Answering Random Questions of LiFe

This topic contains 10 replies, has 4 voices, and was last updated by  Philip McShane 10 months, 1 week ago.

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  • #653

    Philip McShane
    Moderator

    This topic meets the needs of people who find the other sections too precise and focused. Here I invite people to pose questions on any level of difficulty and in a quite random fashion. Obviously, I cannot be expected to have answers but I can help by locating apparently simple questions in a fuller heuristic context, even at the same time having a shot at answering them. Others, of course, may pose further questions that are implicitly answers. (an important aside: if you prefer anonymity as questioner, just send the question to philipmcshane@shaw.ca)

    The conversation, I hope, will foster a shift in dialogue the invitation to which is hidden in the word LiFe. What I have in mind there is Linguistic Feed-back as commented on by Lonergan. Best add here those comments: the first in note 34 of page 88 of Method, the second missing—italics below—in the text there at line 12 of page 92.

    (i) “At a higher level of linguistic development, the possibility of insight is achieved by linguistic feed-back, by expressing the subjective experience in words and as subjective.”

    (ii) “These limitations recede in the measure that linguistic feed-back is achieved, that is in the measure that explanations and statements provide the sensible presentations for the insights that effect the further developments of thought and language.”

  • #662

    Philip McShane
    Moderator

    THE QUESTION. I take advantage of your offer to up-load anonymous questions. My concern is the direction of Lonergan studies at Marquette University represented by the list of Lectures. In particular, there is the final lecture on the list, given by Fr. Robert Doran delivered on March 30, 2017, “The International Institute for Method in Theology: A Vision.” It seems to be reaching for a narrow version of Lonergan’s project without either a global reach or a functional specialist orientation.

    MY ANSWER. The first question to me of this section is wisely anonymous, but obviously my answer cannot be. My hope is that there will emerge a serious sub-group willing to settle into the work of lines 18-33 of Method in Theology 250, where people are asked to not conceal tracks, to lay cards on tables (See ibid., 193), and that is the turn I take here. I am obviously familiar with Doran’s work and aspirations, and have previously read the discouraging lecture selected by my correspondent. I have commented elsewhere on the narrowness and inadequacy of Doran’s work (e.g., see Question 27 “Approaching Doran’s Trinitarian Theology” and Question 30, “The Trinity in History,” regarding Doran’s Trinitarian theology, or more broadly my two website books, Method in Theology: Revisions and Implementations and Lonergan’s Standard Model of Effective Global Inquiry). What might I add here that would help? It seems best to simply add a invitation to Doran and others to join me in those lines of Method 250.

    But I make the invitation quite specific here by focusing on the first page of Method (p. 3). I give my reading below. It has a Preface—it is on the topic central to this section—followed by a *separated* pointing to the meaning of page 3, concluding to the rejection by Lonergan (the rejection goes back to section 3 of Insight chapter 17) of the “academic disciplines” approach in which Doran, and indeed most of Lonerganism is locked and lost. My invitation is quite straight-forward then: What, Bob, is your reading of Method page 3? The invitation is, of course, extended to all, especially my elder colleagues.

    LiFe

    My interest is in a reading of the first page of Method in Theology. My effort is prefaced by musings on LiFe, Linguistic Feedback. The Preface ends with the shift of type-face.

    Linguistic Feedback can be considered seriously only in the full context that includes a Wi luminosity regarding words’ place in one’s mibox. Obviously that includes the stuff in A Brief History of Tongue re W2 (p. 122; see also Prehumous 2, “Metagrams and Metaphysics”).

    So –
    We are like contemporaries of Faraday fermenting towards a Maxwell. The “character”s (Method, 356, line 12) of mature linguistic feedback are to emerge in the positive Anthropocene. But how do we get to a communal beginning of that emergence? Here the we must actually be, not the royal we of, say, Lonergan writing in Insight, that haunts such claims as “certain characteristics of prime potency are already familiar” (Insight, 468). The “we” has to be you, the reader, and I (you and I, here, there, reading) straining beyond present culture to be somewhat what-meshed in the prime cosmic potency-flow, thus character-risk-takes of prime potency and Prime Potency. (I think of Eben Alexander’s odd lectures re cosmic unified consciousness. But best perhaps think of me—and so you—thinking here about the zone of God as not an object, ‘where’ They have you in mind.) The bold-facing here, there, reminds us of my convention of reminding the reader of critical realism as a strange self-presence. But the new linguistic-feedback I now see as somehow seeding the road to—ho ho yes quite daft!—eschatological expression in the eternal neurodynamics where there it is luminously realized by “subjects-as-subjects” and “God not an object” in a transposed Gödelian self-expression of incompleteness that is satisfactorily intimative of further inwardness. But in the pilgrimage it is to be a growing luminosity of mibox-to-mibox meetings.

    There is a sense in which character-reading of present traditional characters can be lifted to self-reference by a reasonably mature community of mibox-to-mibox luminosity. But the problem is to make the character-reading more bent towards self-reference both for the experts and for common sense. There are the odd ventures I have tried: “I and you” rather than author and reader; forms of talk-back; bold-face print; etc. But is there a possible systematic shift in “wording”? Might a future I say “you as subject” to you with different self-stirring effect? Print the print inside the smelly melody of a mibox-page?!

    Might there be a broader identity-diagramming context of the turn of you and I to us as subjects of knowledge by identity? A new grammar of such ascent and assent never leaving the God-minded subject?

    *****************************************************************

    On to the question: What are “academic disciplines”? But now we move to the top of that first page of Method, nursing forward, or exulting in, the final Posthumous 21 perspective, (here, hear, a crisis: is this a remembered climb, from Posthumous 1, “The Gross Immorality of Lonerganism” through the middle essay, Posthumous 11, “Allurexperiences” to that final Posthumous 21, “Rewriting and Righting Allurexperiences” that ends in a trinification of the first five words of Method) envisioning the X mansion of the Interior Lighthouse in which, e.g., the usual second and third horizons (e.g., see Wealth of Self and Wealth of Nations, chapter 1) merge and even weave into the first horizon in some new global LiFe, and there there is more than a suspicion that “God is not an object” (Method, 342)?

    Note—like the first note of “The Rites of Spring”—that “apt” now takes on a larger InWithTo meaning—am I signing in, or singing silently in, a melody—technically-controlled way beyond the odd twist of twelve-tone experimentation—of the over-sixty genius, who might be thought of as like Stravinsky, reported to have said to a fiddler who said that he found a suggested finger-bowing performance impossible, “I did not write this for you”? A tricky question, and it is yours for the asking.

    So we pause in our transcendental luminous, beyond-time’s-level, self, soaking up that “being intelligent includes a grasp of unnoticed or unrealized possibilities” (Method 53, lines 4-5). “Thought on method” is THEN apt to flow in a glorious single but rainbow channel: no more easy to define than the simplest instance of flow: water in a pipe considered with serious scientific subtlety—massively difficult to handle for the water that is flowing close to the pipe-surface.

    But now we topple into channeling the advanced positive Anthropocene mind. What is science? I recall now oddly my first—perhaps 1958—philosophic essay’s title which was about God’s scientific mind being called Prudence. Science is that fulsome open effective aspiring imitation of divine Prudence—a Tripersonal Subtlety present in “the greatest of works”—soaked up differently in that work’s progress so that this now-looking character’s character-reading may become capable of “distinguishing the successive stages of this, the greatest of works” (CWL 12, 491) way beyond the less-than half-way house of the technicalities of Insight chapter 16.

    So, Aristotle’s shot in the Ark becomes a little step that clouded the battle of Thomas’ Quaestio Prima with the unity of the effort, “that they may be one” (Method, 367).

    So, academic disciplines are identified as a relativistic puttering. Either we humans are pursuing this or that science or at least its stumbling imitation of the least of these, physics, or we are grossly off target. The target is science, controlled by the merging of the sublated two sets of canons of Insight. Explanation and complete explanation hold, normatively, each little zone on target: so the human reach of understanding is asymptotically a community that is one: do we, I, aspire effectively to reach to mibox-witness “being fused into a single explanation” (Insight, 610, line 9)?

  • #667

    Philip McShane
    Moderator

    THE QUESTION. I remain anonymous with a follow-up question. Only one: what do you mean by “mibox”? It is not that I don’t have other questions: that fact is that this very dense answer leaves me questioning the whole American Lonergan movement that I am familiar with. We just don’t approach the book Method this serious way. And page 250 of the book is not really on the agenda. But I keep myself to this one question, since it seems be be a key to getting into this very strange approach.

    MY ANSWER. As it happens, the relevant diagram that leads to a grip on the question of MIBOX, is the lead in the Disputing Quests 16: “Detailed Disputes: Doran,” and so is continuous with my challenge to my senior colleagues to meet me and themselves “in” the end 16 lines of page 250 of Method. The diagram comes from page 41 of my little book, Wealth of Self and Wealth of Nations. It is used in DQ 16 to help clear up muddles regarding the meaning of transcendentals, but let us stay simple at present and note that the name “mibox” points the middle box of the inner box in the diagram, which I give below.

    Mibox

    Take the box to represent your broadest concept of the task of metaphysics: it is the inner presence of your years of climbing into the poise of generalized empirical method as described at the top of page 141 of A Third Collection:

    Generalized empirical method operates on a combination of both the data of sense and the data of consciousness: it does not treat of objects without taking into account the corresponding operations of the subject; it does not treat of the subject’s operations without taking into account the corresponding objects.

    Your problem here is a self-asking about whether you have done such climbing; it ceases to be a solitary problem when you enter into some form of the conversation named in the final 16 lines of Method 250.

    Obviously I have a great deal more to say but best halt here. Perhaps others will join in, and then you can weave into a non-anonymous searching for missing beginnings. THAT, as you gather from my previous answer, is the sad thing about Lonerganism: missing the beginnings, rambling on in the muddled weave of the usual truncated scholarship of centuries.

  • #1070

    Philip McShane
    Moderator

    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.]

  • #1086

    James Duffy
    Participant

    This is a reply to Phil’s blunt post last Friday (above) as well as Hugh’s reply to Phil.

    Like Hugh, I have done my best to read and re-read Insight 17.3 and have found these pages extremely dense.

    Over four years ago, at the Second Lonergan Workshop in Latin America, I tried my best to participate with these pages in mind. It was a long-shot. I share some thoughts regarding intervening in that workshop and other Lonergan gatherings in “Method, Bold Spirits, and ‘Some Third Way’” (Journal of Macrodynamic Analysis 8 (2015): 30–44).

    On pages 585–617 of Insight, rocket man Lonergan is flying in outer space, in a section of his freaky autobiography where no man or woman has gone before. What I vaguely glean from trying to self-digest these pages is an invitation to implement three canons and do better than “MacIntyre and Lonergan: Metaphysical Genealogies?”—a paper I submitted to The Thomist in the spring of 2000. How much better? No comparison. So I imagine “it’s lonely out in space / on such a timeless flight” even if the rocket man did not have a wife on earth to miss (allusion to Elton John’s “Rocket Man”).

    On a related note, let me take a shot at the central question in Phil’s post, which is directly above my reply here. Do I know, even vaguely, what “academic disciplines” means? Vaguely it means to me the formation I received in philosophy (with a minor in theology) at Jesuit institutions on both the West Coast and East Coast, as well as my stint teaching philosophy and theology at Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota (1996–2001) and a later stint as chairman of a “Humanities and Social Sciences” major (2007–2009) at the ITESM Morelia, where I currently teach ESL. In the academic disciplines philosophy and theology, a stock and trade is to compare one thinker to another or to others, for example, Lonergan to Rahner, Girard, Gilson, Berrigan, Tillich, Pope Francis, Marx, Heidegger, and/or the Dali Lama. As they say: been there and done that … more than once.

    When I graduated from Fordham in 1996—barely passing doctoral comps, with the help of the three thick History of Philosophy volumes written by Frederick Copleston SJ, a gentleman and a scholar whom I met at Santa Clara University in the early 1980s and who has admitted that he was not a philosopher (go figure)—I was able to talk and write and publish like my mentors. Twelve years earlier I had learned Heideggerease well enough to impress the jet-setting Heidegger scholar Bill Richardson, SJ at Boston College. At Fordham one of my mentors was the fine Thomist scholar Gerald McCool SJ, who admitted at my doctoral defense on May 16, 1996, that he had no clue what Method was about. That was honest of him, eh.

    Hugh alludes to parting ways because of misunderstanding and “being a poor exponent.” Thank you for being honest Hugh. And thank you for weaving in economics.

    Is it not ludicrous, utopian, or absurd to require “specifically economic precepts” from ethicists (CWL 15, 105–106)? Certainly economics was not, is not my Area of Specialty (AOS) or Area of Competence (AOC).

    The other day I was tracking down in the university library Samuelson and Nordhaus’ Economics: With Applications to Latin America (McGraw Hill, 2010, 19th ed.) for an article I am currently drafting. Would you believe I saw a monster in that part of the library? So I grabbed the book off the shelf and made haste to the checkout counter.

    Some claim that greedy “successful” entrepreneurs are the root cause of the monster devouring your leisure and mine, and I do not doubt that a “strong drink of expansion” (CWL 21, 98) pervades the globe. I see it ravaging hillsides on my drive to work in the morning. I do believe, however, that “the prime cause is ignorance” (CWL 15, 82). How might I intervene effectively? Shall I scavenge around for a stone in my garden to sling-shot at the monster standing between us and the promised land of agriculture transformed into superchemistry, finance going bye-bye, and a “pure deepening of aggregate leisure” that “liberates many entirely, and all increasingly to the field of cultural activities”? (CWL 21, 20)

    Plainly the way forward is for plain James and plain Jane to embrace apparently trifling selves and apparently trifling students while performing with apparently boring pendulums, inclined planes, mathematical surds, coin flips, baskets, plows, and weirs, even, Lord help us, performing the trifling Lorenz-Einstein transformation. (NB—This is not academic name-dropping a la my paper comparing Lonergan and MacIntyre. The Lorenz-Einstein transformation names a way of moving between two reference/coordinate frames that supersedes Newtonian physics. It is a fine instance of leaving behind childhood thinking, reasoning, and talking about rods and clocks. And, as Lonergan notes, it gives rise to a problem of interpretation [CWL 3, 186].)

    Twenty-one years ago Gerald McCool, with a myriad of published articles and books on his CV, came clean at my doctoral defense. Is it too much for me to do the same?

    Here I stand, it is 9:00am in the morning, and I am not drunk (see Acts 2:15). I am simply coming clean about who I am, the past that has made me, and what I do or do not do with the undergraduates under my care. I would like to think that I am not brain-washing them into becoming Lonerganesque groupies who in five or ten years will mess up the next generation of students, but rather inviting them to grow, baby, grow.

    Vaguely “academic disciplines” include Lonerganesque philosophy and theology that are, as far as I can make out, just funky sub-cultures of the academic philosophy and theology that I studied as an undergraduate and graduate student. What the heck is this “third way” that “must be found”? If am vaguely understanding the last two words on page 3 of Method, the third way will, in good time, pretty much wipe out, wipe away, the academic disciplines as we know and live them nowadays. I’m not sure what’s to become of AOS and AOC, tenure review and promotion, and blind reviews leading to fat contracts with Cambridge University Press, Oxford University Press, Routledge, McGraw Hill, or Princeton University Press when little humans have made a little progress “putting the ways of childhood behind us.”

    As far as I can vaguely, crippledly imagine, T2 and “the third stage of meaning” name a fantasyland of luminous kindergarten teachers and salsa (dance) instructors way, way, way beyond our times, truncated as they are, as we are, by longly-cycled decadence and bluff. What, then, are my chances of sing-a-linging “boom chicka boom” like and in the company of a three year-old, “de los pies a la cabeza” (= from the feet to the head. “De Pies a Cabeza” is a song by Maná that was popular when I first arrived to Morelia many moons ago)? Have my molecules really been soaked in post-scientific, post-system, doctrinal Lonerganesque gossip? Lord have mercy.

    I hope beyond hope that the dream team will implement “Church” and “grace” in ways quite beyond our initial meanings of these two terms, however you care to define them. The second time is not an achievement simply because the leader of a little clique can type the expression “scale of values” seventeen times in a twenty-seven page document. I refer to Bob Doran and the breathless, late, sad, and decadent International Institute for Method in Theology. Read it and weep, not for yourself, but for the graduate students involved in the project and their children. And while weeping choose life, in spite of and in the face of the nasty monster that devours our leisure while seducing us to belly up at the bar and have a drink and a chat, implicitly, glossily, jollyfully colluding with the monster while slip-sliding away in “the Babel of our day, the cumulative product of a series of refusals to understand.”

  • #1088

    Robert Henman
    Participant

    James et al: Your last words James: “the cumulative product of a series of refusals to understand.” Is this not in a reverse manner one possible nominal definition of “academic disciplines”? I have memories of too many courses that were information and that repetitive method gets into our bones, at least mine, and getting beyond that is no easy chore. Forty years later I have to, too often, remind myself what it is to seriously read.
    On your mention of the dance, this morning I was working up my lectures on education concerning theoretical frameworks and I came across that strange man, Rudolf Steiner, and his Waldorf schools that consist of an exercise where the students have to dance their own name. Dancing out our “tight” chemistry is a hell of a challenge. My wife and I went dancing last week, after years of being away from it, and it took a few dances and some wine to loosen and overcome the rigidity built up from childhood and present living. Happy Thanksgiving to you all. Bob

  • #1123

    Philip McShane
    Moderator

    I find it strange that no one so far on the site has either asked about the meaning of academic disciplines or attempted an explicit shot at expressing a possible meaning that Lonergan had in mind. Without such a questioning and shot, the meaning of this first page of Method, ending with those two words, “academic disciplines,” is very essentially elusive. So let me make a start on the needed puzzling. I quote a concluding piece of an essay I wrote recently, “INTERIOR LIGHTHOUSE II: Insight and Futurology” [For the last volume of Divyadaan: Journal of Philosophy & Education 28/3 (2017): I can make it available. It reflects on Fred Lawrence’s article for the first volume of the same year, “Contemporary Economics Political Disorders and Bernard Lonergan’s Macroeconomic Dynamics” (Divyadaan: Journal of Philosophy & Education, 28/1 (2017) 65–104)], and in the quotation below the footnotes are lifted into this text in square brackets. Here it is:

    I would ask you to note and ingest that the pointers given are weaved into a dense flow that indeed illustrates the standard “academic disciplines” presentation. In such works, when a position is taken, it is usually attributed to a favored authority; [Certainly, one can expect, in a Lawrence article, his allegiance to Lonergan’s stand. But the stand here is not given in oratio recta. Thus the article does not lean into the forward specialty ethos of such oratio.] The position taken is bolstered by abundant references [I count here 60 authorities of different sorts cited. But the citing has not the coherence that would place the work in the oratio obliqua of the first four specialties. So Lawrence’s essay would seem to be in the zone of communications. To whom does he communicate effectively? This is the major issue faced in the turn of page 3 of Method in Theology. I would note, furthermore, that the turn affects the lopsided view of Aristotle named on that page, and indeed the entire tradition of science and its philosophy: but that is a much larger problem.] and telling citations; [The ethos of such citation is captured in, e.g., “According to Nicholas Boyle, a society of consumers-producers is no longer a civil society” (after note 10); “… has caused the political philosopher Pierre Manent to point out that with the eclipse of politics by the globalized economy, ‘the idea of acting for the common good has lost its meaning for us’” (at note 56).] there is regularly the addition of a historical perspective, but it is generally selective; [Lawrence’s historical contextualization is thus selectively sketchy in a manner that enriches his thesis regarding political disarray’s grounding in unenlightened economics.] there is rarely a bent towards effective scientific precision, but rather towards summary referencing the favored author. [Scattered through the article are summaries of aspects of Lonergan’s economics, not greatly helpful in enlightening a reader who is not already in the know.]

    Two contexts are relevant if we are to get some serious distance in the two page-turning, culture-turning words, “academic disciplines”: (1) section 3 of chapter 17 of Insight; (2) my website series on “Interpretation.” In those two contexts an initial focus would need to be on: (1) two paragraphs of Lonergan: (a) the paragraph beginning at the bottom of Insight 603; (b) the paragraph beginning at the bottom of Insight 609; and (2) “Understanding the Object,” the topic of Interpretation 1 “A Fresh Start.”

    Might we have a shot, in this next year, at detecting effectively just what is wrong with academic disciplines? Share the problem, of course, by outreach to individuals: this could be the redemption of Lonerganism.

  • #1165

    Philip McShane
    Moderator

    This morning I communicated to some colleagues a push forward in the Interior Lighthouse project. They, in varying degrees, recognized the communication as of a project, so that the reading was cognized as remote, in varying degrees, from their meeting the challenge “to make it one’s own” (Insight, 581: the beginning of section 2.5). Later I decided to share it in the Forum, since the communication illustrates a dire present problem of Lonergan studies: the quite-vulgar shrinkage of Lonergan’s meaning. The morning musings below relates to later stages in the personal enterprise of The Interior Lighthouse, and have a parallel with Teresa’s Interior Castle’s advanced stuff. There is a full tradition of people who take Teresa’s stuff seriously, and equivalent stuff of, e.g., the Zen tradition. So, Sow, here I sow the asking of ourselves why apophatic stuff should be taken as pointing to a long contemplative climb, while kataphatic stuff like Insight seems to be viewed as a matter of a serious undergraduate read—or less! Why is this foolishness a standard poise, subtly comfortable with “a global assertion that what is meant is obvious and neither needs nor admits any explanation”? (Insight, 579). So here you are: my morning musings. My key question is, What is your sense of “all that is lacking” (Insight, 559, line 24) in you in terms of life-climbing to Lonergan’s theology of history? An ontic question. The phyletic question’s effective answer requires the long stressful road of cyclic global collaboration.

    “Some morning musings. They relate to the problem of intussuscepting ‘where we are’, when the ‘where’ is grasped—rounding up Insight 19.9, 683–4 in the mood of Method 342, line 2—as no-where (Insight 537 problem, but lurking in 413 positioning). The theology comes out nicely in nine ells!!! [Indoeuropean: ‘bends’, bends taken in rounding up up up in The Interior Lighthouse?!!]. So, there is a theology of history to follow the philosophy of history of the first paragraph of Allure, given in the next paragraph. The “lifted, led and lured” echo the same climb-bending as the agonbite of “InWithTo.”

    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?’

    So, Sow, Sown in big bang prime matter, Sown fuller and later in Pentecostal Care: Life’s lonesome layers are Lifted, Led and Lured longterm into Lightsome Love.
    This spells out and in, into a Christology of History.

  • #1168

    Philip McShane
    Moderator

    I have received different e-mails regarding my posting of November 7, 2017: 9.12 a.m., all quite serious about the weighty issues, especially the issue of “where is finitude?” Eventually I decided that a piece of one reply of mine would be of general help, not as giving the answer, but as helping to locate our effort in the flow of history, the axial mess, the immaturity of humanity, “all that is lacking” (Insight, 559, line 24) in this long pre-ramble towards a distant third stage of meaning. Here, then, is a piece of one of my replies (there is a sentence re ‘persons’ in the text that was particular to one of the questioners, re persons among the secondary intelligible. I decided to leave it in as an extra nudge). What is my message here? That we need to pause in our present trivialization of history to reach psychically for a being-gripped by “all that is lacking.”  Because Lonergan reached a position on ‘where’ does not mean that followers would reach it in this millennium. Beethoven did not produce a population of Beethovens. Here, then, you have a helpful piece of my answering musings:

    We are back to the Lighthouse project, where the text on Insight 537, line 29ff, was part of the road. The road is not a matter of more focused precise thinking but of assuming a patient contemplative poise that is culturally lower for us than a ‘mean’ Poisson-curve. Lest this nudge towards contemplation appear too “prayerful” I point to two instances, from Insight, where the point is pretty clear and “secular”: back, then, to the Bernard Lonergan His Life and Leading Ideas biography, to [1] the Maxwell stuff, 175-8 [2] the energy-potency stuff, 178-88. The challenge in both cases is to be, to become, “at home” in the point made.  Maxwell’s equations are more obvious then the energy question. In a good physics class one ‘gets’ the 4 equations first in what I call ‘a notional assent,’ from which one ascends through steps of applied and detailed contemplation over months, to what I call ‘a real assent,’ an intussuscepted homeyness. For me, that was work that was a piece of 1953-4, but went on for decades. [2], ho ho was, for me, work for over forty years : ) ! [Work that will be shortened, of course, in a later culture of a massively revised meaning of ‘energy’]. Add to this nudge the nudge to go back, in contemplative honesty, to the lines before 29 on page 537. Then you may suspect that your assent to lines 29ff is heavily notional.  Think, now: “where” is Lonergan talking about in that “come-about”?  For instance, in the text he talks of “the subject orientated to the objective of the unrestricted desire to know” (lines 30-31). Does this not throw the subject—‘wherever’ that subject be!—forward to the question “what, then, is being?” (Insight, 665, line 15) and indeed to the long answer to that odd question, (See Allure, 233-4, for a fuller nudge to the oddity) if “orientated” would mean “homely orientated” in a real assent?

    In the unrestricted act of understanding, page 537 is comprehensively understood, and indeed in its varying occurrences in a sub-group of possible finitudes like ours. Note, notionally at least, that there are no finite persons in those comprehensions: finite persons occur only in actual finitudes [Q. 10, p. 309ff of CWL 12]. So, dispersedness and its problem for dispersed spirits are divinely comprehended, fully inclusive of its relevance to radiations, e.g., a la Maxwell, or a la the remoteness of full science, TOE (Lonergan Bio, 177: but only physics is the focus there) (Insight chapter 19, section 7 needs contemplation here). There is no ‘where?’ problem in the divine mind. There is no where-problem in the divine creative mind, where now (Now) being includes “the concrete universe of being” (Insight, 413, lines 6-7). That concrete universe of being is distinguished in the divine mind by its divine creating valuing, the complex gifting of esse. It is divinely minded. That concrete universe of being, in our finitude, is “the objective of the pure desire to know” (Insight, 372). The problem now is to crawl through, slowly and contemplatively, the pages from 372 to 413 to detect the rambles towards the word “real”—the meaning of ‘objectivity’—and, in a fresh view of chapters 1-19 of Insight, to identify existentially “the maya to be dispelled” (CWL 20, end of 210). The basic position sought from Upanishad writers all the way to “The Visible and the Invisible” of Merleau-Ponty, the being at home that might claim as hearth and heartfelt, “the real is the concrete universe of being” (413). That home might be reached by some evolutionary sport in the scrambled egg of the negative Anthropocene, of the first time of the temporal subject and its axial hang-over. But the meaning of ‘where?’ as a common human possession seems to require “bridges too far” in our times.

  • #1169

    Doug Mounce
    Participant

    Reminds me of a CS Lewis story in (I think) Surprised by Joy where he says the greatest feeling must come to a sailor who, upon losing his way in a storm, stumbles upon an undiscovered land. With great excitement, he sets out to explore it, and then, with every step, discovers that he has landed at home!

  • #1170

    Philip McShane
    Moderator

    Recent comments on the Forum have brought up the odd question, “Where is finitude?” It sits there discomfortingly on page 537 of Insight. It would be interesting to exchange views and puzzles about the question. It is, indeed, at the heart of the full drive of Insight for “a position” (page 413, lines 6–12): check, for instance, the vagueness of the definition of “being” (Insight, chapter 12) as exposed in lines 13–15 of Insight 665, ending with the question, “What, then, is being?”

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