Entering Lonergan's Novum Organon

TIdeas have consequences

Embracing a Full-on Crisis in Authority

Preliminary Outline


Part I. Preliminaries ✓

Part II. From Whence We Came ✓

Part III. The Impact of Judaism ✓

Part IV. The Rise of Christianity ✓

Part V. Islam: Resentment Runs Wild ✓

Part VI. China: The Warring States ✓

Part VII. The In-Between Places ✓

Part VIII. The Great Transformation ✓

Part IX. Global Reach and a Common Humanity ✓

Part X. World War (1914-1945) and the Loss of Faith ✓

Part XI. Pax Americana: An A-Historical Period ✓

Part XII. The Rise of the Middle Class ✓

Part XIII. Losing Contact: The Cumulative Effects of Common Sense Bias ✓

Part XIV. Embraced by Love ✓

Part XV. In Transition ✓

Part XVI. The Culture After Ours ✓

Part XVII. It Can't Happen Here? ✓

Origins

The last postingFinal Thoughts on the Wuhan Virus (Educational Projects: Foundations: Trump III) dealt with the purpose of the universe as a training device (simulator) for the formation of a people capable of joining with Christ in his hypostatic union combining human and divine. The idea is that the world is not the flawed creation of a lessor god, a demiurge, but the perfect creation of a God that could do no less. If this doctrine is true, that what we experience as evil does not exist in the universe but only in the hearts of men and women.


Our work on foundations (Peterson, Prager, Trump) was designed to lay the foundations for an evaluative history of the human species, for any history depends on the foundational stance of the historian. And as is typical of any cosmopolis work, the subject must be cleared of the scotoma that otherwise would threaten the results. Needless to say, this requires an ongoing process of intellectual, moral, and religious conversion under the guidance of the transcendental. How do you know if what we are going through is good or bad? It not only depends on a hierarchy of values but on the top "terminal" value that sublates all those below.


At the pivot point between the functional specialty of dialectics and foundations lies an act of discernment that clearly and distinctly separates positions from counter-positions, Thus we are not talking about any history, but only that history grounded in a Judeo-Christian approaching to being. And even then, we focus on the Christian way without ignoring Christian roots in Judaism. From our perspective, Judaism sets down God's moral code for proper human living that applies to any human community, while Christianity takes the further somewhat dangerous step of insisting on a radical change in who the person is, i.e., intellectual, moral, and religious conversion. It is from these that  different Christian denominations come into being.


In itself, thisdoes not justify this speculative evaluative critique of history. For that we turn to Bernard Lonergan's methodological work in Insight and Method. This "novum organon" changes the context for any such critique in the sense that existing critiques are found to be conditional to the extent that these questions are taken seriously. Furthermore, over the years we have developed two preliminary models that need to be taken into account: an invariant structure of human life-cycles and a conditioning/sublating three-level scheme for understanding institutional processes. Both use Lonergan's world process of emergent probability. Combine these with Lonergan's notion of conversion and we have our starting point for a critique of human history.


In the end, we know very little—especially when compared with the unconditional universal perspective of God. But we have the opportunity to transcend our conditional human understanding using God's revelation of a reality quite different from the one our humanness would expect to point the way. What we need to know will be given to us at the appropriate time. And one day our confused mess of contradictory insights may come together to form a unified whole. Who knows?


Russell C. Baker

Montreal, Canada

April 8, 2020

Why we do what we do: the importance not only of foundational stances (differentiation of mind and conversion) but of having an evaluation history at our hands. Richard Fernandez's online article shows why such work is necessary at this time in our history.

Educational Projects: An Evaluative Critique of History