Beyond Babel

Working Lonergan's cosmopolis involves a dynamic creative process, for Lonergan only opens a door—a to-be-known "X" named cosmopolis. Cosmopolis is a possible solution to a long-term problem of decline created by intelligent people of common sense unaware that their practical skills are not the ultimate in intelligence but merely a specialized realm of meaning. Short-term expediency backed by totalitarian power becomes the prevailing norm. But this leads to decreasing levels of intelligent order,social "surds" and "bloated" institutions usually in sharp conflict with each other—a Tower of Babel whose ultimate unchecked fate is a total dysfunctional collapse, a world where attention spans shrink by the hour, a world where affirmed reality is overtaken and overlaid with a world mediated be meaning grounded in special interests and wishful thinking, a more more myth and fantasy than reality, where "to muddle through" is the ultimate objective.


Russell C. Baker
The Lonergan Center for Ethical Reflection's Cosmopolis Project
Montreal, Quebec
June 2015

We have forgotten the foundations of our own well-being.


We take very much for granted the world around us--the continue flow of electricity, the central heating of our houses, the predictability of human affairs that allows planning for more than a day a so ahead--so much so that many of our elite imagine themselves to be the peak of human achievement, the guardians of "being on the right side of history." To progressives, the world is made in the image of man, a world ruled by Narratives that define human existence.


This can be observed in the current turmoil and fundamental reorganization of the liberal internationalist’s system of global order into something that still has to emerge—signs that the great Western civilization that has given so much to the world is being destroyed from within. From the looks of it, the Frankfurt school as well as the Gramscian’s institutional march through history is in the process of destroying the very reins of power they expected to inherit. The foundations of the liberal internationalist global order are dissolving. The problem is made worse by a degree of complexity of what is essentially an open-ended, non-linear, dynamic system that makes havoc of predictable "Newtonian" practices where a given course of action can have a predictable outcome. This is no longer assured, leaving political, social, and economic leaders in the position of reacting to changes they never expected nor anticipated--or probably ever conceivable.


The very idea of civilization itself is slipping away, leaving a shapeless world to sort out the current mess. In the place of a civilized order we have the rule of few over many, of dictatorship over rule of law. With no idea of the sacred, with no idea of what it means to be civilized, with no idea of the responsibilities of being a citizen, the very norms that guide human behavior are up for grabs. The naked exercise of power becomes a necessity when there is no common agreement on what should or could be done.

This site is dedicated to renewing upon different foundations a viable center for Western civilization. This is one not built upon the normative demands of a particular culture but one constructed around a collective method of exerting control over meaning at a time when fake and false news dominates the media and the web. It represents an emergent process susceptible to many different and possible unknown influences, yet perhaps allowing for the emergence of a higher order of what it means to be human that still takes into account the reality of our own species. It is only a piece of what might become a higher order open-ended, non-linear, and dynamic system that exists only as a yet-to-be actualized form.

We believe that this requires three essential pillars:


  1. The first is a common language, a common set of terms, concepts, and horizon that all those seeking to building a new Western civilization can accept and put into practice—not put into place by authority but by each individual’s coming to test, modify, and appropriate the language for themselves.
  2. The second is a basic core organization, the seed of an eventual institution, that embodies a collective effort—in this case, an Emergence Institution constructed around Lonergan's notion of "Cosmopolis."
  3. The third is a system of formation whereby individuals and small teams can start from where they are and through the questions asked and answers sought find their own way to participate in the greater quest for a civilized form of living (individual mentoring and team coaching). 


Such a shift will not take place overnight. But it is a shift that needs to take place if we are to survive and prosper, if we are to avoid going into that long dark night of ignorance and destruction on a global scale. Dark ages will end, but in the meantime generations will face a miserable world in which to live out their lives.


Russell C. Baker

Montreal, Canada

December 8, 2017

​What We Are
We are a multi-triangulated transdisciplinary applied research project devoted to actualizing Lonergan’s notion of cosmopolis as an initial solution to the problem of long term fragmentation of the socio-political good of order due to centuries if not millennia of common sense preferences for immediate, quick and short-term solutions to practical problems without reference to ecolate, numerical, word spin, philosophical or theological realities.

The Problems We Face
This bias has left us with a fragmented, unintelligible social order where institutions are often in conflict with each other, are either bloated and inefficient or undersized and inadequate, and eventually become irrelevant to human problems as these institutions fail to meet and often compound internal and/or external problems in a relentless drive toward decline.

What We Are Not
This project is not an attempt to impose order in any totalitarian or fascist manner, but to support progress and oppose decline in a world characterized by dynamic recurring cyclical schemes of if . . . then operations in continual horizontal and vertical flux.

The Key
The key to progress lies in psychic, intellectual, moral and religious conversion where individuals actualize their potential for freedom and liberty through a process of mutual self-mediation as part of a cosmopolis-L team operating not at the intellectual level but at the level of reflective understanding.

Being Present
This translates into a presence in the world via the twin processes of dialectical analysis and foundational discernment that together create the possibility of clearly distinguishing between positions and counter-positions, especially in areas where individual and group rationalizations for power and control have distorted the common body of knowledge passed down to us and in doing so precludes the flourishing of authentic human beings at the individual and communal levels of being.

A sabot shot is an armor penetrating tank shell fired with the help of a boot,

i.e., a "sabot" or wooden shoe. Think about it.

So What?

To live in a muddled "mythic" world where words are disconnected from reality is to react to things that are not real while being unaware of significant events that are. This is a dangerous situation to be in.

Imagining a Future

An Emergent Cosmopolis