    Philip McShane

    My entry in the Forum of last week, in this sub-section, [October 26, 2017 at 5:11 a.m.] is of some serious consequence. The evident point was to give a brief sketch of the functional cycle operating; the less evident point was to expose Lonerganism as being a betrayal of Lonergan, and indeed of Thomas, in their efforts to reach an operable grip on an effective redemptive structuring of human inquiry. That less evident point was made in a decently evident way. Parallel something like a major problem in modern physics—Maxwell, Schrödinger, Higgs, whatever—with a major problem in modern theology, and check the difference. Is the problem of locating the place of discussing the body of Christ, pilgrim and glorious, a major problem? Try skimping it down on this Forum, preferably in the mood of The Lonergan 1833 Overture [Method, 250, lines 18-33] and prepare for my teeth! So, there is my solution to the problem, dangling there these past years: unnoticed, unchallenged. The like does not regularly happen in physics. [Well, sometimes the point is missed for a while, as with Feynman’s work, mentioned below]. It happens regularly in cliquish academic disciplines.

    I have, on this Forum, sketched Lonergan’s perspective expressed in the first three paragraphs of Method: a perspective that places us, yes, us, in that backward zone called the Axial Period, and in the world of the second paragraph of Method. Thomas is in there too, but with his gallant effort to fit a science of redemption into Aristotle’s pocketnook. Finding the structure of that science of redemption was the goal of Lonergan’s long and suffering life. On the way he said a few things about being authentic morally and religiously, and about patterns of growing meaning and flower-growing: but these are side-issues to the main issue of tailing and tale-making Isaiah 2:2–4 so as to effectively collaborate with Jesus in “distinguishing the successive stages of this, the greatest of works” (CWL 12, The Truine God: Systematics, 491), from so-called “Eve and Adam” (Finnegans Wake, beginning) to the open-ended Surprise of Divine adopted Parenting. The X of Cosmopolis has always been the issue, and how to surround its ongoing global care with effective global inquiry. Lonergan’s contribution is a leap on the road, but it is no more a grip on the effective structure of inquiry than Schrödinger’s famous equation was—or is—an effective structuring of quantum computering or quantum cosmology. In his end-of-life interviews with Val Rice Lonergan remarked that he was not pushing on with functional stuff: he was leaving that to his disciples. His disciples, in the main, show no interest in pushing forward, even in the lesser tasks noted in Insight and Method. Two paragraphs I tiresomely refer to—(1) Insight 609–10, and (2) Method 287, “one can go on”—bring out that lesser failure. But the great failure is the burying of the main issue, which is brought out by my challenge, tuned to Lonergan: “Do you view humanity as possibly maturing—in some serious way—or just messing along between good and evil, whatever you think they are?” Can you envisage reversing the sick glossy techno-decline of China, or of the U.S.A., or of your local community?

    Is this tuned to Lonergan, who ends Method with a final scripture quotation about Jesus desire, “… may they all be one …”? Is my view of the first three paragraphs of Method in tune with Lonergan: are they Lonergan’s meaning of the late sixties? We might get our teeth into that too, à la The Lonergan Overture. I have expressed, in these six past decades, an increasingly complex meaning, a Christian philosophizing, of the nine-fold topological meshing of trans-Christian reflection on human progress. I can think of that climb as towards McShane’s Thesis, and here I am poised with a final parallel in physics, but one where the pressure towards progress has not yet hit the ground: Feynman’s Thesis: A New Approach to Quantum Theory (edited by Laurie M. Brown, 2005; World Scientific). In it there is a constant appeal to “The Principle of Least Action.” In my thesis there is a parallel principle, one that sublates Feynman’s work. That least action is symbolized by baton-exchanges at the edges of functional collaborations. Oddly, I can swing to quite another area for a visual lift towards encouraging symbolization, an image presented more than fifteen years ago (Cantower 1, note 39) which I now quote.

    Pound wrote, “if you clap a strong magnet beneath a plateful of iron filings, the energies of the magnet will proceed to organize form …. the design in the magnetized iron filings expresses a confluence of energy.” (“Affirmations, Vorticism” in The New Age, xvi, Jan 14, 1915, 277). One can sublate Pound’s various reflections on “vorticist man.” Even here, does it not give you a new notion of filing systems?!

    Does it give you some such notion: of the filing systems of “academic disciplines” (Method, 3) and government agencies and financial institutions that are, alas, scattered defiling systems; of their slow Bell-curve replacements by the filling stations of the vorticist people of the positive Anthropocene age to come, later or sooner, depending on your confluence of energy?

    But a little confluent vorticist spin-off is what I ask for at present. As I move towards 86 it seems best “not to sit on my hands” (I am thinking of Fred Crowe’s stand at the end of his Theology of the Christian Word, 149) and “let divine providence pass judgment on traditions” (Method, 80). Rather, it is discomfortingly better for McShane “to lay all his cards on the table” (Ibid., 193). What I would wish from the few participants in this forum, is a spin-off and out to my colleagues—some are friends, some I prefer not to spend time with—who are misguiding students in theology, and, please, spin around into those students if possible. There are, of course, problems regarding the types of professors and students who get into the odd world of present theology, but that’s another problem to be faced in this millennium.

    Theology has never been a science, apart from little islands in Thomas and some few others. Might we, who are interested in Lonergan’s effort, get magnetized together to make a beginning in this “third way … difficult and laborious” (Method, 4)?

  • #1138

    Hugh Williams

    This is dangerous stuff and yet you, Phil, continue to hold some attention. Let me reiterate your question – Do you view humanity as possibly maturing – in some serious way – or just messing along between good and evil, whatever you think they are?
    Can you envisage reversing the sick glossy techno-decline of China, or of the U.S. A., or of your local community?
    One could dismiss such a question as much too big to be meaningful (for oneself or for anyone). Or one could try and come to grips with its eschatological significance.
    But to do so I have to relate it to the goings on within my own horizon as James Duffy tries to do now and again. What then am I to say … ?
    We speak of a “reversing” but there must be some ‘advancing’ in the “reversing” as well.
    Resistance must have some ‘vision of hope’.
    The efforts to organize and improve the community based social and health services sector in NB struggle on …
    We know it is the third largest sector as a work force (mostly women) in the province; surpassed by the numbers who work for government or Irving. The wages are some of the lowest in Canada but these people do the frontline work delivering various services to the elderly and many others with various needs of some significance, ie. health and social services..
    I must say Lonergan’s thought has great relevance for this struggle. Some of which I shared with you in Halifax a while back.
    But to jump ahead in these reflections – can I “envisage reversing the sick”…
    Dare I say this is at least at times a very dangerous and frightening question because it applies to me and well as others – to the ‘subject’ as well as the ‘object’. Lonergan faces up to it as a theologian should, though few have done so thoroughly at the individual, group, and societal/institutional levels.
    However, I certainly cannot envisage any common front with Lonerganians, nor with academics much anywhere. I simply have no grounds for such an undertaking at this stage of my life. But this doesn’t mean engaging serious thinkers or people who on occasion are capable of serious thinking. This I can and will do.
    In our own struggle the issue of ‘political-economy’ is this – do we have the leadership and capacity for ‘mass action’, and do we have the leadership and capacity to build a truly ‘democratic organization’? One can see instinctively almost, the educational dimension to this work at the local level, and how the efforts of reversal come up against what often is said to be “liberalism” or “neo-liberalism” in the sense of the ‘monolithic bureaucracy’ and ‘the pervasive forces of the economic market’. These are big notions/factors but they reflect huge realities at both the global and local levels.
    I believe the evidence is clear in our own struggle we have won the moral argument.
    What is at issue now is the exercise of political power, power in numbers, but with ‘intelligence’, in accord with ‘good reason’. Here we can feel Lonergan’s influence and that of the deep tradition he taps or is rooted in.
    But saying this is not enough … there is also the ‘Pauline like mission’ with patience over time. This involves ‘information technology’ but that is not enough there must be the ‘physical’ visitations going on among actual people. All with a common purpose.
    Moses Coady spoke of such as did Jimmy Tompkins years ago throughout the Maritimes.
    This is necessary now … this is where I go in my ‘fantasy’ when I grip such a question as
    ‘can you envisage reversing the sick … ?’ I do not see any short cuts.
    How do others see it … ?

  • #1139

    Philip McShane

    Hugh: you add magnificently to my struggle. It deserves my full attention and I will muse over your push in the next 30 hours and then reply in the twilight hours of the Feast of All Saints, in as constructive a way as my poise then gives me. But, yes, I too would like, meantime, reactions, answers to your question, “how do others see it?” There is an “Assembly” (the last word on page 249 of Method): might some others join us on page 250 and rise a little to envisage effectively the strategy of reversing the longer cycle of decline, a reversal that is at present quite beyond parliaments, popes, professors and peasants? Did not Bernie Sanders pitch the challenge to us nicely in his recent Toronto speech: who, for example, are to stand effectively against the Koch brothers?

  • #1140

    Philip McShane

    I promised further helpful musings on Hugh’s nudging, so here goes.

    I think of Marx and Engels, of my Prehumous 1: “Teaching High-school Economics: A Common-Quest Manifesto,” and of Lonergan’s comment about Marx’s focus to which Lonergan added a comment about Christianity not having someone like Marx in the British Museum. Yes, Hugh, “one could dismiss such a question as much too big to be meaningful (for oneself or for anyone),” but you courageously make the mad move and connected it to local needs and sicknesses of New Brunswick. What might I helpfully add?

    First, it would be “well with our souls” [the reference here is to an old hymn mentioned relevantly in chapter 19 of The Allure of the Compelling Genius of History, a book that is key to the future of “Assembly” (Method, 249, end)] if Lonergan’s followers took Lonergan seriously and replaced the flow of their scholarly pretence with a C9 attitude towards Lonergan’s economics. Many of them are out of their depth in their present utterings and putterings of scholarship. Yes, there is pretence needed by some to get a job, or even tenure, but then, heavens, they might have a shot at getting real. We need a realistic response to Lonergan’s view of metaphysics. A present few, yes, can try to rise to (Insight, 416, end) the conception and affirmation of the integral heuristic structure of proportionate being, but the majority should accept effectively being more at home in “implementation”: in local zones such as you mention and in particular in nudging those with influence in undergraduate and high-school economics.

    Why do I start with the so-to-speak Lonergan population?

    Because that is the population that I have been primarily addressing for 60 years.

    Why do I turn to economics?

    Because it is the weak and promising zone of dedicated [think of the Koch brothers, and their ilk] global decline. Its weakness and malice and stupidity will become shockingly more manifest as more of us, at this century’s end, begin to wear masks in order to breath. Ecological needs will force us towards replacing Keynes, in a world of Vertical Farming, with “A General Theory of Leisure,” within which leisure kataphatic contemplation will become a new focus (This is a to be a central concern, and could be a short-term nudged success. See my 5 essays on “Foundational Prayer” Prehumous 4–8; the effort required now is pointed out in the sequence of four Appendices in Allure, and pushed forward in my series of essays titled “The Interior Lighthouse”).

    Certainly there is need to reach further: for example, to all levels of people involved in education. Certainly, there is Lonergan’s point, at the end of “Healing and Creating in History”: some other group may catch on to the right pattern of global collaboration. You, Hugh, have tried groups, and others have also (I think of Bob Henman’s gallant but failed efforts in the world of Education in Nova Scotia: a clue for us to the difficult challenge of “bearing fruit” [Method, 355, line 16]). It seems to me that Lonergan followers are significant groups and worth bringing round—a key educational move—to the grim truth that they are being duped by old-style commonsense eclecticism, that Lonergan’s aspirations were as I have identified them. So there is my first line of hope: might there be an “embarrassing of their polite company” (Method, 299), by me, by students, by people like you Hugh, that would force them to get serious about the intent of Jesus and Lonergan? Might such a shift impact the Vatican, so that its pettiness miraculously blossom into Christian seriousness? Like you, Hugh, “I do not see any short cuts.” But we need short-term cutters, like small groupings that are serious about “a resolute and effective intervention in the historical process” (Phenomenology and Logic, CWL 18, 306).

    Talking of cuts, we need the short-term cut out of the type of idiot “effete” (Method, 99, line 10) paper-peddling meetings that prevail in Lonergan studies. Would that not be a start?

    I’ll come back to “starting” immediately after this paragraph, which is a pause regarding, re guarding, the longer haul. We need to start—now and here, in an hour’s pause by you perhaps: is not that an unrealistic suggestion in our sick hurried lives?—generating slowly the molecular ethos in ourselves of humanity being at its beginning, using whatever terms suit and bone and hone self, the group or the occasion [Lonergan’s various pointers, Voegelin’s, Toynbee’s: all quite beyond Jaspers’]. We are perhaps millennia away from a serious Bell-Curve—or heavens, Poisson curve!—start. In “Arriving in Cosmopolis” (on the website in English and Spanish) I talk of the tenth millennium. I concluded the book Allure (pp. 249–251) with an Epilogue on “The Birth of Christianity”: the real birth is to be something of the positive Anthropocene; the present Christian institutions are pattern-locked into the declines of the ongoing sick Axial Period. SO: an ethos of long-term hope is needed, meshed with the local and personal urgency of “saviors without borders” (see the quotation below, “(30)”). The ethos is symbolized in my image of The Leaning Tower of Able: we need to lean, physically and psychically, into a future that calls our molecules into fantasy. One can find the seeds of such a mood in Lonergan’s 1936 “Essay on Fundamental Sociology,” the ending to which is the source of my question, “Do you view humanity …?” Two quotes to cherish from there (Lonergan’s Early Economic Research)—the first sadly applies to schools of Lonergan studies: “As Mme. Kollontai put it, ‘immorality is progressing favorably in the schools’”(28). Am I here being offensive and annoying? Good! Then there is “the stupid appeal to a common language and a unified geographical position as something of real significance” (30). The human future is a global thing, not American nor Chinese, nor indeed ‘United Nations’. Its care and effective control is to be in the elder hands of the fourth and fifth specialties. Now there you have a challenge of fantasy, an Oz beyond Plato’s Republic!

    Back to the issue of starting. There is to be noted first the realism of my Christian philosophy: the drive to the serious interiority, the full generalized interiority of A Third Collection (141 top) is a factual feature of the oddity of that tradition: but I would note that it is not a tradition. There is a bogus version in Lonerganism that sneaks along in “initial meanings” (a central topic in the later parts of Allure), one which no doubt will claim that Aristotle seeded such a tradition. And indeed, regarding starting I would suggest (see chapter 1 of my Method in Theology: Revisions and Implementations) that, whereas Lonergan personally could put his serious interiority in as basic in history (Method, ch. 5, section 3), the historical ground for a tradition of serious interiority is going to be the dynamics of functional cycling. So, probably (stats here: Poisson!) economics and education will ping-pong, in a climate change crisis and ecological revolution, towards a push into bits of FS. Gradually other zones will, literally, get forced into that swing. (Recall my first ineffective push in 1969 re needy musicology (See the The Shaping of the Foundations, chapter 2: a paper of the Florida Lonergan Conference of 1970): the neediness is a set of emergent recurrence schemes for the recurrent-schemes of the cyclic collaboration in all areas of inquiry).

    Back to Lonerganism. There is a central need for the community to take seriously the X in “what is cosmopolis? Like every other object of human intelligence, it is in the first instance an X” (Insight, 263). The community has made no serious effort to get to grips with an operative meaning. Check back to what I said last week of functional collaboration’s nine-layered convergences, divergences and topologies: does any of that make sense to you or to the Lonergan community? And Method 250? Heavens, read Pat Brown’s offensive commenting on its meaning being consistently dodged (see his essays in Seeding Global Collaboration and in Divyadaan 28/2 (2017): a handily available essay of his is on my website: FuSe 14B, “Some Notes on the Development of Method 250”). Totalitarian aspirations (A Second Collection, 212–13) in initial meanings remain the way of Lonergan fragmentations, and e.g. when Lonergan is appealed to in scripture studies [there is a tradition following the work of Ben Meyer] he is not allowed to swing the empirical narrowness of that zone out of its little corners, coroners). That latter zone, paradoxically, is a zone of hope: imagine if N.T. Wright got it right? (see Disputing Quests 4, 5, and 8: “Scripture Studies: Turn Wright I, II, and III” and a spread of essays in these past few years on the problem of the right focus in such studies). When scripture study “gets it right” there will be a solidly significant shift in theological schemes of recurrence. Here I appeal again re the need for fantasy, and in the optimism of the coming convergence of religions and their scriptures (See my series of three articles in forthcoming Divyadaan 2018): a convergence forced on them, in their scriptures and in the surrounding cultures, towards an operative emergence of the general categories [I think here in particular of the ‘scriptures’ of the great innovative Guru Nanak and of his fellow Gurus, and of a Sikh taking over the leadership of the NDP party in Canada: but here, as elsewhere, there is a tough climb required out of personality splitting].

    I could go on and on, especially with twists towards personal advice like “it could be worth a life to write a decent text on Y for grade Z in school,” but best halt abruptly and see have I either stirred this group to practicalities or annoyed my colleagues and others to make complaining noises about my ungrounded accusations about their embeddedness in commonsense eclecticism. Surely some elder will have the honesty to join me on the Forum or elsewhere, in lines 18–33 of Method 250?

    So, back to Hugh, indeed to conclude where he started, noting that there is an essential omission in my little ramble, one that lurks in his final words: further musing on the eschatological significance and its feedback on the delighting redemption of sexuality (a truly cruel mess of present Christianity), which is indeed going to be central to the positive contemplation that is to become the core of human leisure in the positive Anthropocene age.

    “This is dangerous stuff and yet you, Phil, continue to hold some attention. Let me reiterate your question –
    Do you view humanity as possibly maturing – in some serious way –
    or just messing along between good and evil, whatever you think they are?
    Can you envisage reversing the sick glossy techno-decline of China, or of the U.S.A., or of your local community?

    One could dismiss such a question as much too big to be meaningful (for oneself or for anyone). Or one could try and come to grips with its eschatological significance.”

    Thank you again, Hugh.

  • #1141

    Robert Henman

    There has been considerable criticism of the focus of what has become known as Lonerganism over the past few decades, spearheaded by Philip McShane, and in these recent entries, it seems to have moved to a stronger stand. I pause, in this context, over criticisms of Lonerganism. The criticisms are many. 1) the lack of emphasis on science, 2) the focus on theology and philosophy without science, 3) the focus on comparing Lonergan to other thinkers without a clear understanding of interpretation, 4) little or no outreach to the scientific community, 5) a misunderstanding of the role of Lonergan’s discovery of functional specialization. And I could go on.

    Many efforts have been made in published articles and books to embarrass and even to insult the Lonerganist community in a failed effort to initiate dialogue. Some of these texts have been efforts to manifest a sketching of how implementation of Lonergan’s ideas might be approached: again, no dialogue. Others have been efforts to manifest how his ideas can influence methods in the sciences. Blogs and sites have been created in an effort to initiate dialogue, to no avail although they do reveal our own struggle in trying to understand how to begin implementation. More and more, it becomes necessary to be creative in developing new schemes, new strategies, that may bring forth dialogue between Lonerganism and those that hold with some or all of the above criticisms. Will the present efforts in this Forum succeed?

    Here I settle into a particularly discomforting strategy. Of the two distinct groups, is either of them cooperating with the Divine plan? Both would probably answer in the affirmative. Let us briefly sketch what Lonergan himself proposes as adequate cooperation with the Divine plan in order to determine if either one is doing so. Why choose Lonergan’s thought as a standard to work out this issue? Lonergan offers an analysis of world process and the means by which a systematic intervention may be interjected into the present process of history, which suffers from a lack of systematic direction. (Lonergan, B (1973) Method in Theology, Darton Longman & Todd.)

    What is this world process? Lonergan has called it emergent probability.
    “…there now comes to light the notion of an emergent probability. For the actual functioning of earlier schemes in the series fulfils the conditions for the probability of the functioning of later schemes… It results from the combination of the conditioned series of schemes with their respective probabilities of emergence and survival.” (Lonergan, B. (1992) Insight: A Study of Human Understanding, CWL 3, University of Toronto, 145.)

    How does one verify that description? The only manner is to enter into the sciences and work out the relations between both the classical and statistical laws that are functioning within each science and then work out the relations between the different sciences in order to discover the process of emerging schemes of recurrence. Understanding thus world process or emergent probability is an immense task of years and the reader need take up Lonergan’s writings in Insight to begin.

    Now, if emergent probability is the manner in which the universe brings about development, then it is a divine plan, or at least part of it. We leave the eschaton out here, a task sketched by McShane last week. To be involved with understanding world process, emergent probability, is to develop personally strategies of communication with the various sciences. However, this cannot occur unless one understands the sciences and the transformations that Generalized Empirical Method and Functional Specialization initiate in the sciences. If one of the two above groups is not involved in this manner, are they cooperating with the Divine plan? The group criticizing Lonerganism hold that the implementation of functional collaboration is the necessary beginning if there is to be a systematic intervention into history. Lonerganism, without its emphasis on science makes it impossible to communicate with the sciences, so leaving present world process without a needed creative intervention.

    So, which group is functioning outside the Divine plan? I suspect my reader knows my answer. A few years ago over dinner Phil McShane asked me a question; “What is going to happen?” I replied; “Lonerganism is going to become the accepted interpretation of Lonergan’s thought and it will be taught as just another philosophical theory of mind.” I still hold with that statement. Recent reflections on the Forum prompt me to share its stand in the hope that a growing group willing to be identified as anti-Lonerganism would come to be an effective intervention into both history and Lonerganism.

    So, what of a systematic intervention into Lonerganism? They are a group of believers, faith in the Divine wisdom and plan. I state here that they are not only not functioning in cooperation with the Divine plan but in fact by maintaining the status quo are contributing to the longer cycle of decline, the negative Anthropocene. Therefore, my intervention is to challenge Lonerganism to reflect on their faith commitment to the Divine plan. Do they actually trust in the Divine wisdom and do they wish to cooperate with it? This is a question that needs to be at the heart of cooperation and without it, one might just as well take up some other career or interest. Has my question the potential to be an effective annoying intervention into Lonerganism? I ask for a questioning of Faith in the best sense: perhaps in a sense that fits with McShane’s push for an “Interior Lighthouse,” and certainly it fits with his basic question. “Do you view humanity as possibly maturing—in some serious way—or just messing along between good and evil, whatever you think they are?” (McShane, P (2016) Epilogue: Embracing Luminously and Toweringly the Symphony of Cauling, Seeding Global Collaboration, Axial Publishing, 223.)

    Lonerganism’s answer to that question would seem to be a clear no: it has had no influence on humanity, nor does it seem to intend an influence in any effective way. It rejects Lonergan’s inclusion of implementation in metaphysics so they study and talk on “in vain, for they fail to mature” (Method, 355).

    Of course, my challenge is as hopeless as those of Williams and McShane: Lonerganism is not in on this forum. How are we to break through its walls? Should we e-mail these potential interventions of ours to the community generally? Or, might word get out—driving them to reply or repent—that Robert Henman is accusing them of living in sin?

    Robert Henman
    Halifax, NS
    All Saints Day 2017

  • #1142

    James Duffy

    “Where there is no hope, it is incumbent on us to invent it.” (Camus)

    Greetings, I would like to add some All Saints Day noises to what Williams, McShane, and Henman have recently shared.

    Can I envisage reversing the sick glossy techno-decline of China, the U.S.A., or my local community? Only in fantasyland, but maybe that is where I need to be, where we need to go. I once made that precise remark to undergraduates in an ethics course, and minutes after the class ended the comment was circulating on Facebook: “Professor Duffy says we should be in fantasyland.” LOL

    Privately I try to fantasize luminous kindergarten teachers inviting toddlers to grow, baby, grow. Publicly, in the workplace, whether it is kindergarten or the university, I find it nearly impossible to know how to intervene, which rock to slingshot at Goliath, the surd that is the educational industrial complex, a socially deteriorated situation, cumulatively deteriorated over hundreds of years, if you can fathom that.

    I find the C9 attitude that McShane writes about a tricky and stressful thing. What might I say about cuddling a toddler’s skin-stretched gendered desire to survive and live the in the real cosmos to well-meaning colleagues who have a very foggy idea about what a toddler is and who have been brainwashed by truncated pop-pedagogy? What might I say to Latin American colleagues who shrink the challenges of Insight and Method to fit current, busy philosophy and theology as usual?

    How do I see it? Like Hugh I do not see any short cuts, although I am not opposed to McShane’s proposal to cut out the effete gatherings that prevail. A few years ago, I decided Latin American workshops were not going anywhere or, what is worse, were complicit in immoral, commonsense eclecticism “progressing favorably,” rolling down the ages, shrinking the vocation to fit current conventions, and robbing the next generation of students of an opportunity to grow. Therefore, I decided to take a break from workshopping and figure out a way to intervene through emails, a personal blog spot, and a few published essays.

    Have they been effective? I doubt it. But maybe, just maybe, my refusal two weeks ago to approve a grant proposal to write another brick-in-the-wall book comparing Lonergan’s “new realism” with that of a few others just might nudge someone or other to repent, believe, and smell the coffee … or at least meet me in Dialectic.

    Henman mentioned sinning against the Divine Plan. All saints were sinners, caught up in pulls and counter pulls, as are we. Most of them, like Jesus and most of us, did not have a calling to serious thinking, the intellectual apostolate, or whatever you care to call the suffering of slowly learning a moderately successful science, or the suffering solitude of slowly discovering a new science. Why did the mad scientists double-underline the words “mine + catholic” on the February 1965 “Discovery page” that is at the bottom of the home page of this forum? How much repentance went into that scribbled sheet of paper?

    I do not have much hope for Lonerganism, nor did Lonergan: “Why does he merely found a school?” (CWL 18, 285) He wrote in the beginning of “Creativity and Healing”—which ends in a high-flying fantasy of what is to be demanded of moral theorists and economists—“there is a profound difference between diagnosing a malady and proposing a cure” (CWL 15, 99). We might agree that Lonerganism is a pathetic, sick puppy living in sin—strong words indeed. But if I am a person of hope, it is incumbent on me to invent, to propose and risk implementing meaningful ways to proceed as temporal subject influencing and being influenced by temporal subjects in the ever-so slow transition to luminosity of the second time (see CWL 12, 405).

    Currently I am helping a colleague in Latin America find the right dose of pretense needed to finish his PhD thesis and get on with life. The thesis is on economics and epistemology. There is no one on his board who has read CWL 15 or 21, so he asked me to participate. I agreed to help out under a few conditions having to do with him not bluffing himself even if he has to bluff the learned professors in the economics department. I also asked him about his plans after finishing and defending the thesis, and if he thought he might have a role in the revolution, i.e., implementing sane economics in Latin America. Like the rest of us, he is just trying to survive, but he said he would do what he could.

    I am not a saint, I do not always respond with joy and zeal to the high calling to speak the truth in love, but I will continue to seek little cures for the malady involving “sins of refusal as well as of mere omission” (CWL 3, 253), turn to economics as a possibly fruitful area, and challenge colleagues and former teachers to reflect on their faith commitment as I do the same. I do not see sitting on the fence as an option. Either I crawl forward, doing my best to understand and implement—in a bounded, bumbling fashion—sciences that are discontinuous with the roles and tasks of current academic institutions, including the funky sub-culture of academic Lonerganism, though not with themselves—economics, methodological hermeneutics, and highly differentiated collaboration—or I am complicit in the decadence, the bluff, the surd, the sin. It would be great—not for me or for the little group of us on this forum, but for the Body—if some would courageously express what they understand cosmopolis might be, and even when it might be, give or take a few years.

    In any case, the harvest is plenty. Be a fool for healing and creating the Body.

    Happy All Saints Day

  • #1143

    Hugh Williams

    Philip McShane Forum: Response to Robert Henman’s ‘All Saints Day Post’ 2017

    Robert Henman’s recent post is very good and I sense it inches us forward, though it deserves more careful pondering than I can give here this morning. It assumes a considerable knowledge of a field that I am not intimately familiar with – “Lonerganism” and the sifting dialectic(s) straining within it.

    I am here in Ottawa preparing to present a paper on Friday – it could be in the old style of “papering”, i.e. papering over the real issues that could give us ‘life’ or at least enliven us. But Robert’s intervention is taken as a bit of ‘grace’ in ‘saying what he now thinks’ which gives me both pause and a little courage to make the connections to what Lonergan and Phil have been urging all along.

    So let me move on to it –
    – the paper is on the topic of Christian Philosophy as the ‘interdisciplinary pursuit of wisdom’. It makes a comparison in the old style of Fr. Lawrence Dewan and as always Etienne Gilson for whose ongoing relevance I am continuing to argue. Why? – because of his courageous advocacy for Christian philosophy, it’s crucial relationship with theology, and his resistance to modern subjectivist preoccupations.

    In his final years Fr. Dewan, I believe, drew closer to Gilson in the sense that he recognized the importance of the interrelationship of reason and faith especially in the interrelationship of philosophy and theology, especially revealed theology. And as evidence of this, I recall his proposing to me the vital importance of Gilson’s text “Christianity and Philosophy” from 1939. And in this text is the essay, many say is foundational for the Gilson corpus – “The Intelligence in the Service of Christ”.

    I say all this as an important round about way of getting to the heart of the matter – for in this essay Gilson can be read as clearly though implicitly leading to a project much like Lonergan’s. This of course is a reading of mine that takes place within this context Phil has largely created in this forum, and within which Robert nudges us along – all of which I receive as a little “grace” for what I am to present on Friday.

    What does Gilson say? He too speaks of a regrettable separation that has arisen between science and theology, and of our facing (as Christians) “a new problem that requires a new solution”.

    I am convinced that Lonergan’s project that also comes out of this Christian tradition goes a long way towards meeting this “new challenge with a new solution”. Phil elsewhere has summarized this project of Lonergan’s towards ‘God’s view of things’ by way of a) a partial and incomplete invention of the science of economics, b) a fresh rediscovery of an effective means of self-discovery and self-reflection, and c) the invention of the meaning (as method) of effective thinking and thought.

    Now the articulation of these three processes are considerable achievements that are interrelated and interdependent for (a) is incomplete and partial because it needs (c) for completion. Whereas (c) emerges from Lonergan’s concern for the struggles in theology and (this is a crucial link with Gilson’s concern) in Christology especially, (b) was a rediscovery in the context of these theological struggles. This dynamic project however is a forward moving effort much too complex and advanced for the process of meaning to be realized without (c) …

    Hugh Williams
    Visiting in Ottawa
    Dominican University College
    And Montreal
    Concordia University

  • #1154

    Philip McShane

    Hugh: you have my sympathy, facing the standard audience. But is there a possibility there? I recall Fred Crowe saying in a lecture that if he really was outspoken about his talk being a sermon the audience would not like it. The Gilson pointing-out needs to be a pointing-on. SO: the question that should be commonly alive is, What are we going to do about it? THAT is/was Lonergan’s entire bent from the late twenties, and there it is in his transcendental identification of WHAT: “being intelligent includes a grasp of hitherto unnoticed or unrealized possibilities” (Method, 53, line 4). Your audience, like all standard audiences, will be interested as are people watching a match. Might you annoy them by directing the end-questions to “What are we going to do about it?” Crowe again: “you can either sit on your hands, or you can put spade to earth and move the first sod” (Theology of the Christian Word, 149).  And again Crowe: “is there not room for a measure of bluntness at this stage? (“The Exigent Mind,” Spirit as Inquiry, 1964, p.. 27). Might you challenge the poise of all the sods?! Good luck!

    That is our deepest vocation: to ask effectively what might be. That is what James is on to in his entry here. That is the human condition: but for “the monster that has stood forth in or day” (Method, 40) it is better that we sit on our arses and comment learnedly. This Forum’s membership seems to be about to tune into humanity’s needs: not a popular academic poise! But the tuning has to shift into an EFFECTIVELY disturbing chant: not then talk of needs, but “implementation” (Insight, 416), edging ALWAYS towards “fruit to be borne” (Method, 355).

  • #1160

    Philip McShane

    In the past week, in gracious coincidentality, I have been guiding people in different parts of the world in strategies of introducing self-discovery, and thus became more acutely enlightened about the sorry state of exercising in self-attention. I recall now my relevant comment in my most recent entry {Nov 2, 5.38, line 4} about preaching. Am I preaching? Well, yes: please, for instance, check back on your reading of those deep Insight pages 725–738, on belief. Do you have a memory of the “startling strangeness” (Insight, 22, six lines from end) of your month-long struggle to intussuscept luminously whether someone speaking directively to you is triply-legitimate: “uttered it as true, uttered it truthfully, was not mistaken” (732, lines 7–8). This is part of The Interior Lighthouse struggle that I have been writing about (see HOW 13, Disputing Quests 12, Disputing Quests 13, Interpretation 4, Interpretation 16, and Interpretation 17). How familiar are you with that contemplative struggle? I could ramble further and more broadly: I speak of a leaning psyche, even with the particular leaning that is from one specialty to another, but certainly a leaning to the future that is solidly implementational, quite in conflict with the Monday morning quarterbacking that is the convention of present sick academic discourse. Are you in the ballpark, or on the bench of convention?

  • #1164

    Philip McShane

    An odd note on “My Interior Lighthouse”—where ‘my’ is ‘your’—is relevant here. In the previous Forum entry of 7.38 a.m. of November 3, I mentioned ‘The Interior Lighthouse’ and James Duffy kindly filled out relevant references.

    As I begin this short note on the general human vocation that is to mature in the positive Anthropocene, I have two memories twining in my mind. There is the most recent event of this summer story of planting a skimpy wisp of Virginia creeper against a fence in the garden. By early autumn it had a spread of twenty meters. Now it has faded, but the skimpy wisp of your ‘what’ is not destined to fade. {You may recall Thomas view of flowers in eternity.} You and the plants rise to maturity in evolution, but only your human what-rise is an everlasting rising.

    The second memory floating in fresh growth in my typing molecules is the memory of an early effort to convey the central point of this little note. The early effort, by an odd accident, turned out to be numbered 101: Cantower 101 in my final listing of that span of essays (See Field Nocturnes Cantower 43), but it was originally part of the Eldorede series for beginners, Eldorede 11, “Spirituality in the Third Stage of Meaning.” {The lead into it is Eldorede 3; the 13 essays of the series gives a full introductory context, most of it presented in Seoul, South Korea: a more elaborate context is the five essays, 4–8, “Foundational Prayer” of another series, “Prehumous”}.

    My point, my pointing, is simple. Leaving aside the Insight core of my recent series, should you not pause to cherish the possibility, and your present self-controlled probabilities, that you are called to this leisured interior climb in your own poetic or pragmatic way? BUT at present even such a reduced climb is for evolutionary sports. Be a sport: call others to this ballpark: but not just by earthy pointing: be a bird of pray. Perhaps I might end with a piece of a sermon of my wife that I quoted in Eldorede 11.

    An old creation legend tells a story about a bunch of birds sitting around complaining as they looked at their wings. What can you do with these things?” they asked God. “You can’t walk with them. You can’t pick up things with them. And they’re ugly and awkward to carry around.”
    “You can fly,” God says.
    “Fly? What is fly?” the birds demanded.
    “Spread out your wings. Spread them out as far as they will spread. Wider. Now move them up and down. Harder. Work at it. Faster. Now, jump.”
    “Jump? Jump?” they screeched, hopping around in great agitation … “Jump?”
    One little bird jumps. The wind picks up her wings and she soars. Soars into the rainbows. Soars into the misty clouds. Soars into creation.
    And the rest? Having been shown the way, they follow.

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