This is the first session of the second Insight: Elements directed workshop. The first half consisted of the broad road-map that guides our voyage. The second half considered the opening paragraphs of Chapter 1: great insights are the product of the slow and careful accumulation of smaller insights, and Archimedes's "Eurika!" moment. The attached pdf contains a summary of some of the discussion.
Educational Projects: Insight (2)--Elements: Section 1--Elements
In our second session, we concentrated on the difference between knowing and understanding. In the former, one can identify the object, point it out to others, and even talk about its general characteristics and properties. In the latter, one understands why it is the way it is. Our example is that of a wall clock. A person can know that the object is a clock, note that it is a wall clock, and tell the time. But that is a very different matter from understanding that the clock belongs to an industrial society, involves coordinating the actions of a great number of people, and is the necessary component of any well-developed scientific enterprise. One comes to understand why the chock is a clock.
Along the way we bring up an explanatory theory of what it means to be human, for to understand insights involves an understanding of what it means to be human. This theory is grounded in Lonergan's world view of emergent probability, recurring schemes of operation, and three primary levels of human existence starting with the non-conscious brain, moving through the conscious mind, and eventually leading to the transcendental realm of meaning.
But the major focus is on bring to our own attention the importance of insights. Since insights are very common, we normally pay little attention to them and their implications for human knowing. So each participant was asked to provide their own example and explain that insight to the others.
In this succession we delved into two properties of insights: pivot between the concrete and the abstract, and become part of the habitual texture of one's mind These notes also consider a basic theory of what it means to be human as well as the fact that Lonergan's "cognitive operations" are not grounded in the sciences but at the rock at the core of the realm of interiority.
An Emergent Cosmopolis