Category Archives: renaissance

The GREAT RECONCILIATION – 012121

Before sharing the story of Abelard, Heloise, and the Great Reconciliation, let me give you a definition. Though often used carelessly, in fact, Reconciliation is an extraordinarily powerful word. It appears throughout the Bible. It’s infused with quantum implications. The Greek root means CHANGE or EXCHANGE.

We are told, Reconciliation involves a change in the relationship between God and humanity or between humans. After a breakdown in relationship, there is now a change from a state of enmity and fragmentation to one of harmony and fellowship.

Another source says, Reconciliation is bringing again into unity, harmony, or agreement what has been alienated.

Going forward, the Quantum Paradigm which embodies Einstein’s intuited Unified Field Theory is the potential vehicle of the next Great Reconciliation.

In the annals of European history, Abelard and Heloise are remembered, like Romeo and Juliet, as star-crossed lovers.

Historians are well-familiar with the highlights of their story. Abelard, a man of the cloth, was Heloise’s tutor. They became lovers. She got pregnant; their affair was outed. Her uncle exacted poetic justice. Abelard was attacked in the dark of night and castrated. The lovers later exchanged letters, but were never reunited.

The low lights of their story are usually overlooked. In fact, Abelard married Heloise. But to protect his reputation as a cleric, kept it secret. He urged her to take monastic vows. She did so, but only under protest. She felt no calling and made it clear she thought having to live a cloistered life was most unfair.

Their sad history is relevant to the ongoing discussion about the Rules of the Knowledge Game because Abelard went on to distinguish himself as one of the participants in “the Great Debate of the Middle Ages.”

That Great Debate was presented with style and passion in a way that remains indelibly imprinted in my mind. During my Freshman year at Oberlin College, Professor Barry McGill — a tall, pencil thin, bespectacled professor of European History — made a lasting impression.He drilled us on the effect pendulum swings between extremes have had on history.

He emphasized dramatically that ideas have great power to alter the course of people’s lives. Philosophers have a profound effect on the forms governments take and how leaders treat their people.

Long before Hegel wrote about dialectics, which in turn influenced Marx, a triad of medieval scholars – St. Augustine, Abelard and St. Aquinas– completed the classic example of contrasting philosophies regarding what can be known, by whom, and how. (The fancy philosophical word is “epistemology.”)

The importance of this debate cannot be over-stated. When the variables of the formula get too far out of synch, dire historical consequences follow. See: History Repeats Itself – Renaissance or Another Dark Ages?

In the middle ages, St. Augustine sat on one extreme of the philosophical see-saw. Abelard sat at the other. The intellectual world was at odds until St. Aquinas came up with the balancing fulcrum. Professor McGill virtually beamed his approval of the solution to the either/or conflict between science and religion. Historians, he told us, called it The Great Reconciliation.

St. Augustine depended exclusively on his belief in God. In his worldview, knowledge is the result of divine grace. His credo: “I believe that I may know.” Faith in God is prior and necessary to human understanding.

In Life Wheel context, Augustine’s primary reality rested at the center of the Wheel and extended outwards from it to encompass the surface of the physical, manifested world.

Abelard took the opposite approach. Man, he held, depends on observable things and direct experience to acquire knowledge. This approach, taken to the extreme, results in the exclusively materialistic paradigm of research science.

Abelard, however, never denied the existence of God. He believed that experience of the world leads the thoughtful man to deduce the necessary existence of God. In Quantum Paradigm context, he started at the Wheel’s surface and pushed inwards to complete the circuit.

It took St. Aquinas to complete the loop. He concluded there is no significant conflict between the two approaches. Knowing is a two-way street. No matter where you start, each position leads to and completes the other. The center and surface are connected in an infinite loop.

Aquinas said, in essence, “It works both ways. Observing the world leads to faith. Faith leads to effective understanding of the world.”

Allow me to point out a relevant conclusion from the sad story of Abelard and Heloise. Today’s exclusively rational philosophers are as sterile as was he. And Heloise’s feminist counterparts, isolated and cloistered, are equally unfulfilled. Just as yin and yang yearn for unity and the fulfillment of creative balance, so also faith and reason depend upon one another for completion.

As Einstein put it, Science without religion is lame. Religion without science is blind.

At the 11th hour of human history, few people have time to learn much less apply the lessons of history. For the sake of simplicity and immediately useful implementation, the Great Debate’s outcome has been summed up in and illustrated in the form of the multi-dimensional Life Wheel.

Here’s why it is critically important to reconnect the surface with the center of the Life Wheel in an infinite two-way loop, joining the material surface with its innermost source:

The renaissance at the end of the middle ages, first in Italy and later in England represented by Elizabeth I’s Shakespeare, were times of paradigm shifts. The origin of universities took place during this time. The rules were in flux. It was fair game to access both sides of the coin. There was no perceived conflict between faith and reason. The result was a time of creative flowering in both the arts and sciences.

Human survival will depend on whether or not there’s a similar paradigm shift now . . . another reconciliation and reawakening to the full spectrum of human potentials, along with the flowering of creative problem-solving in the face of extraordinarily challenging times.

Collected posts will be published as The Lessons of 2020: Using the Wisdom of CHANGE to Build a Better Future. Look for it on amazon at the end of January, 2021.

If you’d like a copy of the Common Sense Book of Change, or extras to give others, click here.

To order Two Sides of a Coin: Lao Tze’s Common Sense Way of Change, click here.

Okay, then. That’s all for now. Talk with you again soon. Take care, all.

The Path to Reconciliation – 012021

During today’s quiet morning time, the idea for this post clicked into mind. It started with remembering Patrick Byrne’s vision of merging the values of East and West. It moved to looking forward, thinking about how to make it happen.

I revisited my recurring dream of organizing a School Without Walls. Basically, it would serve to link self-responsible students with a qualified mentor. Together, they would design a unique degree program around a personal goal. This would give the next generation what I found missing from my own education.

In You Are Already Enough, I described my personal solution:

As a young adult, my Life Wheel was centered around the goal of becoming a worthy musician. I organized every sector of my life around this single purpose.

Never once did I consider earning a living as a violin teacher. The ones I worked with were way too narrow. They knew about fingering the notes written on sheet music, but the heart and soul of sound wasn’t their department.

I had to design my own course of learning. I chose Oberlin College because it allowed me to balance a top-notch liberal arts program with a world-class music school. I studied violin privately as an “amateur” (a music lover), but majored in world literature and intellectual history.

I wanted to understand the ideas that drove great composers and their patrons. I had to delve into scriptures to feel the devotion that inspired Bach and Mozart.

I needed to know about the physics of sound vibration. I haunted the workshop of a local violin maker to watch how he built and maintained his instruments.

To me, the physical body was a resonant instrument. Tuning it was essential to my calling. Yogic breathing, exercise and personal self-maintenance were integral to my overall vision.

The musicians I performed with in ensembles and orchestras were my friends and family in spirit. We went to concerts together and socialized afterwards at local pubs.

On a related topic, I revisited my intended doctoral dissertation on the Origins and Future of the University. In the repeating cycles of history, I foresaw a looming choice ahead between either a renaissance or another dark ages. In my early morning state, I even dared hope to collaborate with Patrick, an acknowledged renaissance man, to tip the balance in favor of renaissance.

We’re not taught to look to the Book of Change for answers to our deepest questions. That’s why I’m bringing the book to you.

Today’s reading comes in two parts. First I asked, “What role does education have to play in the path of reconciliation?” PROMOTION was the unchanging answer. It reads:

Promotion will come from steady, positive improvement over time. Rising to meet new challenges results in emotional maturity. Advancing on the job puts one in the position to serve those who are in need. Quiet, persistent self-discipline wins the confidence of others. Make the most of opportunities. Avoid hesitation.

My first take was confusion. This didn’t answer my real question. Then I realized I’d asked it in a wrong way. I wasn’t looking for the end result, but rather the process through which the goal is achieved. I got a static answer because I asked a static question about education’s role.

Improvement, emotional maturity, and service all speak to outcomes, not the process. I needed to frame a better question asking for advice on how we get from here to there.

So I asked, “How could education evolve to serve the goal of reconciliation going forward?” This answer was dynamic (again reconfiguring dynamics familiar from 2020 readings). It started with STANDSTILL, which reads:

When opposing forces draw apart, activity comes to a STANDSTILL. Lack of understanding results in mistrust and refusal to cooperate. When weak leaders prevent necessary cooperation, it is best to withdraw from the situation and wait for the times to change. Direct your attention toward inward growth.

This original answer represents the immediate situation in need of remedy. Other names for this hexagram include Negative, Withdrawing, Stagnation or Separation.

* * *

Advice of the second line reads, “Don’t compromise your principles. Protect yourself calmly. Struggle won’t help.” Advice heeded, the line changes changes to Conflict, which further defines Standstill. It reads in part:

CONFLICT develops when one refuses to see the view-point of others. The way out is to be open to others and willing to meet them half-way. Pushing a disagreement to open conflict would result in separation.

* * *

Advice of the fifth line reads, “Paralysis is cured by joining elements meant to work together.” Paralysis – Standstill — is overcome by merging the best of apparently opposite energies. These include the values of social responsibility versus personal freedom; protective (classically male) versus nurturing (classical female) qualities, as well as an outgoing, practical/intellectual approach to life versus an inward/intuitive, contemplative approach to experience.

When advice is heeded, the line changes to Improvement, which reads:

IMPROVEMENT is now possible if you are willing to follow the example of worthy teachers. If you have absorbed negative suggestions in the past which prevent you from expressing your higher self freely, use this time to break away from bad habits. Seek the inspiration of positive influences.

* * *

When the entire process is honored, the combined final outcome is Finish, which reads:

When the FINISH is near, think about the future. Since nothing ends without a new beginning, prepare for what comes next. Order your life so that you are free to move on. Success in the next cycle will depend on the inner wealth you have stored. Avoid fear of change.

Right now, humanity is entering the beginning of a new series of cycles. The new year, 2021, begins a twenty-year astrological cycle of Jupiter/Saturn conjunctions in air rather than earth signs. It’s embedded within a 200 year cycle, within a 2,000 year cycle that roughly corresponds with the beginnings of the Christian era. (That’s just an interesting side note, FYI. This isn’t the time/place to elaborate, but you can take my word for it.)

Here, inner wealth includes the sum of life lessons learned, and/or wisdom traditions actualized/assimilated through practice.

And fear of change is primarily a function of programmed ignorance. Means for overcoming fear include not only native courage, but also faith and wisdom. To this end, mastering Natural Law encoded in the Book of Change is the beginning of white magic. Then, with I Ching insight, “everything serves to further.”

P.S. In the the Cycles of History, I mention The Great Reconciliation. Because that information was posted elsewhere, I’m now republishing it to this site. It’s especially relevant now and well-worth your thoughtful attention.

Collected posts will be published as The Lessons of 2020: Using the Wisdom of CHANGE to Build a Better Future. Look for it on amazon at the end of January, 2021.

If you’d like a copy of the Common Sense Book of Change, or extras to give others, click here.

To order Two Sides of a Coin: Lao Tze’s Common Sense Way of Change, click here.

Okay, then. That’s all for now. Talk with you again soon. Take care, all.