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Author Topic: Method and Insigtht  (Read 4868 times)

Phil McShane

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Method and Insigtht
« on: July 03, 2012, 07:33:36 AM »
I only found out about this site in recent days and puzzle over its silence. So it seems no harm to break that silence with some musings about Insight and Method, two of its zones. These initial comments of mine seem appropriate for both sites.
The trouble with Insight is its difficulty; the trouble with Method is its simplicity. Let me start with the odder statement, about Method’s simplicity. Method is really what remains of the giant project of the early 1950s, the bigger part of a two-volume work. The creative leap to solving the problem of Cosmopolis did not come till 1965, but in recent times I have mused over the solid possibility that the creative surging of the fifty-year old genius would have broken through to it in those next years because of the fuller context of writing what I can call – Lonergan’s own name for it – “Faith and Insight”. But Jesuit blindness shipped him off to the Greg, where the work became impossible. When he came to envisage writing the second big book in 1966 he talked to me of his basic problem, summed up in his room-paced statement, “I cannot put all of Insight into chapter one!” What he eventually produced was the tired short lightweight book.
Insight, on the other hand, was the isolated symphonic climb of a genius into a culturally-discontinuous heuristic.  Symbolic of that discontinuity is his extraordinary scientific achievement in the heuristics of interpretation in Insight 17, section 3. The creative ventures of Method chapter 7 are just not in that ball park, and Lonergan was quite clear on this: Insight 17.3 “is elitist” (Method, 351), “calling forth vigorous resistance” (Insight, 603).  Might we, forty years after he published his slim description of his solution to the problem of Cosmopolis, begin to ask about, interpret, humbly act about, round about, the X that is glocal functional collaboration?
Phil McShane