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Author Topic: method and insight  (Read 20346 times)

Richard Moodey

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Re: method and insight
« Reply #30 on: October 26, 2012, 01:08:59 PM »
Adrial,
(I apologize for mispelling your name in a previous post).  You wrote: "To the extent that those who aim to collaborate for the increase of knowledge and the betterment of history regularly perform the conversions (intellectual, moral, religious, psychic), their efforts at collaboration will have the most fundamental of the necessary conditions of their effectiveness fulfilled."
I like this very much, and believe that it is probably true.  To put it in another way, a way that I believe to be very similar, I say: "To the extent that those who aim to collaborate for the increase of knowledge and the betterment of history are authentic, their efforts at collaboration will have the most fundamental of the necessary conditions of their effectiveness fulfilled."  I believe that authenticity is achieved and maintained by these kinds of conversions.
Dick


“Think, live, be: next try to express scrupulously what you are thinking, what you are living, what you are.”
Henri de Lubac

Adrial Fitzgerald

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    • Unrestricted Yearning: A Compendium of Philosophy Based on the Work of Bernard Lonergan
Re: method and insight
« Reply #31 on: October 26, 2012, 01:25:46 PM »
Hi, Richard

No worries re: the misspelling.  The oddness of my name has understandably yielded all sorts of variants over the years (both written and verbal) :)

And I think our formulations are identical in meaning, since "authenticity" is Lonergan's name for what you or I achieve when we perform the conversions and live accordingly.


Cheers,

Adrial

mounce.d

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Re: method and insight
« Reply #32 on: October 26, 2012, 05:37:00 PM »
The postings by Dick and Brett, in close page proximity if not planning, encourage me to say that one danger of the patient-centered development that Lonergan describes with Insight is not the pride in methodical results described with MiT.  Indeed, self-appropriation hurts more than it helps, in psychological terms.

"Perhaps the quest for authenticity carries with it a danger that is analogous to the danger of pride..."

"First, what is the relationship between Cosmopolis and the Kingdom of God?"


Richard Moodey

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Re: method and insight
« Reply #33 on: October 27, 2012, 08:40:46 AM »
Mounce,
I have been unable to find the posting by Brett to which you refer, and consequently I'm not sure just which one of my postings you have in mind.  I agree wholeheartedly with you that self-appropriation can lead to pride.  To the extent that self-appropriation is a personal achievement, it is like every other personal achievement in being a possible source of sinful pride. 
I have no idea whether or not you find my frequent use of the first person singular in my writing to be an indicator of my being a proud or arrogant person.  Others have told me as much.  I have not "reformed" my style because I am committed to taking personal responsibility for what I assert.  I don't believe that there has ever been a thought without a thinker.  I don't believe that words or propositions mean things in themselves, but that it is always a person who means something by a word or a proposition.  I try to write in a way that is consistent with these beliefs.  I also believe that any of the things I believe might be wrong. 
Finally, please forgive me if I have misinterpreted your post.
Best regards,
Dick
“Think, live, be: next try to express scrupulously what you are thinking, what you are living, what you are.”
Henri de Lubac

Catherine B. King

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Re: method and insight
« Reply #34 on: November 02, 2012, 12:18:39 PM »
Hello Doug: I'm probably telling you something you already know--but if it's arrogant, or sinful in any other way, it's probably not conversion, at least in the moral sense.  I think that's why I've often heard it said that conversion is always a withdrawal from sin, and never a solid or once-and-for-all achievement. And even ontologically, our need to "achieve" is concretely ongoing--conversion must be done and redone as ever-new events occur, and as they offer and demand from us a new beginning (the good is always concrete [Method/1972]).

But of course in your conversation you mean (I think?) that once we do or say in the best way we can and, as far as we know, in terms of converted consciousness, we can in reflection become proud of ourselves for having done/said so.

And I think that it's not that we cannot be glad of our well-being in the past, but that we think we have arrived and can quit now. The further fall down the slippery mountain, as it were, is to stand on our laurels and think that, once we have done/said in a converted fashion, we need do no more in order to claim the mantle "converted," and then, in our own self-perusal, we stand in view of other "sinners" from atop that mountain, as if we were not still among "them." So again, it's our wrong attitude and not the conversion, or the acts that flow from it or, as you say, the self-appropriation--that is at fault or that makes things worse.

Catherine

mounce

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Re: method and insight
« Reply #35 on: November 02, 2012, 03:39:26 PM »
Hi All, thanks for the discussion here.  Still getting used to this forum, but I like it!

Brett's post is back on page 1, and I mentioned it because the relation between Cosmopolis and the Kingdom of God might be close to my interest regarding relations between an individual and the society.  In any case, I don't find Dick to be arrogant here, and Catherine, I didn't mean to talk-about the nature of pride.   Assuming that a, "quest for authenticity" involves danger, the idea of an analogy with pride made me think of an analogy with pain.

Richard Moodey

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Re: cosmopolis = functional specialization
« Reply #36 on: November 24, 2012, 11:46:39 AM »
]Hi Mark,
This is a response to something you wrote back in August -- I'm sorry I didn't pick up on this before.  Your quotations have indeed provided me with food for thought.  Here I comment explicitly on just  three, but the other quotations are in the background :

4. "Functional specialization is above all politics. So far from being rendered superfluous by a successful World Government, it would be all the more obviously needed to offset the tendencies of that and any other government to be short-sightedly practical" (IN 239).

I am tempted to change the punctuation in the first sentence to "Functional specialization is, above all, politics."  This, of course, changes Lonergan's meaning, as I understand it, but I disagree that functional specialization is above all politics.  In the next sentence, Lonergan specifies a political function of functional specialization: to offset the tendencies of governments at all levels to be "short-sightedly practical."  Another way of putting that is that governing is a common-sense activity, and, because of that, is terribly vulnerable to general bias.  But efforts to offset the general bias of political actors are political.  Consider Michael Oakeshott's notion of politics: “Politics I take to be the activity of attending to the general arrangements of a set of people whom chance or choice have brought together.  In this sense, families, clubs, and learned societies have their ‘politics’" (Rationalism in Politics: and other essays, p 112).  Many of the collaborators in Cosmopolis will attend to the general arrangements (institutions) of various sets of people, including the institution called "Cosmopolis."   

In our current environment, the general bias of agents of larger corporations is contributing to the decline of the longer cycle as much as is the general bias of agents of government.  I believe that this is one of the reasons Lonergan put so much effort into reforming economic theory.  Since I am a sociologist, rather than an economist, my efforts go into the uncovering the effects of general bias in complex organizations in all institutional domains -- educational and religious, as well as political and economic.

5. "... Functional specialization is concerned to make operative the timely and fruitful ideas that otherwise are inoperative" (IN 239).

What I understand Lonergan to mean by this is that the men and women who engage in functional specialization seek to educate the agents of large and powerful organization about the consequences of general bias, and to persuade these agents to overcome their biases, individual and group biases, as well as general bias, in their evaluations of the alternative courses of action upon which they decide.
 
7. "Functional specialization is very determined to prevent dominant groups from deluding mankind by the rationalization of their sins ..." (IN 239).

This is very important, because it calls our attention to the distinction between bias and sin.  An agent of a powerful organization might be relatively free from bias in her evaluation of alternative courses of action, and still sin -- refuse to decide to pursue the best or better (or sometimes, the least bad) course of action.  The functional specialists can prevent powerful people from making sinful decisions that cause unnecessary suffering for large numbers of people, but they can and must work to expose the propaganda put out by these powerful people designed to rationalize their sins and to delude mankind.  Your 8th quotation (IN 240) details and emphasizes this point.

9. "Functional specialization is not a group denouncing other groups; it is not a super-state ruling states; it is not an organization that enrols members, nor an academy that endorses opinions, nor a court that administers a legal code. It is a withdrawal from practicality to save practicality. It is a dimension of consciousness, a heightened grasp of historical origins, a discovery of historical responsibilities. It is not something altogether new . . ..

By these negative characterizations of fs, I understand Lonergan to be calling for what we currently call a "network."  A network is an institution, a "general arrangement" as Oakeshott puts it, but it is not a group, state, organization, academy, or court.  It is a network of persons who (a) have withdrawn from practicality in order to save practicality, and (b) actively cultivate and maintain connections with one another, either directly, or mediated by one or more others.  I imagine a network that includes men and women who have never read Lonergan, but who have dedicated themselves to impractical inquiries in order to "save practicality."

If Cosmopolis is a network, does it have politics, in Oakeshott's sense.  I believe that it does.  For example, I regard Phil's efforts to get people involved in functional collaboration as being political, in this sense.  He is attending to the general arrangements that hold among the followers of Lonergan.  I also regard Bob's suggestion that theologians split "Foundations" into "Horizons," and "Categories" to be political, in that he is attending to the general arrangements among the followers of Lonergan who are also theologians.  My arguments that "Foundations" does not name a current fs in sociology are primarily descriptive and explanatory, but my argument that sociologists ought not to try to develop this as a functional specialization, at least in a collaborative sense, is political.  I am attending to the general arrangements in my discipline, my subject-area of specialization.

Best regards,

Dick
“Think, live, be: next try to express scrupulously what you are thinking, what you are living, what you are.”
Henri de Lubac