Entering Lonergan's Novum Organon
TIdeas have consequences
Embracing a Full-on Crisis in Authority
And why would you want to spend you time and effort on such a complex and unrewarding task? Because hard rains are going to fall with challenges to all; they always fall. And one thing we could leave our successors is a way of being in the world that is both creative and healing. So this site is dedicated to the necessary "proof of concept" research to find out if Lonergan's solution to the roots of long-term decline due to general common sense bias can in fact be implemented.
It is a hard task, a challenging one that may make or break you. But the satisfaction of doing what most others could only dream about, to actually preform at a level of terminal value while jumping into the unknown of a finality grounded in vertical transcendence--well, that would really give meaning to one's existence.
Fundamental Institutional Changes
Becoming Knowledgeable and Informed
Actualizing Potential for Liberty
Achieving Sound Orientations through
Intellectual, Moral, & Religious Conversion
Separating the Real from the False or Misleading, or
Sound judgments are virtually unconditional. But
. . . what if there are further questions to be asked, questions still not answered, questions that would make a difference in collecting and weighing evidence, in arriving at a sound judgment? For example, have you taken into account:
1. Individual and collective blind spots resulting from efforts to legitimize and rationalize human power over man and nature, including neurotic states of being, extreme egotism, blind adherence to one's group, or the non-reflective non-theoretical limitations of expedient common sense action
2. Errors in the prevailing world view, especially assumptions concerning the nature and function of world processes.
3. Failures to acknowledge the broad context of current fundamental institutional change that may span hundreds if not thousands of years.
4. A possible personal failure to measure up to the demands of intellectual, moral, and/or religious authenticity, one that overrides personal satisfactions and well-being.
If you wish to engage in the creation of such a group it would be useful to become knowledgeable and proficient in each of the following four areas:
Geared toward the policy sciences but with an horizon extending into the sublating effects of the transcendental realm of meaning (Divine Mystery; Christianity; religious/moral/intellectual conversion) and the conditioning effects of standing waves of matter/energy reformed and re-imaged to meet human needs as progress rather than decline in the human good. And a muscular Christianity that once again can recognize sin for what it is and, while maintaining the importance of human dignity, take steps to counter the influence of such rebellions against God in the world.
The dumbing down of the public sphere whose symptoms are increased levels of mutual incomprehension, lack of or impossibility of any true dialogue, increasing isolation and self-confinement (snowflakes), the rise of feel-good based ethics, public efforts to squelch freedom of speech through legislation, the creation of powerful social justice warriors and violent antifa movements, and above all the loss of any historical consciousness in Western society that would provide a sea anchor for the whims and vulgarities pervading moments filled with mythical realities and magical incantations.
The root cause of these symptoms is a common sense bias whose practitioners exhibit an insular omnipotence when it comes to practical action. This leads to conflicting often contrary islands of meaning as different policies and plans are justified without any appeal to long-term considerations, theological concerns, or philosophical implications. Thus we arrive at a public sphere constructed around the lowest common denominator, usually that of primal "human animal" needs. Often wealth and physical well-being can be the only common terminal value when it comes to justifying and rationalizing planning and policy making. That, and the pure pursuit of power over others (human hierarchy structures) without the constraints of being reasonable and responsible for no such criteria for common judgment and deciding can exist in a truncated social and political sphere dominated by actors grounded in fragmented and often isolated institutions. Lose the revelation of a Divine Mystery through cutting ties to Judaism and Christianity and you lose the necessary tension between the transcended and transcending selves that brings good into the world.
Eventually civilized institutional life will degrade to the point where nothing can be made to work. At that point, such institutions become irrelevant to the vast majority of people as organizations lose their creative capacity for dealing with internal and external problems. The long term cycle of decline ends with the collapse of society and the beginning of a new dark age.
Possible Remedial Solution
Lonergan's notion of cosmopolis. "What is necessary is a cosmopolis that is neither class nor state, that stands above all their claims, that cuts them down to size, that is founded on the native detachment and disinterestedness of every intelligence, that commands man's first allegiance, that implements itself primarily through that allegiance, that is too universal to be bribed, too impalpable to be forced, too effective to be ignored" (Insight, Volume 3 of the Collected Works, p. 263).
To actualize Lonergan's theoretical solution to the problem of long-term decline as an emergent property of world process. And, in doing so, set professional standards for work in such a field.
Russell C. Baker
May 31, 2018
The Search for True Terminal Value
through Mutual Self-Mediation
There are three important things that you need to know about me.
The first is that from an early age I've been consumed by questions of meaning, i.e., what does (the world, myself, you, etc.) mean? Combine this with the second (a stubborn need to work out things for myself) as well as a third (a highly open mind denoting creativity) and you have the essential drive behind this work. As a result, I'm the sort of person who not only finds it hard to be confined within the bounds of any specific discipline, but is also continually aware that there are deeper levels of meaning operating beneath the superficial and often distracting flow of everyday political, economic, and social life. Finding and objectifying this deeper system of being lies behind all that follows.
RCB November 6, 2020
Tools for Being Present
in Human History