Tag Archives: intuition

History Repeats Itself – Renaissance or Another Dark Ages?

A recent post described the unfortunate end of Abelard, the medieval philosopher best known for his tragic love of Heloise.

Out of synch with his times, this celebrated cleric taught that men gain knowledge – including faith – through reason. For this, he was convicted by his monastic superiors of heresy. Abelard’s books were banned and burned. He died shortly afterwards in prison.

St. Augustine’s exclusively faith-based Rules of the Knowledge Game were balanced with Abelard’s opposite approach only after St. Aquinas harmonized the two extremes. According to the new Rules, no matter where you start, each approach leads to and reinforces the other.

This broad-based approach to knowing as a two-way street set the foundation for the flowering of arts, sciences and commerce known as the 12th Century Renaissance.

But, I suspect you’re wondering by now, is medieval history relevant NOW?

It’s highly relevant, particularly when taken in the context of patterned, repeating cycles of human behavior. Learning the basic lessons of history is an important way of leveraging the future.

Back to the 12th Century Renaissance. It was during this time of creative balance that universities evolved to replace monasteries as centers of learning.

I’ve thought about this a lot. The Origin and Future of Universities was the dissertation topic of my choice. In my proposal, I drew a bell-shaped curve that cycled above and below a median-line that represented historical times of creative balance between extremes. It looked like this:

bell curve sized

In the late 1970’s, when I wrote my proposal, universities were at a critical point of intersection. There was still a window of time left during which to mitigate a predictably dangerous direction of change, before a narrow window of opportunity closed.

Humanistic psychology and holistic health movements were leading the way towards another reintegration of faith and logic — a reconciliation of intuitive and rational ways of knowing. On the one hand, I held hopes that another creative renaissance was on the horizon. On the other, I foresaw the possibility that the curve would cross the median balance point and continue its downward slope, plunging the world into another dark ages of fanaticism and intolerance.

Departmental politics prevented me from writing the dissertation of my choice. (That story and its implications, however, are a different subject.) What’s pertinent here is the outcome. The window of opportunity has closed. Proof abounds. For example, during the Arab Spring, disillusioned Muslims who at first had welcomed violence as an opportunity for positive change were horrified at the repressive results. One Egyptian commented to a reporter that his country had entered a new dark age. News here and abroad continues to confirm that downward trend.

What remains are the mitigating possibilities open to I Ching users. The Chinese Book of Change keeps self-honest seekers in synch with the times, giving them survival insights and hints as to where to look for respite from the worst that might yet come. It keeps hope for the positive change we persist in holding dear to our hearts alive.

Here’s the key. Patterns codified in The Book of Change repeat on every scale of magnitude. That is to say, the same seasonal cycles repeat in an individual’s life. They also repeat in families, in the work place, in governments and even in the history of civilizations.

So even when the times are dangerously out of joint, individuals can still change for the better. So can intentional communities. So long as there’s this hope, it’s never to late. In the early dark ages, for example, monasteries were islands of hope, civility and sanity in a violent, barbaric world. Their equivalents might again serve the same purpose.

Further, personal, organizational and historical rhythms aren’t necessarily in synch. This explains why the same view is welcome at one place or time, but not in others. Abelard’s emphasis on reason, for example, would have been in synch in 17th century universities even though they were fatally out of harmony with beliefs held in the monastic circles of his day.

This information holds good or bad news, depending on whether it’s recognized and how it’s used. On one hand, acting as if personally preferred realities are fact, regardless of whether or not they’re in synch with the times, is unrealistic. For example, New-Agers who ardently believe the near future promises a widespread renaissance of human upliftment are quite probably mistaken. Worse, they may be misleading followers who will find themselves unfit and unprepared to survive in an increasingly intolerant, dark ages environment.

But on the other, positive side, it’s still possible, even as a dark age of fanaticism is gaining ground, to maintain personal balance. Personal renaissance – literally re-birth – is possible at any split second in time. Even when social trends are devolving into extremes, individuals aren’t required to forsake the ideal of personal integration just to fit in. In fact, personal and community survival may well depend on the capacity to maintain stable balance even in the most unbalanced of times.

Of a certainty, heightened, intentional balance will be essential to personal survival, even and especially as dark times cloud collective reason and threaten to extinguish faith.

Rethinking SCIENCE – Does yours explain all the facts?

 

PositiveParadigmWheel

21. SCIENCE

The achievement of decipherment . . . required painstaking analysis and sound judgment, but at the same time an element of genius, the ability to take a leap in the dark, but then to find firm ground on the other side. Few discoveries are made solely by the process of logical deduction. At some point the researcher is obliged to chance a guess, to venture an unlikely hypothesis; what matters is whether he can control the leap of imagination, and have the honesty to evaluate the results soberly. – John Chadwick, quoted in The Man Who Deciphered Linear B

 

Skinner argued for the intelligent and hopefully humane use of reinforcement theory to direct the course of the individual’s and the society’s development. . . freedom and choice are mere illusions. . . Rogers argued that freedom and choice were not illusory but real phenomena, and that a science that dehumanizes the individual and attempts to control human development paves the way for dictators and despots to move society inexorably toward a totalitarian, Orwellian future. — Kirschenbaum & Henderson, The Carl Rogers Reader

 

The genome alphabet does not tell you the full story. . . we are no way closer to understanding the real questions of life, which are, Do we have a soul? Where do we come from? What is insight? What is imagination? What is intention? What is intuition? What is inspiration? What is creativity? What is knowingness? What is understanding? What is free will? — Deepak Chopra, transcript, Larry King Live Interview

 

THE FRONT

The tacit implication of the first definition, with knowledge, suggests living what one knows, not mere theories or words. With knowledge suggests a full-spectrum continuum of awareness, not just rational thought that blocks off sub-rational experience and drowns out the super-rational music that sings from deep inside.

Unfortunately, the practice of inspired science, religions and philosophy inevitably degenerates over time, departing from the vision of original founders. Sadly, verbal codifications of partial knowledge used as guidelines for decision-making and behavior are poor substitutes for inner experience.

Truth seekers soon become aware that what un-in-formed authorities claim in the name of one system or another isn’t necessarily so.

Einstein’s famous e=mc2 formula is an accepted statement of the two-directional relationship of light, energy, and mass. It’s the physics equivalent of divine, natural and human law. This relationship, known and practiced by Taoist masters for thousands of years, is the logical foundation of an urgently needed comprehensive epistemology — meaning prevailing rules of the knowledge game that set limits on who may know what, and how.

In the comprehensive Positive Paradigm approach to science, the inner energy and light components of Einstein’s formula are approached without sentimentality, religious bias or superstition as simply The Way It IS. This worldview accepts the complete meaning of “science” as “with knowledge,” which includes not only the tangible, measurable objects of the material surface of life’s wheel, but the subtle energetic dynamics and causal origins of all the physical eyes see as well.

Ironically, tragic abuse of Einstein’s discovery may have been a necessary prelude to popular dissemination of holistic sciences. For those who must see something to believe it, an atomic bomb explosion is dramatic proof that releasing energies of a subtle sort can produce very tangible, powerful results.

The potentials for transformation embedded in medical DNA technologies and still deeper within the change sciences that are now being made public after being guarded for millennia as the secret treasures of esoteric inner temples will bring upliftment OR destruction depending on how responsibly and wisely they are used. Let the abuse of Einstein’s inspiration serve as warning.

Our challenge is to use the knowledge implicit in subtle sciences not for economic/political advantage or physical destruction, but for personal transformation that serves the common good, remembering that every leap of faith depends on deep honesty and common sense to ground the fruits of genius in the practical here and how. Science is a blessing when we live with knowledge, incorporating it as wisdom that enriches daily life. Abused as a means to conquer and control, it becomes a curse.

THE BACK

The complement of science is conscience. Empirical science depends on observation of tangible things and on rational thought. Conscience doesn’t. It’s instantaneous knowing, received in stillness. Direct connection with the higher mind/will implies profound responsibility to act as an instrument of greater purpose.

Prejudice and superstition are perversions of science. Rigid defense of rational “science” can take on the characteristics of irrational prejudice. When people’s minds are tainted by the whims of personal ambition, appetites and fears, subject to sensory stimulation without the mitigating influence of conscience, their words may sound logical, their acts appear rational. But they’re not.

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John Chadwick, quoted by Andrew Robinson in The Man Who Deciphered Linear G: the Story of Michael Ventris.. (Thames & Hudson: New York, 2002). p. 14.

The Carl Rogers Reader, ed Kirschenbaum & Henderson. (Houghton Mifflin: New York, 1989.) p. 261.

Depak Chopra, Larry King Live Interview, aired June 26, 2000. cnn.com/transcripts.

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